Tuesday, August 5, 2014

That Word. You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

In my reading, I run across some of the same mistakes again and again and again and some of them show up so often that I feel like I need to launch a personal crusade to eradicate them. Now, I'll be the first to admit that my grammar and word usage are not always above reproach. I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. However, I try not to make the same mistake on a consistent basis and if someone points out my error, I will take pains to correct it. Consider this my attempt to point out some such mistakes.

It all started with authors who use "vice" when they mean "vise". This is still the one error that makes me growl out loud when I run across it. And I run across it A LOT. The usual occurrence is when an author is trying to describe a hangover and the character describes his or her head as being stuck in a "vice". Which, okay, is kind of true. But, truthfully, it's a vice (specifically, overindulgence) that has led to the head feeling as if it's stuck in a vise. No one ever seems to make the error in reverse, though. I've never read of a character whose only "vise" was gambling. Oh, I'm sure there are books out there where this mistake is made, they're just not as common. This mistake is actually so prevalent that I literally cheer a little when I see an author using "vise".

I've also noticed a tendency among authors to use regime/regimen/regiment interchangeably. These things are not the same. A regiment may assist with regime change and endure a rigorous exercise regimen to get them in shape to do so. But, my dears, it is not an exercise regime. Or an exercise regiment. Not the same. Just because the words are similar and share a root does not make them synonymous.

Recently, I've noticed a number of romance authors writing about the "throws" of passion. Now, it's possible that the participants got so excited they began hurling items across the room, but I do believe that they were actually in the throes of passion. Homonyms are not synonyms.

There are other errors that rub me the wrong way, but these three seem to be the ones I'm seeing a lot of recently and the ones that are almost bad enough to make me give up on an otherwise perfectly good book. Remember, authors, spell check is a helper, but it's far from infallible. Trust your instincts; if it doesn't feel right, double check it. Even if it feels right, double check it. Ask your local grammar snob to proofread for you. (You may not think you have a local grammar snob, but you do. Some are just better than others at hiding it n public. Trust me, they're judging you in their minds. Talk about an "exercise regime" and look for the quickly-concealed wince.)

Well, I've basically turned this blog into a place for me to rant about the crap that bugs me in my reading, so I expect both of you will see more posts along this line in the future. Consider yourselves warned.

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