Grammar and other bugbears

Anne here, responding to a reader question from Laura S. who said: My two book clubs provide the exposure to award winning books. I do have a concern, though. I find grammatical errors that I would think an editor would correct—and sometimes the author has studied or taught English. Grammerg

For example, “I hate thinking of US leaving the poor girl to suffer”. That should be OUR leaving the poor girl. (That was not a direct quote.) There are many times when the possessive should be used. One owns the action. <snip>

I love reading all the Word Wenches’ books and I don’t believe I find grammatical errors in them, but I would like for you all to discuss it among you. Look through several books and see how many times you see “him doing something”. (Laura wins a book for this question.)


Laura, I might well be guilty of that particular 'mistake.' I put 'mistake' in inverted commas, as English usage and grammar can vary. As well, the English language is in constant flux, evolving and changing all the time, and since I write for modern readers, I tend to err on the side of common usage, rather than correct usage.

Jan_de_Bray_002According to this grammar tutor, there is some confusion about how to treat the gerund in the possessive form. "A debate has been raging about this for some time and the jury is still out, but the lines tend to be drawn up between the ‘formal/standard’ position on one hand and the ‘informal’ position on the other." You can read the full article here.

An editor's job — and here we're talking about a copy editor— is to find and highlight mistakes of various kinds, but copy-editing is an art, rather than a science. Some copy editors don't particularly worry about perfecting grammar, others are grammar fiends and will highlight every tiny error or departure from 'the rule'. However, that may have the effect of changing the author 's voice, or the character's voice, and no good copy editor would want to do that. In fact, I'd suggest that an editor who chose grammar over voice would soon lose their job.

I freely admit that I frequently abandon correct grammar in my books — mostly it's deliberate, for a variety of reasons:
1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct. Most of the narrative parts of a modern novel are in fact characters thinking and describing on the page — in their own point-of-view— rather than the omniscient narrator style many older books were written in.

Sometimes using correct grammar makes a sentence or some dialogue sound stilted, or overly formal to modern readers. Marie-Jeanne_Buzeau_by_Alexandre_Roslin

2) Believe it or not, grammar varies, depending where you come from. English English grammar is not always the same as American English grammar, and Australian English grammar and usage is more like English English grammar, but is sometimes a little bit American. (And what a shocker of a sentence that is!  <g>)

For instance in American English it seems perfectly correct to say 'She had gotten the story from Joe.' I was reprimanded throughout my childhood for using gotten in such a way, as where I come from (and also in England) the correct grammar is, 'She had got the story from Joe.' So while I go to some lengths to avoid "gotten" in my stories as it sounds so wrong to me, I also try to avoid the use of 'had got', as I know all my US readers would shriek at such a 'mistake.' It's a balancing act.

Sometimes what readers perceive as a mistake might actually be different usage, for instance Americans will use the expression "visit with" meaning to chat or talk with each other. For me, 'visiting' means going to visit someone, dropping in on them, paying a call— it's a physical act, and not about talking. And if you 'visit with' someone, it means two or more of you are going to pay a call. Confusing, isn't it, the many variations of our language? And even though my publisher and editors are in the USA, my books are set in England, my characters are English, and I'm Australian, so there are always choices to be made.

For those interested in the difference between American and English grammar and usage go here and here and here. There is also a great collection of articles and links about the future and nature of grammar here.

3) In the 1960's and 70's in many parts of the English speaking world, teachers stopped teaching formal grammar. It was based on some educational theory (from the USA but adopted internationally) that assumed children learned grammar naturally, without any drilling in the rules. Generations of teachers and students were schooled under that system, and the effects are still felt today. My parents were teachers and using correct grammar was a big deal in our house, but I still learned many of the rules when I was teaching foreigners learning English.

4) And sometimes we just make mistakes. And nobody picks them up. And we keep starting sentences with 'And.' And nobody stops us. <g>

AngrytypistSo I hope that explains why you won't always find correct grammar in a novel, and I'm sorry if the mistakes bug you. But really, we all have our grammar and word usage bugbears, don't we?

Grammar bugbears
Here are a couple of mine: Literally — which people so often use incorrectly and unnecessarily. eg "I literally flew to fetch my camera."
No, you didn't, you don't have wings, and you didn't catch a plane, you just hurried. Flew is a metaphor. Saying literally contradicts the metaphor — it says you actually did fly.

Less and fewer is another bugbear of mine. "She has less books than John does."
It should be fewer books. Less is for an uncountable noun, a quantity, fewer if you can count it. So less sugar, fewer teaspoons of sugar. Less money, fewer dollars, because while you can count money, the term 'money' is an unknown quantity, therefore it is technically uncountable. Test yourself on your knowledge of less or fewer here. 

I could go on, but I won't. None of us is perfect (yes, is not are) and the important thing in my view is that we communicate the best, most effective way we can. Sometimes perfect grammar helps with that, sometimes it doesn't.

By the way, if you'd like to improve or test your grammar, there is a fun site here that gives examples and tests your knowledge. 

Do you notice grammatical errors in books? Do they interfere with your reading pleasure or not? What are your pet grammar hates?

225 thoughts on “Grammar and other bugbears”

  1. Yes, I do notice them, and yes, they do yank me out of the book. They put my brain on tilt for a moment as I adjust my thinking from what the author actually said to what she (probably) meant to say.
    The affect/effect one makes me the craziest. Now that psychology uses affect as a noun, it seems everybody’s confused!
    On the other hand, if something is clearly a typo or a brain fart, it’s forgiven. We all do that.
    Fundamental ignorance of usage and grammar on the part of an allegedly professional author is another thing, however. Now that editors are not necessarily part of the process of publication anymore, I see more and more of it, particularly in ebooks.

    Reply
  2. Yes, I do notice them, and yes, they do yank me out of the book. They put my brain on tilt for a moment as I adjust my thinking from what the author actually said to what she (probably) meant to say.
    The affect/effect one makes me the craziest. Now that psychology uses affect as a noun, it seems everybody’s confused!
    On the other hand, if something is clearly a typo or a brain fart, it’s forgiven. We all do that.
    Fundamental ignorance of usage and grammar on the part of an allegedly professional author is another thing, however. Now that editors are not necessarily part of the process of publication anymore, I see more and more of it, particularly in ebooks.

    Reply
  3. Yes, I do notice them, and yes, they do yank me out of the book. They put my brain on tilt for a moment as I adjust my thinking from what the author actually said to what she (probably) meant to say.
    The affect/effect one makes me the craziest. Now that psychology uses affect as a noun, it seems everybody’s confused!
    On the other hand, if something is clearly a typo or a brain fart, it’s forgiven. We all do that.
    Fundamental ignorance of usage and grammar on the part of an allegedly professional author is another thing, however. Now that editors are not necessarily part of the process of publication anymore, I see more and more of it, particularly in ebooks.

    Reply
  4. Yes, I do notice them, and yes, they do yank me out of the book. They put my brain on tilt for a moment as I adjust my thinking from what the author actually said to what she (probably) meant to say.
    The affect/effect one makes me the craziest. Now that psychology uses affect as a noun, it seems everybody’s confused!
    On the other hand, if something is clearly a typo or a brain fart, it’s forgiven. We all do that.
    Fundamental ignorance of usage and grammar on the part of an allegedly professional author is another thing, however. Now that editors are not necessarily part of the process of publication anymore, I see more and more of it, particularly in ebooks.

    Reply
  5. Yes, I do notice them, and yes, they do yank me out of the book. They put my brain on tilt for a moment as I adjust my thinking from what the author actually said to what she (probably) meant to say.
    The affect/effect one makes me the craziest. Now that psychology uses affect as a noun, it seems everybody’s confused!
    On the other hand, if something is clearly a typo or a brain fart, it’s forgiven. We all do that.
    Fundamental ignorance of usage and grammar on the part of an allegedly professional author is another thing, however. Now that editors are not necessarily part of the process of publication anymore, I see more and more of it, particularly in ebooks.

    Reply
  6. Thanks, Janice — yes, affect and effect is a tricky one, and I see it mixed up often. I do think readers are likely to find more errors in independently published e-books, mainly because most self-published authors don't hire copy-editors, but rely on their friends and critique partners to do it.
    But some writers I know have been reprimanded by readers for using British English spelling, the readers complaining of 'spelling mistakes' which aren't actually mistakes, but a different convention. That's an interesting one, I think.
    Someone just tweeted to me that it really bugs her when people say (or write)
    "I could care less" when they really mean 'I couldn't care less.' I doesn't make logical sense to me, either, but I suspect it's one of those 'you say tomayto , I say tomahto' kind of differences.

