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To my horror

This piece of writing seemed fine at first but when I edited it I saw that it didn’t make sense, so I changed it. But was this really necessary? Am I just being pedantic?

It’s from a novel that I’m writing, a horror story in which the main character time-travels back to the Black Death, sometimes called the Plague, in London, in  the 1300’s.

You’ll have to read the story to understand the connection between this and modern-day Market Street, San Francisco.

At first I wrote the following.

‘I looked around to see why he had stopped me and nobody else but Market Street seemed to be deserted, it was as if the entire population of San Franciso had decided to avoid it.’

Does this mean that he stopped me and he also stopped someone called ‘somebody else?’

Let’s try this, instead (the italics are just to highlight a different way of writing it.)

‘I looked around to see why he had stopped me instead of somebody else but Market Street seemed to be deserted, it was as if the entire population of San Franciso had decided to avoid it.’

Alternatively, there’s this.

‘I looked around to see why he had stopped me but nobody else but Market Street seemed to be deserted, it was as if the entire population of San Franciso had decided to avoid it.’

There’s a problem, a repetitious writing problem.

By using ‘but nobody else but’ we’ve used ‘but’ twice, in the short space of a few words.

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