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Customer Discussions > Romance forum

Enuf is enuf: Tired of basic grammatical errors.

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Showing 1-25 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 6, 2013 2:57:46 PM PST
ambrosia says:
Okay, I'm sorry to be pedantic, but I've been spending far too much money on books that have been poorly edited (if edited at all!). I'm not talking about the weaknesses of plot or characterization, which also abound, but the over abundance of grammatical errors. This rant is not limited to self-published books either, but includes books issued by big publishing houses.

I'm not even talking about run-on sentences, improper use of semi-colons and colons, split infinitives, confusion between subject and object pronouns, and the inability to use the correct (or at least consistent) verb tense, but more fundamental errors that could be corrected by referencing a dictionary. Indeed, sometimes computer word check programs would catch the following errors, if only the author would use one!!!

The erroneous use of homophones:
Rein/reign and reins/reigns

Other common errors:

The bizarre use of an apostrophe + s ('s) instead of just an "s" to indicate a plural (not a possessive) noun.

Any other commonly encountered grammatical errors that drive you crazy that you'd like to add to the list? {And, yes, in case you weren't sure, the errors in the Topic are intentional!}

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 3:30:56 PM PST
Agnes says:
I usually find at least one error in every single book I read, whether published by a big name company or otherwise. Not only have I found these errors in books, but I've also discovered them in legal documents, in company records, on shirts being sold at stores, and even on store receipts. This is so unacceptable! Sorry for veering off topic. I realize this is about books, but it's everywhere!

Before I start going on about how this is practically a national crisis, I'll get back on topic.

Though there can be two ways to spell a certain word in order to convey the same meaning, I hate it when an author can't seem to decide between either one. In one sentence, the word is spelled one way, and in the next, the other way. Both ways are technically correct, but that's ridiculous. Pick ONE!

Inconsistent character descriptions - a character is described as having a certain physical feature, say icy blue eyes and is later described as having dark eyes

The word anti-social - I hate it when authors just throw this word around and get it wrong.

Inconsistent information - a character breaks one leg and one arm, but a doctor enters the scene and mentions the broken arm and legs (yes, legs, plural)

Misspelled words - We live in the age of autocorrect (which isn't always correct), and so many of these minor errors could have been fixed with checking the document through Microsoft Word. They are that minor and that ridiculous.

Character names - I read a book once where a character named Christopher was later called Christina. It totally confused me. There was not a single Christina in the entire story. I knew the sentence was about Christopher, and I still don't know how this mistake made it through the editing process.

The main issue I have is that the errors I find are easy to spot. It just drives me crazy.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 3:43:39 PM PST
You missed one of my favorite peeves:

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 3:51:02 PM PST
Cyndie says:
I'm reading The Mistress of Trevelyan (Trevelyan Series) right now and there is a character named Katherine in it. It's driving me nuts that one time she's called Katherine then a sentence later, it is Catherine. How can an author not be able to keep track of a handful of character's names?

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 3:54:09 PM PST
Here's one that's bugged me more than once lately. Defiantly and definitely are NOT the same thing! Not in any way shape or form. So stop using defiantly when you want to say definitely!

I can understand not being able to spell "definitely", I've goofed it up more than once myself, before I got the browser with the little red lines, but defiantly is a completely different word!

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 3:57:31 PM PST
Ohh some more!

wanton/won ton (yes, I have seen this. in a published book!)

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 4:05:51 PM PST
I cringe when I hear a writer say "But I put it through spell check and grammar check!"

Never, ever trust WORD to find/suggest corrections. They're wrong about 50% of the time. Seriously.
Better to rely on your own proofreading skills, or hire someone who has them!

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 4:19:15 PM PST
A Customer says:
I HATE all these errors and they are FAR too common in these self-published books. I agree, if we're paying money for someone's work, they owe it to us to have their books proofed before selling them.

Other errors I hate:
- Mixing up "accept" and "except"
- Using "of" instead of "have" (i.e. "I would OF visited" instead of "I would HAVE visited")

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 4:50:32 PM PST
I am with you all on this. I just read "baited breath" instead of bated breath in a book last night. Thank you, Ambrosia for posting this topic again. @ A Customer-- Misuse of prepositions is common.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 4:58:50 PM PST
Dog Lover says:
I would really like writers to understand pronoun-verb agreement. "Her and I went to the movies." "That sounded good to her and I." Grrrr!

Caveat: I do understand and appreciate realism in actual character dialogue. The issue is when the character is described as highly literate or sophisticated and uses that kind of language.

This is especially prevalent, I've found, in 1st person narrative.

Very annoying.