    Reply
  7. Thanks, Janice — yes, affect and effect is a tricky one, and I see it mixed up often. I do think readers are likely to find more errors in independently published e-books, mainly because most self-published authors don't hire copy-editors, but rely on their friends and critique partners to do it.
    But some writers I know have been reprimanded by readers for using British English spelling, the readers complaining of 'spelling mistakes' which aren't actually mistakes, but a different convention. That's an interesting one, I think.
    Someone just tweeted to me that it really bugs her when people say (or write)
    "I could care less" when they really mean 'I couldn't care less.' I doesn't make logical sense to me, either, but I suspect it's one of those 'you say tomayto , I say tomahto' kind of differences.

    Reply
  8. Thanks, Janice — yes, affect and effect is a tricky one, and I see it mixed up often. I do think readers are likely to find more errors in independently published e-books, mainly because most self-published authors don't hire copy-editors, but rely on their friends and critique partners to do it.
    But some writers I know have been reprimanded by readers for using British English spelling, the readers complaining of 'spelling mistakes' which aren't actually mistakes, but a different convention. That's an interesting one, I think.
    Someone just tweeted to me that it really bugs her when people say (or write)
    "I could care less" when they really mean 'I couldn't care less.' I doesn't make logical sense to me, either, but I suspect it's one of those 'you say tomayto , I say tomahto' kind of differences.

    Reply
  9. Thanks, Janice — yes, affect and effect is a tricky one, and I see it mixed up often. I do think readers are likely to find more errors in independently published e-books, mainly because most self-published authors don't hire copy-editors, but rely on their friends and critique partners to do it.
    But some writers I know have been reprimanded by readers for using British English spelling, the readers complaining of 'spelling mistakes' which aren't actually mistakes, but a different convention. That's an interesting one, I think.
    Someone just tweeted to me that it really bugs her when people say (or write)
    "I could care less" when they really mean 'I couldn't care less.' I doesn't make logical sense to me, either, but I suspect it's one of those 'you say tomayto , I say tomahto' kind of differences.

    Reply
  10. Thanks, Janice — yes, affect and effect is a tricky one, and I see it mixed up often. I do think readers are likely to find more errors in independently published e-books, mainly because most self-published authors don't hire copy-editors, but rely on their friends and critique partners to do it.
    But some writers I know have been reprimanded by readers for using British English spelling, the readers complaining of 'spelling mistakes' which aren't actually mistakes, but a different convention. That's an interesting one, I think.
    Someone just tweeted to me that it really bugs her when people say (or write)
    "I could care less" when they really mean 'I couldn't care less.' I doesn't make logical sense to me, either, but I suspect it's one of those 'you say tomayto , I say tomahto' kind of differences.

    Reply
  11. You and I must be the only people up at this hour!
    One can take “I could care less” literally – maybe the speaker really could care less than she does 🙂 But it’s such a common expression – I’ve used it myself – that I don’t put it in the class of a grammatical error.
    It seems to me that if one is writing about British characters, it’s not only okay to use Britishisms — it’s wrong not to. A Brit doesn’t speak like an American, then or now, and to put Americanisms in their mouths is just wrong. After all, they’re speaking recognizable English; it’s not as if they’re Italian or whatever, and we are reading in translation. One of my pet peeves about current day American regency historicals is that the characters sound way too American – and current day American at that!
    If the author wants to use Americanisms in narrative, that’s different, because that’s the author’s voice — but not in dialog or character ruminations, please, unless the characters really are Americans 🙂
    Or Australians either 🙂

    Reply
  12. You and I must be the only people up at this hour!
    One can take “I could care less” literally – maybe the speaker really could care less than she does 🙂 But it’s such a common expression – I’ve used it myself – that I don’t put it in the class of a grammatical error.
    It seems to me that if one is writing about British characters, it’s not only okay to use Britishisms — it’s wrong not to. A Brit doesn’t speak like an American, then or now, and to put Americanisms in their mouths is just wrong. After all, they’re speaking recognizable English; it’s not as if they’re Italian or whatever, and we are reading in translation. One of my pet peeves about current day American regency historicals is that the characters sound way too American – and current day American at that!
    If the author wants to use Americanisms in narrative, that’s different, because that’s the author’s voice — but not in dialog or character ruminations, please, unless the characters really are Americans 🙂
    Or Australians either 🙂

    Reply
  13. You and I must be the only people up at this hour!
    One can take “I could care less” literally – maybe the speaker really could care less than she does 🙂 But it’s such a common expression – I’ve used it myself – that I don’t put it in the class of a grammatical error.
    It seems to me that if one is writing about British characters, it’s not only okay to use Britishisms — it’s wrong not to. A Brit doesn’t speak like an American, then or now, and to put Americanisms in their mouths is just wrong. After all, they’re speaking recognizable English; it’s not as if they’re Italian or whatever, and we are reading in translation. One of my pet peeves about current day American regency historicals is that the characters sound way too American – and current day American at that!
    If the author wants to use Americanisms in narrative, that’s different, because that’s the author’s voice — but not in dialog or character ruminations, please, unless the characters really are Americans 🙂
    Or Australians either 🙂

    Reply
  14. You and I must be the only people up at this hour!
    One can take “I could care less” literally – maybe the speaker really could care less than she does 🙂 But it’s such a common expression – I’ve used it myself – that I don’t put it in the class of a grammatical error.
    It seems to me that if one is writing about British characters, it’s not only okay to use Britishisms — it’s wrong not to. A Brit doesn’t speak like an American, then or now, and to put Americanisms in their mouths is just wrong. After all, they’re speaking recognizable English; it’s not as if they’re Italian or whatever, and we are reading in translation. One of my pet peeves about current day American regency historicals is that the characters sound way too American – and current day American at that!
    If the author wants to use Americanisms in narrative, that’s different, because that’s the author’s voice — but not in dialog or character ruminations, please, unless the characters really are Americans 🙂
    Or Australians either 🙂

    Reply
  15. You and I must be the only people up at this hour!
    One can take “I could care less” literally – maybe the speaker really could care less than she does 🙂 But it’s such a common expression – I’ve used it myself – that I don’t put it in the class of a grammatical error.
    It seems to me that if one is writing about British characters, it’s not only okay to use Britishisms — it’s wrong not to. A Brit doesn’t speak like an American, then or now, and to put Americanisms in their mouths is just wrong. After all, they’re speaking recognizable English; it’s not as if they’re Italian or whatever, and we are reading in translation. One of my pet peeves about current day American regency historicals is that the characters sound way too American – and current day American at that!
    If the author wants to use Americanisms in narrative, that’s different, because that’s the author’s voice — but not in dialog or character ruminations, please, unless the characters really are Americans 🙂
    Or Australians either 🙂

    Reply
  16. Well, there's no rule that says we can't have a conversation between ourselves anyway.
    I do agree with you that some writers of regency-era historicals sound quite American and often quite modern, too.
    I suspect though that for some, it's because they don't know that British English is any different, or they know, but don't know in what way it's different.
    Some, however, simply don't care and I know a lot of readers don't care, either. They know it's a fantasy and just for fun, and they don't care if the characters sound like modern Americans. Some, I think, even prefer it — it makes them feel closer to the characters.
    Again, it's a balancing act — writers have to make decisions for their own books, and readers have to decide how much accuracy they want and how much inaccuracy they can tolerate.

    Reply
  17. Well, there's no rule that says we can't have a conversation between ourselves anyway.
    I do agree with you that some writers of regency-era historicals sound quite American and often quite modern, too.
    I suspect though that for some, it's because they don't know that British English is any different, or they know, but don't know in what way it's different.
    Some, however, simply don't care and I know a lot of readers don't care, either. They know it's a fantasy and just for fun, and they don't care if the characters sound like modern Americans. Some, I think, even prefer it — it makes them feel closer to the characters.
    Again, it's a balancing act — writers have to make decisions for their own books, and readers have to decide how much accuracy they want and how much inaccuracy they can tolerate.

    Reply
  18. Well, there's no rule that says we can't have a conversation between ourselves anyway.
    I do agree with you that some writers of regency-era historicals sound quite American and often quite modern, too.
    I suspect though that for some, it's because they don't know that British English is any different, or they know, but don't know in what way it's different.
    Some, however, simply don't care and I know a lot of readers don't care, either. They know it's a fantasy and just for fun, and they don't care if the characters sound like modern Americans. Some, I think, even prefer it — it makes them feel closer to the characters.
    Again, it's a balancing act — writers have to make decisions for their own books, and readers have to decide how much accuracy they want and how much inaccuracy they can tolerate.

    Reply
  19. Well, there's no rule that says we can't have a conversation between ourselves anyway.
    I do agree with you that some writers of regency-era historicals sound quite American and often quite modern, too.
    I suspect though that for some, it's because they don't know that British English is any different, or they know, but don't know in what way it's different.
    Some, however, simply don't care and I know a lot of readers don't care, either. They know it's a fantasy and just for fun, and they don't care if the characters sound like modern Americans. Some, I think, even prefer it — it makes them feel closer to the characters.
    Again, it's a balancing act — writers have to make decisions for their own books, and readers have to decide how much accuracy they want and how much inaccuracy they can tolerate.

    Reply
  20. Well, there's no rule that says we can't have a conversation between ourselves anyway.
    I do agree with you that some writers of regency-era historicals sound quite American and often quite modern, too.
    I suspect though that for some, it's because they don't know that British English is any different, or they know, but don't know in what way it's different.
    Some, however, simply don't care and I know a lot of readers don't care, either. They know it's a fantasy and just for fun, and they don't care if the characters sound like modern Americans. Some, I think, even prefer it — it makes them feel closer to the characters.
    Again, it's a balancing act — writers have to make decisions for their own books, and readers have to decide how much accuracy they want and how much inaccuracy they can tolerate.

    Reply
  21. On the topic of different styles of English –
    We have a beautifully illustrated set of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories at home that has clearly been edited to reflect how society has changed since the books were first released. Names have been changed (Bessie to Beth, Fanny to Frannie, Dick to Rick, etc), and story details have been changed to accord with changes in social values (Dame Slap is now Dame Snap – and no corporal punishment takes place…). Other changes seem to serve no purpose save to dull the flavour of the stories (why does Sardine Ice Cream have to become Fish Ice Cream??? What happened to Humbugs and Boiled Sweets??) Meh.
    AND YET! Despite all these changes, nothing appears to have been done to correct the (many) instances of dangling participles & misplaced modifiers.
    Arrrrrrrgh!!!!

    Reply
  22. On the topic of different styles of English –
    We have a beautifully illustrated set of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories at home that has clearly been edited to reflect how society has changed since the books were first released. Names have been changed (Bessie to Beth, Fanny to Frannie, Dick to Rick, etc), and story details have been changed to accord with changes in social values (Dame Slap is now Dame Snap – and no corporal punishment takes place…). Other changes seem to serve no purpose save to dull the flavour of the stories (why does Sardine Ice Cream have to become Fish Ice Cream??? What happened to Humbugs and Boiled Sweets??) Meh.
    AND YET! Despite all these changes, nothing appears to have been done to correct the (many) instances of dangling participles & misplaced modifiers.
    Arrrrrrrgh!!!!

    Reply
  23. On the topic of different styles of English –
    We have a beautifully illustrated set of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories at home that has clearly been edited to reflect how society has changed since the books were first released. Names have been changed (Bessie to Beth, Fanny to Frannie, Dick to Rick, etc), and story details have been changed to accord with changes in social values (Dame Slap is now Dame Snap – and no corporal punishment takes place…). Other changes seem to serve no purpose save to dull the flavour of the stories (why does Sardine Ice Cream have to become Fish Ice Cream??? What happened to Humbugs and Boiled Sweets??) Meh.
    AND YET! Despite all these changes, nothing appears to have been done to correct the (many) instances of dangling participles & misplaced modifiers.
    Arrrrrrrgh!!!!

    Reply
  24. On the topic of different styles of English –
    We have a beautifully illustrated set of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories at home that has clearly been edited to reflect how society has changed since the books were first released. Names have been changed (Bessie to Beth, Fanny to Frannie, Dick to Rick, etc), and story details have been changed to accord with changes in social values (Dame Slap is now Dame Snap – and no corporal punishment takes place…). Other changes seem to serve no purpose save to dull the flavour of the stories (why does Sardine Ice Cream have to become Fish Ice Cream??? What happened to Humbugs and Boiled Sweets??) Meh.
    AND YET! Despite all these changes, nothing appears to have been done to correct the (many) instances of dangling participles & misplaced modifiers.
    Arrrrrrrgh!!!!

    Reply
  25. On the topic of different styles of English –
    We have a beautifully illustrated set of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories at home that has clearly been edited to reflect how society has changed since the books were first released. Names have been changed (Bessie to Beth, Fanny to Frannie, Dick to Rick, etc), and story details have been changed to accord with changes in social values (Dame Slap is now Dame Snap – and no corporal punishment takes place…). Other changes seem to serve no purpose save to dull the flavour of the stories (why does Sardine Ice Cream have to become Fish Ice Cream??? What happened to Humbugs and Boiled Sweets??) Meh.
    AND YET! Despite all these changes, nothing appears to have been done to correct the (many) instances of dangling participles & misplaced modifiers.
    Arrrrrrrgh!!!!

    Reply
  26. Shannon, that sounds a little disturbing. I know a lot of the Enid Blyton stories have been modified, and I suppose I can understand the change of names, when names like Fanny and Dick are no doubt snigger-worthy to kids of today, but I think changing Dame Slap to Dame Snap is taking political correctness a little too far. As for changing sardine ice-cream to fish ice-cream — that's ridiculous. I remember imagining all the little sardine heads and tails sticking out of the ice-cream — or maybe that's what the illustration had. I'm off to dig out my faraway tree books and check them — they're not the old ones I had — I don't know what happened to them, alas. But I did buy some for me when I bought them for my nieces and nephews, and I don't know if I ever reread the stories. I hope they're the original version.

    Reply
  27. Shannon, that sounds a little disturbing. I know a lot of the Enid Blyton stories have been modified, and I suppose I can understand the change of names, when names like Fanny and Dick are no doubt snigger-worthy to kids of today, but I think changing Dame Slap to Dame Snap is taking political correctness a little too far. As for changing sardine ice-cream to fish ice-cream — that's ridiculous. I remember imagining all the little sardine heads and tails sticking out of the ice-cream — or maybe that's what the illustration had. I'm off to dig out my faraway tree books and check them — they're not the old ones I had — I don't know what happened to them, alas. But I did buy some for me when I bought them for my nieces and nephews, and I don't know if I ever reread the stories. I hope they're the original version.

    Reply
  28. Shannon, that sounds a little disturbing. I know a lot of the Enid Blyton stories have been modified, and I suppose I can understand the change of names, when names like Fanny and Dick are no doubt snigger-worthy to kids of today, but I think changing Dame Slap to Dame Snap is taking political correctness a little too far. As for changing sardine ice-cream to fish ice-cream — that's ridiculous. I remember imagining all the little sardine heads and tails sticking out of the ice-cream — or maybe that's what the illustration had. I'm off to dig out my faraway tree books and check them — they're not the old ones I had — I don't know what happened to them, alas. But I did buy some for me when I bought them for my nieces and nephews, and I don't know if I ever reread the stories. I hope they're the original version.

    Reply
  29. Shannon, that sounds a little disturbing. I know a lot of the Enid Blyton stories have been modified, and I suppose I can understand the change of names, when names like Fanny and Dick are no doubt snigger-worthy to kids of today, but I think changing Dame Slap to Dame Snap is taking political correctness a little too far. As for changing sardine ice-cream to fish ice-cream — that's ridiculous. I remember imagining all the little sardine heads and tails sticking out of the ice-cream — or maybe that's what the illustration had. I'm off to dig out my faraway tree books and check them — they're not the old ones I had — I don't know what happened to them, alas. But I did buy some for me when I bought them for my nieces and nephews, and I don't know if I ever reread the stories. I hope they're the original version.

    Reply
  30. Shannon, that sounds a little disturbing. I know a lot of the Enid Blyton stories have been modified, and I suppose I can understand the change of names, when names like Fanny and Dick are no doubt snigger-worthy to kids of today, but I think changing Dame Slap to Dame Snap is taking political correctness a little too far. As for changing sardine ice-cream to fish ice-cream — that's ridiculous. I remember imagining all the little sardine heads and tails sticking out of the ice-cream — or maybe that's what the illustration had. I'm off to dig out my faraway tree books and check them — they're not the old ones I had — I don't know what happened to them, alas. But I did buy some for me when I bought them for my nieces and nephews, and I don't know if I ever reread the stories. I hope they're the original version.