Posted on Jan 6, 2013 5:05:08 PM PST
A Customer says:
I just read a book in which the main character was a book lover / aspiring writer and she had Beloved by "Tony Morrison" on her nightstand. I almost threw my Kindle across the room. LOL!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 5:06:28 PM PST
Dog Lover says:

Did you include that in a review (I hope!)


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 5:50:40 PM PST
Ha! I totally read that book too! Can't remember which one it was but I was confused about how she could be won ton!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 5:55:23 PM PST
I've seen it twice! Once in an m/m romance, once in a regular, but I can't remember which one it was either.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 6:43:56 PM PST
Iola says:

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 6:59:40 PM PST
Iola says:

There are also a couple of phrases that American authors (and, I guess, everyday Americans) use that have very different meanings in other parts of the world:
gangbanger - is a pack rapist, not just a gang member.
lucked out - didn't get lucky
fanny - it's not the body part you sit on. It's the bit at the front. (Saw an English comedian compliment a Kardashian (sp?) on her fanny on TV the other night. She thought he meant her well-scuplted rear, but I'm sure he didn't).

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 7:00:44 PM PST
What authors need to get is that spell check is NOT a catch all. Plenty of words are spelled correctly but used entirely wrong, and don't mean anything close to what the authors are trying to say.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 9:08:11 PM PST
Bookworm says:
This drives me nuts! Lately, I've seen "wallah or viola" and "per say" quite a bit too! I've taken to highlighting sentences with errors and now will be using them in my reviews. This problem is getting out of hand!

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 9:20:18 PM PST
T. L. Haddix says:
Hi, Archer! *waves*

The ancestor/descendant confusion drives me up a wall! You descend from your ancestors. Your descendants come after you, your ancestors come before you. I've seen that used incorrectly in so many things, and I swear I think I even saw it in a fictionalized TV show recently. Maybe Hawaii Five-0.

One I keep seeing is eloquent instead of elegant. Now, strictly speaking, eloquent can have a similar meaning but the thing is, that usage has gone out of style. So I'm next to positive that it's the same editor (as it's different authors that I've seen using it) for the same publishing house. All historical romance. I'm sorry, but when I see that the heroine's horse was eloquent, I'm picturing Mr. Ed. *rolls eyes*

I very much fear that we are in for a rough time, grammatically speaking, in coming years. The elegance of language and how words interact and play together is something we're losing. I can name several YA authors who are Not Helping Matters. But they're getting rich, so what the *bleep* do they care, right? /rant off. Add in texting and all that goes with it...yeah, we're screwed.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 9:56:13 PM PST
Colleen says:
I hate weary (ily)/ wary (ily). So many people mean 'wary,' but use 'weary.'

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 10:23:27 PM PST
I have often said, "spell check will do you no good if you have correctly spelled the wrong word." A passing knowledge of English is really REALLY necessary if you want to write. When I start to mentally form up my reader's review using phrases like, "English should NOT be used as a blunt object." I usually just stop reading and delete it.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 10:57:09 PM PST
misty9 says:
How about if we copy and paste the worst offenders' mistakes here, giving the title and author? Maybe we can shame them into doing better grammer checks-
I've lived outside an English speaking country for 40 years, yet even I remember how to use apostrophes better than some published authors I've had the misfortune to read!!! They should be ashamed of themselves

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:11:25 PM PST
more books! says:
My daughter is a teenager who reads prolifically, texts nonsense all day, and thinks spell check is adequate to proofread her school work. With the sorry state of the language in most books for teens, I wonder if this generation will ever learn proper language skills.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:20:07 PM PST
Lorena says:
GAH, I know what you mean. I'm currently reading an ebook version (don't know if it's in print) of a Jamie McGuire novel and yes, she has some missing commas, missing words, etc. BUT, here's a doosie.....I don't know if it's my e-reader that messed it up some kind of way, but she had a WHOLE PARAGRAPH reposted in the middle of another paragraph IN ANOTHER SCENE. If that makes sense. I'm reading going...deja vu...but wait...I thought the scene went in a different way....Yeah, I went back and re-read the scene before it and realized it was the same thing posted and then it skipped to what it was supposed to be. For instance....

Scene A would say...

I like Green Eggs and Ham Sam I Am. I'm typing this because I can't think of anything else. But this is hopefully going to prove my point.

So, then, a paragraph in Scene B read...

I wish I could find a really good romance novel right now, but it's after 1 am in the morning here I like Green Eggs and Ham Sam I am and I need to go to bed.

See what I'm saying? That was so frustrating and confusing that I almost put the book down.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 11:23:33 PM PST
I've read a book (forgot which one) in which "touche" was spelled "tooshay" couple of times. It took me a while to figure out what it means .
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Discussion in:  Romance forum
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Initial post:  Jan 6, 2013
Latest post:  Mar 10, 2016

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