    Reply
  31. I just checked and my copies of those books are all the original ones, thank goodness. I started reading them and smiling. The language is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but what surprised me was the amount of time those children spent unsupervised. One day they were given a huge picnic basket and told to go off and play for the day, and when, after various adventures they got home, their parents were still out, so the kids made their supper and went to bed.
    I just picked up The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, which was another favourite of mine, and those kids, who were thin and pale after a series of illnesses, were given 6 months off school by the doctor, who prescribed a country lifestyle, so the parents put the kids on the train to auntie someone’s in the country, and head off to America. As you do. Leaving the kids on the train by themselves. Changing values all right. The world was a different place.

    Reply
  32. I just checked and my copies of those books are all the original ones, thank goodness. I started reading them and smiling. The language is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but what surprised me was the amount of time those children spent unsupervised. One day they were given a huge picnic basket and told to go off and play for the day, and when, after various adventures they got home, their parents were still out, so the kids made their supper and went to bed.
    I just picked up The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, which was another favourite of mine, and those kids, who were thin and pale after a series of illnesses, were given 6 months off school by the doctor, who prescribed a country lifestyle, so the parents put the kids on the train to auntie someone’s in the country, and head off to America. As you do. Leaving the kids on the train by themselves. Changing values all right. The world was a different place.

    Reply
  33. I just checked and my copies of those books are all the original ones, thank goodness. I started reading them and smiling. The language is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but what surprised me was the amount of time those children spent unsupervised. One day they were given a huge picnic basket and told to go off and play for the day, and when, after various adventures they got home, their parents were still out, so the kids made their supper and went to bed.
    I just picked up The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, which was another favourite of mine, and those kids, who were thin and pale after a series of illnesses, were given 6 months off school by the doctor, who prescribed a country lifestyle, so the parents put the kids on the train to auntie someone’s in the country, and head off to America. As you do. Leaving the kids on the train by themselves. Changing values all right. The world was a different place.

    Reply
  34. I just checked and my copies of those books are all the original ones, thank goodness. I started reading them and smiling. The language is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but what surprised me was the amount of time those children spent unsupervised. One day they were given a huge picnic basket and told to go off and play for the day, and when, after various adventures they got home, their parents were still out, so the kids made their supper and went to bed.
    I just picked up The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, which was another favourite of mine, and those kids, who were thin and pale after a series of illnesses, were given 6 months off school by the doctor, who prescribed a country lifestyle, so the parents put the kids on the train to auntie someone’s in the country, and head off to America. As you do. Leaving the kids on the train by themselves. Changing values all right. The world was a different place.

    Reply
  35. I just checked and my copies of those books are all the original ones, thank goodness. I started reading them and smiling. The language is a bit stilted and old fashioned, but what surprised me was the amount of time those children spent unsupervised. One day they were given a huge picnic basket and told to go off and play for the day, and when, after various adventures they got home, their parents were still out, so the kids made their supper and went to bed.
    I just picked up The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, which was another favourite of mine, and those kids, who were thin and pale after a series of illnesses, were given 6 months off school by the doctor, who prescribed a country lifestyle, so the parents put the kids on the train to auntie someone’s in the country, and head off to America. As you do. Leaving the kids on the train by themselves. Changing values all right. The world was a different place.

    Reply
  36. As a reader I notice errors like typos but as long as the story and characters are compelling, I keep reading. I don’t care much about grammar, comma slices, etc., but wrong use of words and a far too modern voice can be jarring. There are such egregious cases that this can be a factor in not finishing a novel.
    I have only recently found errors like bad typos, missing words, etc. in several ebook versions of relatively expensive, traditionally published books, e.g. the latest Robert Muchamore YA, so these cannot be said to be a failing only of the self-pubbed.
    It is ten times harder to find such errors in your own MS, I have found, than to notice them in someone else’s.

    Reply
  37. As a reader I notice errors like typos but as long as the story and characters are compelling, I keep reading. I don’t care much about grammar, comma slices, etc., but wrong use of words and a far too modern voice can be jarring. There are such egregious cases that this can be a factor in not finishing a novel.
    I have only recently found errors like bad typos, missing words, etc. in several ebook versions of relatively expensive, traditionally published books, e.g. the latest Robert Muchamore YA, so these cannot be said to be a failing only of the self-pubbed.
    It is ten times harder to find such errors in your own MS, I have found, than to notice them in someone else’s.

    Reply
  38. As a reader I notice errors like typos but as long as the story and characters are compelling, I keep reading. I don’t care much about grammar, comma slices, etc., but wrong use of words and a far too modern voice can be jarring. There are such egregious cases that this can be a factor in not finishing a novel.
    I have only recently found errors like bad typos, missing words, etc. in several ebook versions of relatively expensive, traditionally published books, e.g. the latest Robert Muchamore YA, so these cannot be said to be a failing only of the self-pubbed.
    It is ten times harder to find such errors in your own MS, I have found, than to notice them in someone else’s.

    Reply
  39. As a reader I notice errors like typos but as long as the story and characters are compelling, I keep reading. I don’t care much about grammar, comma slices, etc., but wrong use of words and a far too modern voice can be jarring. There are such egregious cases that this can be a factor in not finishing a novel.
    I have only recently found errors like bad typos, missing words, etc. in several ebook versions of relatively expensive, traditionally published books, e.g. the latest Robert Muchamore YA, so these cannot be said to be a failing only of the self-pubbed.
    It is ten times harder to find such errors in your own MS, I have found, than to notice them in someone else’s.

    Reply
  40. As a reader I notice errors like typos but as long as the story and characters are compelling, I keep reading. I don’t care much about grammar, comma slices, etc., but wrong use of words and a far too modern voice can be jarring. There are such egregious cases that this can be a factor in not finishing a novel.
    I have only recently found errors like bad typos, missing words, etc. in several ebook versions of relatively expensive, traditionally published books, e.g. the latest Robert Muchamore YA, so these cannot be said to be a failing only of the self-pubbed.
    It is ten times harder to find such errors in your own MS, I have found, than to notice them in someone else’s.

    Reply
  41. I have no quibble with differences in regional or national styles and conventions, but the truly incorrect grammar mistakes that get me are 1) using the subjective pronoun as either the direct object or as an object of a preposition. And that mistake is insidiously creeping into all speech – I’m even hearing it from professionals on television. AAARRRGGGG!
    And 2) misusing tricky verbs. I recently read, “She laid down on the bed…” And yes, I quit reading if that happens early into the story. I figure the plot and characters won’t be any better than the grammar.
    Great post!

    Reply
  42. I have no quibble with differences in regional or national styles and conventions, but the truly incorrect grammar mistakes that get me are 1) using the subjective pronoun as either the direct object or as an object of a preposition. And that mistake is insidiously creeping into all speech – I’m even hearing it from professionals on television. AAARRRGGGG!
    And 2) misusing tricky verbs. I recently read, “She laid down on the bed…” And yes, I quit reading if that happens early into the story. I figure the plot and characters won’t be any better than the grammar.
    Great post!

    Reply
  43. I have no quibble with differences in regional or national styles and conventions, but the truly incorrect grammar mistakes that get me are 1) using the subjective pronoun as either the direct object or as an object of a preposition. And that mistake is insidiously creeping into all speech – I’m even hearing it from professionals on television. AAARRRGGGG!
    And 2) misusing tricky verbs. I recently read, “She laid down on the bed…” And yes, I quit reading if that happens early into the story. I figure the plot and characters won’t be any better than the grammar.
    Great post!

    Reply
  44. I have no quibble with differences in regional or national styles and conventions, but the truly incorrect grammar mistakes that get me are 1) using the subjective pronoun as either the direct object or as an object of a preposition. And that mistake is insidiously creeping into all speech – I’m even hearing it from professionals on television. AAARRRGGGG!
    And 2) misusing tricky verbs. I recently read, “She laid down on the bed…” And yes, I quit reading if that happens early into the story. I figure the plot and characters won’t be any better than the grammar.
    Great post!

    Reply
  45. I have no quibble with differences in regional or national styles and conventions, but the truly incorrect grammar mistakes that get me are 1) using the subjective pronoun as either the direct object or as an object of a preposition. And that mistake is insidiously creeping into all speech – I’m even hearing it from professionals on television. AAARRRGGGG!
    And 2) misusing tricky verbs. I recently read, “She laid down on the bed…” And yes, I quit reading if that happens early into the story. I figure the plot and characters won’t be any better than the grammar.
    Great post!

    Reply
  46. Grammar definitely varies from one country to another. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.
    “1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct.”
    I agree with this. If it’s a character speaking or thinking, they’re not always going to do it with perfect grammar. I take a bigger issue with those mistakes when it’s the author ‘talking’.
    That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two!
    Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold. It’s just not something that would have been said. Oh, and SNUCK!

    Reply
  47. Grammar definitely varies from one country to another. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.
    “1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct.”
    I agree with this. If it’s a character speaking or thinking, they’re not always going to do it with perfect grammar. I take a bigger issue with those mistakes when it’s the author ‘talking’.
    That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two!
    Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold. It’s just not something that would have been said. Oh, and SNUCK!

    Reply
  48. Grammar definitely varies from one country to another. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.
    “1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct.”
    I agree with this. If it’s a character speaking or thinking, they’re not always going to do it with perfect grammar. I take a bigger issue with those mistakes when it’s the author ‘talking’.
    That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two!
    Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold. It’s just not something that would have been said. Oh, and SNUCK!

    Reply
  49. Grammar definitely varies from one country to another. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.
    “1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct.”
    I agree with this. If it’s a character speaking or thinking, they’re not always going to do it with perfect grammar. I take a bigger issue with those mistakes when it’s the author ‘talking’.
    That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two!
    Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold. It’s just not something that would have been said. Oh, and SNUCK!

    Reply
  50. Grammar definitely varies from one country to another. I don’t think a lot of people realise that.
    “1) Most people (and therefore characters) use a mix of correct and incorrect grammar when speaking, and, when thinking, their grammar is even less likely to be correct.”
    I agree with this. If it’s a character speaking or thinking, they’re not always going to do it with perfect grammar. I take a bigger issue with those mistakes when it’s the author ‘talking’.
    That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two!
    Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold. It’s just not something that would have been said. Oh, and SNUCK!

    Reply
  51. This! Observe one minute of conversation between two friends at Starbucks and try to write it out on paper *exactly* as you hear it. Transcribe it to the word (which is almost impossible because people speak so quickly). Visually, that dialogue will probably be a mess on paper–stops, starts, digressions, fillers, asides. Multiply all of these things by a million if the conversation you’re listening to is between teenagers.
    Spoken language is an imprecise and flexible form of expression. It’s not like the written word. We try our best to capture the pace of real speech on the page, but authors (and journalists) cast aside loads of fillers used in every day speech–‘um, uh, kind of’–in an effort to make dialogue (or in the case of a newspaper article, source quotes) coherent for the reader.
    That said, you also want it to sound real. Speech patterns denote character, personality, and education and different characters will have different ways of expressing their thoughts. Often dialogue will not be (to varying degrees) grammatically correct, because if it was, it wouldn’t sound authentic.
    That said, I’m less forgiving if I find the errors in the narration itself. But even that I can shrug aside. I know it bothers some people. I also *do* notice more errors in books printed in the last ten years than in fiction printed decades before that. I’m not sure why this is. Turnover time is faster? Or the people doing the editing are not as well trained? At any rate, it’s an interesting topic!

    Reply
  52. This! Observe one minute of conversation between two friends at Starbucks and try to write it out on paper *exactly* as you hear it. Transcribe it to the word (which is almost impossible because people speak so quickly). Visually, that dialogue will probably be a mess on paper–stops, starts, digressions, fillers, asides. Multiply all of these things by a million if the conversation you’re listening to is between teenagers.
    Spoken language is an imprecise and flexible form of expression. It’s not like the written word. We try our best to capture the pace of real speech on the page, but authors (and journalists) cast aside loads of fillers used in every day speech–‘um, uh, kind of’–in an effort to make dialogue (or in the case of a newspaper article, source quotes) coherent for the reader.
    That said, you also want it to sound real. Speech patterns denote character, personality, and education and different characters will have different ways of expressing their thoughts. Often dialogue will not be (to varying degrees) grammatically correct, because if it was, it wouldn’t sound authentic.
    That said, I’m less forgiving if I find the errors in the narration itself. But even that I can shrug aside. I know it bothers some people. I also *do* notice more errors in books printed in the last ten years than in fiction printed decades before that. I’m not sure why this is. Turnover time is faster? Or the people doing the editing are not as well trained? At any rate, it’s an interesting topic!

    Reply
  53. This! Observe one minute of conversation between two friends at Starbucks and try to write it out on paper *exactly* as you hear it. Transcribe it to the word (which is almost impossible because people speak so quickly). Visually, that dialogue will probably be a mess on paper–stops, starts, digressions, fillers, asides. Multiply all of these things by a million if the conversation you’re listening to is between teenagers.
    Spoken language is an imprecise and flexible form of expression. It’s not like the written word. We try our best to capture the pace of real speech on the page, but authors (and journalists) cast aside loads of fillers used in every day speech–‘um, uh, kind of’–in an effort to make dialogue (or in the case of a newspaper article, source quotes) coherent for the reader.
    That said, you also want it to sound real. Speech patterns denote character, personality, and education and different characters will have different ways of expressing their thoughts. Often dialogue will not be (to varying degrees) grammatically correct, because if it was, it wouldn’t sound authentic.
    That said, I’m less forgiving if I find the errors in the narration itself. But even that I can shrug aside. I know it bothers some people. I also *do* notice more errors in books printed in the last ten years than in fiction printed decades before that. I’m not sure why this is. Turnover time is faster? Or the people doing the editing are not as well trained? At any rate, it’s an interesting topic!

    Reply
  54. This! Observe one minute of conversation between two friends at Starbucks and try to write it out on paper *exactly* as you hear it. Transcribe it to the word (which is almost impossible because people speak so quickly). Visually, that dialogue will probably be a mess on paper–stops, starts, digressions, fillers, asides. Multiply all of these things by a million if the conversation you’re listening to is between teenagers.
    Spoken language is an imprecise and flexible form of expression. It’s not like the written word. We try our best to capture the pace of real speech on the page, but authors (and journalists) cast aside loads of fillers used in every day speech–‘um, uh, kind of’–in an effort to make dialogue (or in the case of a newspaper article, source quotes) coherent for the reader.
    That said, you also want it to sound real. Speech patterns denote character, personality, and education and different characters will have different ways of expressing their thoughts. Often dialogue will not be (to varying degrees) grammatically correct, because if it was, it wouldn’t sound authentic.
    That said, I’m less forgiving if I find the errors in the narration itself. But even that I can shrug aside. I know it bothers some people. I also *do* notice more errors in books printed in the last ten years than in fiction printed decades before that. I’m not sure why this is. Turnover time is faster? Or the people doing the editing are not as well trained? At any rate, it’s an interesting topic!

    Reply
  55. This! Observe one minute of conversation between two friends at Starbucks and try to write it out on paper *exactly* as you hear it. Transcribe it to the word (which is almost impossible because people speak so quickly). Visually, that dialogue will probably be a mess on paper–stops, starts, digressions, fillers, asides. Multiply all of these things by a million if the conversation you’re listening to is between teenagers.
    Spoken language is an imprecise and flexible form of expression. It’s not like the written word. We try our best to capture the pace of real speech on the page, but authors (and journalists) cast aside loads of fillers used in every day speech–‘um, uh, kind of’–in an effort to make dialogue (or in the case of a newspaper article, source quotes) coherent for the reader.
    That said, you also want it to sound real. Speech patterns denote character, personality, and education and different characters will have different ways of expressing their thoughts. Often dialogue will not be (to varying degrees) grammatically correct, because if it was, it wouldn’t sound authentic.
    That said, I’m less forgiving if I find the errors in the narration itself. But even that I can shrug aside. I know it bothers some people. I also *do* notice more errors in books printed in the last ten years than in fiction printed decades before that. I’m not sure why this is. Turnover time is faster? Or the people doing the editing are not as well trained? At any rate, it’s an interesting topic!

    Reply
  56. Incorrect grammar when reading usually passes me by,there will always be differences between English English and American – you know what they say about two countries divided by a common language. But idioms which are too modern sometimes stop me dead and my pet hate is the use of passed and past.For instance ‘he past the plate’no he didn’t he passed the plate !!
    Elle there are probably more errors in more recent books because – definitely here in England both the author and the editor if they are of a certain age were never actually taught any grammar!Just expected to aquire a knowledge of same presumably from whatever they read.

    Reply
  57. Incorrect grammar when reading usually passes me by,there will always be differences between English English and American – you know what they say about two countries divided by a common language. But idioms which are too modern sometimes stop me dead and my pet hate is the use of passed and past.For instance ‘he past the plate’no he didn’t he passed the plate !!
    Elle there are probably more errors in more recent books because – definitely here in England both the author and the editor if they are of a certain age were never actually taught any grammar!Just expected to aquire a knowledge of same presumably from whatever they read.

    Reply
  58. Incorrect grammar when reading usually passes me by,there will always be differences between English English and American – you know what they say about two countries divided by a common language. But idioms which are too modern sometimes stop me dead and my pet hate is the use of passed and past.For instance ‘he past the plate’no he didn’t he passed the plate !!
    Elle there are probably more errors in more recent books because – definitely here in England both the author and the editor if they are of a certain age were never actually taught any grammar!Just expected to aquire a knowledge of same presumably from whatever they read.

    Reply
  59. Incorrect grammar when reading usually passes me by,there will always be differences between English English and American – you know what they say about two countries divided by a common language. But idioms which are too modern sometimes stop me dead and my pet hate is the use of passed and past.For instance ‘he past the plate’no he didn’t he passed the plate !!
    Elle there are probably more errors in more recent books because – definitely here in England both the author and the editor if they are of a certain age were never actually taught any grammar!Just expected to aquire a knowledge of same presumably from whatever they read.

    Reply
  60. Incorrect grammar when reading usually passes me by,there will always be differences between English English and American – you know what they say about two countries divided by a common language. But idioms which are too modern sometimes stop me dead and my pet hate is the use of passed and past.For instance ‘he past the plate’no he didn’t he passed the plate !!
    Elle there are probably more errors in more recent books because – definitely here in England both the author and the editor if they are of a certain age were never actually taught any grammar!Just expected to aquire a knowledge of same presumably from whatever they read.

    Reply
  61. It has been “**” years since I’ve been in an English/Grammar classroom. There are days I can barely remember where I left my keys let alone what possessive thingamajig goes where. The only time I usually notice something wrong with Grammar is when I’m not enjoying the book. When that happens everything jumps out at me, including historical accuracy.

    Reply
  62. It has been “**” years since I’ve been in an English/Grammar classroom. There are days I can barely remember where I left my keys let alone what possessive thingamajig goes where. The only time I usually notice something wrong with Grammar is when I’m not enjoying the book. When that happens everything jumps out at me, including historical accuracy.

    Reply
  63. It has been “**” years since I’ve been in an English/Grammar classroom. There are days I can barely remember where I left my keys let alone what possessive thingamajig goes where. The only time I usually notice something wrong with Grammar is when I’m not enjoying the book. When that happens everything jumps out at me, including historical accuracy.

    Reply
  64. It has been “**” years since I’ve been in an English/Grammar classroom. There are days I can barely remember where I left my keys let alone what possessive thingamajig goes where. The only time I usually notice something wrong with Grammar is when I’m not enjoying the book. When that happens everything jumps out at me, including historical accuracy.

    Reply
  65. It has been “**” years since I’ve been in an English/Grammar classroom. There are days I can barely remember where I left my keys let alone what possessive thingamajig goes where. The only time I usually notice something wrong with Grammar is when I’m not enjoying the book. When that happens everything jumps out at me, including historical accuracy.

    Reply
  66. I am an American and, long ago, I lived in England for 12 years. I was amazed at how poor the grammar was. I especially remember the misuse of me/my/I. I was naive and thought that as soon as I stepped on English soil, everyone would speak perfect English.
    I have never heard the phrase ‘visit with’ to mean chat. To everyone I know here in the US, it means to physically go to see someone. Location and different generations may explain that.
    It is sad that grammar education is not so important. My Brazilian daughter-in-law uses better grammar than my son. I remember having a teacher who, when anyone started a sentence with, “Well”, everyone in the class had to raise their feet off the floor one inch. One day the principal walked in and we were all standing on our desks. (That was an inventive teacher).
    No, grammatical ‘errors’ do not take away from my reading pleasure.

    Reply
  67. I am an American and, long ago, I lived in England for 12 years. I was amazed at how poor the grammar was. I especially remember the misuse of me/my/I. I was naive and thought that as soon as I stepped on English soil, everyone would speak perfect English.
    I have never heard the phrase ‘visit with’ to mean chat. To everyone I know here in the US, it means to physically go to see someone. Location and different generations may explain that.
    It is sad that grammar education is not so important. My Brazilian daughter-in-law uses better grammar than my son. I remember having a teacher who, when anyone started a sentence with, “Well”, everyone in the class had to raise their feet off the floor one inch. One day the principal walked in and we were all standing on our desks. (That was an inventive teacher).
    No, grammatical ‘errors’ do not take away from my reading pleasure.

    Reply
  68. I am an American and, long ago, I lived in England for 12 years. I was amazed at how poor the grammar was. I especially remember the misuse of me/my/I. I was naive and thought that as soon as I stepped on English soil, everyone would speak perfect English.
    I have never heard the phrase ‘visit with’ to mean chat. To everyone I know here in the US, it means to physically go to see someone. Location and different generations may explain that.
    It is sad that grammar education is not so important. My Brazilian daughter-in-law uses better grammar than my son. I remember having a teacher who, when anyone started a sentence with, “Well”, everyone in the class had to raise their feet off the floor one inch. One day the principal walked in and we were all standing on our desks. (That was an inventive teacher).
    No, grammatical ‘errors’ do not take away from my reading pleasure.

    Reply
  69. I am an American and, long ago, I lived in England for 12 years. I was amazed at how poor the grammar was. I especially remember the misuse of me/my/I. I was naive and thought that as soon as I stepped on English soil, everyone would speak perfect English.
    I have never heard the phrase ‘visit with’ to mean chat. To everyone I know here in the US, it means to physically go to see someone. Location and different generations may explain that.
    It is sad that grammar education is not so important. My Brazilian daughter-in-law uses better grammar than my son. I remember having a teacher who, when anyone started a sentence with, “Well”, everyone in the class had to raise their feet off the floor one inch. One day the principal walked in and we were all standing on our desks. (That was an inventive teacher).
    No, grammatical ‘errors’ do not take away from my reading pleasure.

    Reply
  70. I am an American and, long ago, I lived in England for 12 years. I was amazed at how poor the grammar was. I especially remember the misuse of me/my/I. I was naive and thought that as soon as I stepped on English soil, everyone would speak perfect English.
    I have never heard the phrase ‘visit with’ to mean chat. To everyone I know here in the US, it means to physically go to see someone. Location and different generations may explain that.
    It is sad that grammar education is not so important. My Brazilian daughter-in-law uses better grammar than my son. I remember having a teacher who, when anyone started a sentence with, “Well”, everyone in the class had to raise their feet off the floor one inch. One day the principal walked in and we were all standing on our desks. (That was an inventive teacher).
    No, grammatical ‘errors’ do not take away from my reading pleasure.

    Reply
  71. That's so true, Maria — I do find it hard to see my own mistakes, mainly because I know the manuscript so well, I struggle to make myself read it properly when I read it back at the end. Whereas typos and spelling mistakes in particular will jump out at me from other books. And of course it's not only e-books that are at fault — I actually think it's a worse fault in a traditionally published book because then there have been (at least theoretically) several editors looking at it, as well as the writer. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  72. That's so true, Maria — I do find it hard to see my own mistakes, mainly because I know the manuscript so well, I struggle to make myself read it properly when I read it back at the end. Whereas typos and spelling mistakes in particular will jump out at me from other books. And of course it's not only e-books that are at fault — I actually think it's a worse fault in a traditionally published book because then there have been (at least theoretically) several editors looking at it, as well as the writer. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  73. That's so true, Maria — I do find it hard to see my own mistakes, mainly because I know the manuscript so well, I struggle to make myself read it properly when I read it back at the end. Whereas typos and spelling mistakes in particular will jump out at me from other books. And of course it's not only e-books that are at fault — I actually think it's a worse fault in a traditionally published book because then there have been (at least theoretically) several editors looking at it, as well as the writer. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  74. That's so true, Maria — I do find it hard to see my own mistakes, mainly because I know the manuscript so well, I struggle to make myself read it properly when I read it back at the end. Whereas typos and spelling mistakes in particular will jump out at me from other books. And of course it's not only e-books that are at fault — I actually think it's a worse fault in a traditionally published book because then there have been (at least theoretically) several editors looking at it, as well as the writer. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  75. That's so true, Maria — I do find it hard to see my own mistakes, mainly because I know the manuscript so well, I struggle to make myself read it properly when I read it back at the end. Whereas typos and spelling mistakes in particular will jump out at me from other books. And of course it's not only e-books that are at fault — I actually think it's a worse fault in a traditionally published book because then there have been (at least theoretically) several editors looking at it, as well as the writer. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  76. That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two! Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold.
    The trouble with that, Sonya is that the copyeditor might have corrected it to gotten, as happens with my books all the time, which is why I try to avoid it altogether. In any case, gotten is an older form of English that has stuck in American English, whereas in the US and Australia, the language has moved on and that form is now frowned on and regarded as incorrect. So it *is* a regional issue. 
    It's a tricky old language. 

    Reply
  77. That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two! Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold.
    The trouble with that, Sonya is that the copyeditor might have corrected it to gotten, as happens with my books all the time, which is why I try to avoid it altogether. In any case, gotten is an older form of English that has stuck in American English, whereas in the US and Australia, the language has moved on and that form is now frowned on and regarded as incorrect. So it *is* a regional issue. 
    It's a tricky old language. 

    Reply
  78. That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two! Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold.
    The trouble with that, Sonya is that the copyeditor might have corrected it to gotten, as happens with my books all the time, which is why I try to avoid it altogether. In any case, gotten is an older form of English that has stuck in American English, whereas in the US and Australia, the language has moved on and that form is now frowned on and regarded as incorrect. So it *is* a regional issue. 
    It's a tricky old language. 

    Reply
  79. That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two! Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold.
    The trouble with that, Sonya is that the copyeditor might have corrected it to gotten, as happens with my books all the time, which is why I try to avoid it altogether. In any case, gotten is an older form of English that has stuck in American English, whereas in the US and Australia, the language has moved on and that form is now frowned on and regarded as incorrect. So it *is* a regional issue. 
    It's a tricky old language. 

    Reply
  80. That said, I did just give a poor review to a book because the hero spoke like someone who needed a remedial English class or two! Seeing ‘gotten’ in historical romances always stops me cold.
    The trouble with that, Sonya is that the copyeditor might have corrected it to gotten, as happens with my books all the time, which is why I try to avoid it altogether. In any case, gotten is an older form of English that has stuck in American English, whereas in the US and Australia, the language has moved on and that form is now frowned on and regarded as incorrect. So it *is* a regional issue. 
    It's a tricky old language. 

    Reply
  81. This is a post designed to thrill any editor’s heart. As editors, we have to edit very vigilantly, so as to sound educated with proper usage that does not tromp on the writer’s voice, style of writing, and characterization. While typos and egregious errors should always be caught, laxity is encouraged in, say, sentence fragments, beginning sentences with “and,” historical period-accurate phrasing that’s “wrong” to modern ears, etc. It’s a balancing act, which when done right is invisible and allows only the story to shine through.

    Reply
  82. This is a post designed to thrill any editor’s heart. As editors, we have to edit very vigilantly, so as to sound educated with proper usage that does not tromp on the writer’s voice, style of writing, and characterization. While typos and egregious errors should always be caught, laxity is encouraged in, say, sentence fragments, beginning sentences with “and,” historical period-accurate phrasing that’s “wrong” to modern ears, etc. It’s a balancing act, which when done right is invisible and allows only the story to shine through.

    Reply
  83. This is a post designed to thrill any editor’s heart. As editors, we have to edit very vigilantly, so as to sound educated with proper usage that does not tromp on the writer’s voice, style of writing, and characterization. While typos and egregious errors should always be caught, laxity is encouraged in, say, sentence fragments, beginning sentences with “and,” historical period-accurate phrasing that’s “wrong” to modern ears, etc. It’s a balancing act, which when done right is invisible and allows only the story to shine through.

    Reply
  84. This is a post designed to thrill any editor’s heart. As editors, we have to edit very vigilantly, so as to sound educated with proper usage that does not tromp on the writer’s voice, style of writing, and characterization. While typos and egregious errors should always be caught, laxity is encouraged in, say, sentence fragments, beginning sentences with “and,” historical period-accurate phrasing that’s “wrong” to modern ears, etc. It’s a balancing act, which when done right is invisible and allows only the story to shine through.

    Reply
  85. This is a post designed to thrill any editor’s heart. As editors, we have to edit very vigilantly, so as to sound educated with proper usage that does not tromp on the writer’s voice, style of writing, and characterization. While typos and egregious errors should always be caught, laxity is encouraged in, say, sentence fragments, beginning sentences with “and,” historical period-accurate phrasing that’s “wrong” to modern ears, etc. It’s a balancing act, which when done right is invisible and allows only the story to shine through.

    Reply
  86. LOL Elle — yes, I did many a transcript of this sort as an undergraduate. Actual conversation is so fragmented — a mess, as you say. Writing dialogue is an art, and getting it to sound natural while being completely unrealistic is another balancing act writers must manage.
    I do think editors have less time than they used to, but I also think the removal of grammar from school syllabi for several generations has had an effect, also. I've seen the same obvious mistake used consistently through some books, and clearly not only the writer got it wrong, but the copyeditor didn;t know to correct it. Most people go with what they think 'sounds right' but as we've all said here, bad grammar is all around us, and the nature of language is such that the more something is repeated the more natural and correct it sounds.

    Reply
  87. LOL Elle — yes, I did many a transcript of this sort as an undergraduate. Actual conversation is so fragmented — a mess, as you say. Writing dialogue is an art, and getting it to sound natural while being completely unrealistic is another balancing act writers must manage.
    I do think editors have less time than they used to, but I also think the removal of grammar from school syllabi for several generations has had an effect, also. I've seen the same obvious mistake used consistently through some books, and clearly not only the writer got it wrong, but the copyeditor didn;t know to correct it. Most people go with what they think 'sounds right' but as we've all said here, bad grammar is all around us, and the nature of language is such that the more something is repeated the more natural and correct it sounds.

    Reply
  88. LOL Elle — yes, I did many a transcript of this sort as an undergraduate. Actual conversation is so fragmented — a mess, as you say. Writing dialogue is an art, and getting it to sound natural while being completely unrealistic is another balancing act writers must manage.
    I do think editors have less time than they used to, but I also think the removal of grammar from school syllabi for several generations has had an effect, also. I've seen the same obvious mistake used consistently through some books, and clearly not only the writer got it wrong, but the copyeditor didn;t know to correct it. Most people go with what they think 'sounds right' but as we've all said here, bad grammar is all around us, and the nature of language is such that the more something is repeated the more natural and correct it sounds.

    Reply
  89. LOL Elle — yes, I did many a transcript of this sort as an undergraduate. Actual conversation is so fragmented — a mess, as you say. Writing dialogue is an art, and getting it to sound natural while being completely unrealistic is another balancing act writers must manage.
    I do think editors have less time than they used to, but I also think the removal of grammar from school syllabi for several generations has had an effect, also. I've seen the same obvious mistake used consistently through some books, and clearly not only the writer got it wrong, but the copyeditor didn;t know to correct it. Most people go with what they think 'sounds right' but as we've all said here, bad grammar is all around us, and the nature of language is such that the more something is repeated the more natural and correct it sounds.

    Reply
  90. LOL Elle — yes, I did many a transcript of this sort as an undergraduate. Actual conversation is so fragmented — a mess, as you say. Writing dialogue is an art, and getting it to sound natural while being completely unrealistic is another balancing act writers must manage.
    I do think editors have less time than they used to, but I also think the removal of grammar from school syllabi for several generations has had an effect, also. I've seen the same obvious mistake used consistently through some books, and clearly not only the writer got it wrong, but the copyeditor didn;t know to correct it. Most people go with what they think 'sounds right' but as we've all said here, bad grammar is all around us, and the nature of language is such that the more something is repeated the more natural and correct it sounds.

    Reply
  91. Jo, I think that's true — several generations now have never been taught the finer points of grammar, and it shows.
    And the modern expressions also bug me — a Regency earl saying "As if!" and such things.
    There's also a more subtle difference — not understanding, for instance, that though a lord might be quite close in some ways to his valet, it's most unlikely he would be confiding his innermost worries and thoughts to him. Not that it's anything to do with grammar, of course.

    Reply
  92. Jo, I think that's true — several generations now have never been taught the finer points of grammar, and it shows.
    And the modern expressions also bug me — a Regency earl saying "As if!" and such things.
    There's also a more subtle difference — not understanding, for instance, that though a lord might be quite close in some ways to his valet, it's most unlikely he would be confiding his innermost worries and thoughts to him. Not that it's anything to do with grammar, of course.

    Reply
  93. Jo, I think that's true — several generations now have never been taught the finer points of grammar, and it shows.
    And the modern expressions also bug me — a Regency earl saying "As if!" and such things.
    There's also a more subtle difference — not understanding, for instance, that though a lord might be quite close in some ways to his valet, it's most unlikely he would be confiding his innermost worries and thoughts to him. Not that it's anything to do with grammar, of course.

    Reply
  94. Jo, I think that's true — several generations now have never been taught the finer points of grammar, and it shows.
    And the modern expressions also bug me — a Regency earl saying "As if!" and such things.
    There's also a more subtle difference — not understanding, for instance, that though a lord might be quite close in some ways to his valet, it's most unlikely he would be confiding his innermost worries and thoughts to him. Not that it's anything to do with grammar, of course.

    Reply
  95. Jo, I think that's true — several generations now have never been taught the finer points of grammar, and it shows.
    And the modern expressions also bug me — a Regency earl saying "As if!" and such things.
    There's also a more subtle difference — not understanding, for instance, that though a lord might be quite close in some ways to his valet, it's most unlikely he would be confiding his innermost worries and thoughts to him. Not that it's anything to do with grammar, of course.

    Reply
  96. Alison, I do think grammar is a matter of education and not nationality — no matter what country you're from. I think Eliza Doolittle is a prime example of that. It wasnt just accent that needed to be "corrected' it would be grammar as well. And I do think you're right, in that many people whose first language isn't English and who have learned it in a class room have better grammar than many native speakers. That can be a slight problem for some, however, as native speakers can sometimes perceive them to be overly formal or stand-offish.
    I'm surprised you've never heard the expression "visit with" — I've heard it said, seen it written in emails and certainly seen it written in books. Perhaps it's a US regional variation thing and I haven't picked up on it. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  97. Alison, I do think grammar is a matter of education and not nationality — no matter what country you're from. I think Eliza Doolittle is a prime example of that. It wasnt just accent that needed to be "corrected' it would be grammar as well. And I do think you're right, in that many people whose first language isn't English and who have learned it in a class room have better grammar than many native speakers. That can be a slight problem for some, however, as native speakers can sometimes perceive them to be overly formal or stand-offish.
    I'm surprised you've never heard the expression "visit with" — I've heard it said, seen it written in emails and certainly seen it written in books. Perhaps it's a US regional variation thing and I haven't picked up on it. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  98. Alison, I do think grammar is a matter of education and not nationality — no matter what country you're from. I think Eliza Doolittle is a prime example of that. It wasnt just accent that needed to be "corrected' it would be grammar as well. And I do think you're right, in that many people whose first language isn't English and who have learned it in a class room have better grammar than many native speakers. That can be a slight problem for some, however, as native speakers can sometimes perceive them to be overly formal or stand-offish.
    I'm surprised you've never heard the expression "visit with" — I've heard it said, seen it written in emails and certainly seen it written in books. Perhaps it's a US regional variation thing and I haven't picked up on it. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  99. Alison, I do think grammar is a matter of education and not nationality — no matter what country you're from. I think Eliza Doolittle is a prime example of that. It wasnt just accent that needed to be "corrected' it would be grammar as well. And I do think you're right, in that many people whose first language isn't English and who have learned it in a class room have better grammar than many native speakers. That can be a slight problem for some, however, as native speakers can sometimes perceive them to be overly formal or stand-offish.
    I'm surprised you've never heard the expression "visit with" — I've heard it said, seen it written in emails and certainly seen it written in books. Perhaps it's a US regional variation thing and I haven't picked up on it. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  100. Alison, I do think grammar is a matter of education and not nationality — no matter what country you're from. I think Eliza Doolittle is a prime example of that. It wasnt just accent that needed to be "corrected' it would be grammar as well. And I do think you're right, in that many people whose first language isn't English and who have learned it in a class room have better grammar than many native speakers. That can be a slight problem for some, however, as native speakers can sometimes perceive them to be overly formal or stand-offish.
    I'm surprised you've never heard the expression "visit with" — I've heard it said, seen it written in emails and certainly seen it written in books. Perhaps it's a US regional variation thing and I haven't picked up on it. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  101. Hi Keira — yes indeed, as I said, editing is an art, and a good editor is a person to be prized. Clearly you've done well, as I saw you were listed as one of the editors for Sherry Thomas's wonderful RITA finalist book this year. Congratulations.

    Reply
  102. Hi Keira — yes indeed, as I said, editing is an art, and a good editor is a person to be prized. Clearly you've done well, as I saw you were listed as one of the editors for Sherry Thomas's wonderful RITA finalist book this year. Congratulations.

    Reply
  103. Hi Keira — yes indeed, as I said, editing is an art, and a good editor is a person to be prized. Clearly you've done well, as I saw you were listed as one of the editors for Sherry Thomas's wonderful RITA finalist book this year. Congratulations.

    Reply
  104. Hi Keira — yes indeed, as I said, editing is an art, and a good editor is a person to be prized. Clearly you've done well, as I saw you were listed as one of the editors for Sherry Thomas's wonderful RITA finalist book this year. Congratulations.

    Reply
  105. Hi Keira — yes indeed, as I said, editing is an art, and a good editor is a person to be prized. Clearly you've done well, as I saw you were listed as one of the editors for Sherry Thomas's wonderful RITA finalist book this year. Congratulations.

    Reply
  106. Oh how this article resonated with me. I hated finding ‘errors’ in books and wondered about the editors’ abilities until I worked with my first editor. The process opened my eyes to the differences between ‘English’ in Australia and in America. It was almost a physical ache to allow something which, to me, was ‘wrong’ but turned out to be ‘right’ in American English. These differences are part and parcel of cultural shifts and the constant evolution of our language in different parts of the world. Now, I attempt to appreciate rather than rail at the differences. But misuse of ‘less/fewer’still has the power to rile me! 😉

    Reply
  107. Oh how this article resonated with me. I hated finding ‘errors’ in books and wondered about the editors’ abilities until I worked with my first editor. The process opened my eyes to the differences between ‘English’ in Australia and in America. It was almost a physical ache to allow something which, to me, was ‘wrong’ but turned out to be ‘right’ in American English. These differences are part and parcel of cultural shifts and the constant evolution of our language in different parts of the world. Now, I attempt to appreciate rather than rail at the differences. But misuse of ‘less/fewer’still has the power to rile me! 😉

    Reply
  108. Oh how this article resonated with me. I hated finding ‘errors’ in books and wondered about the editors’ abilities until I worked with my first editor. The process opened my eyes to the differences between ‘English’ in Australia and in America. It was almost a physical ache to allow something which, to me, was ‘wrong’ but turned out to be ‘right’ in American English. These differences are part and parcel of cultural shifts and the constant evolution of our language in different parts of the world. Now, I attempt to appreciate rather than rail at the differences. But misuse of ‘less/fewer’still has the power to rile me! 😉

    Reply
  109. Oh how this article resonated with me. I hated finding ‘errors’ in books and wondered about the editors’ abilities until I worked with my first editor. The process opened my eyes to the differences between ‘English’ in Australia and in America. It was almost a physical ache to allow something which, to me, was ‘wrong’ but turned out to be ‘right’ in American English. These differences are part and parcel of cultural shifts and the constant evolution of our language in different parts of the world. Now, I attempt to appreciate rather than rail at the differences. But misuse of ‘less/fewer’still has the power to rile me! 😉

    Reply
  110. Oh how this article resonated with me. I hated finding ‘errors’ in books and wondered about the editors’ abilities until I worked with my first editor. The process opened my eyes to the differences between ‘English’ in Australia and in America. It was almost a physical ache to allow something which, to me, was ‘wrong’ but turned out to be ‘right’ in American English. These differences are part and parcel of cultural shifts and the constant evolution of our language in different parts of the world. Now, I attempt to appreciate rather than rail at the differences. But misuse of ‘less/fewer’still has the power to rile me! 😉

    Reply
  111. Anne this post, or these posts, have taken me back to a time when I attended aone of your lectures at CAE and rather pretentiously criticised a piece of writing where a sentence started with the word ‘and’. Thus starting a discussion on the difference in language appropriateness for romance novels.
    Funnily I never notice that now. I find incorrect spelling more irritating now. And there’s a lot of that on the kindle.

    Reply
  112. Anne this post, or these posts, have taken me back to a time when I attended aone of your lectures at CAE and rather pretentiously criticised a piece of writing where a sentence started with the word ‘and’. Thus starting a discussion on the difference in language appropriateness for romance novels.
    Funnily I never notice that now. I find incorrect spelling more irritating now. And there’s a lot of that on the kindle.

    Reply
  113. Anne this post, or these posts, have taken me back to a time when I attended aone of your lectures at CAE and rather pretentiously criticised a piece of writing where a sentence started with the word ‘and’. Thus starting a discussion on the difference in language appropriateness for romance novels.
    Funnily I never notice that now. I find incorrect spelling more irritating now. And there’s a lot of that on the kindle.

    Reply
  114. Anne this post, or these posts, have taken me back to a time when I attended aone of your lectures at CAE and rather pretentiously criticised a piece of writing where a sentence started with the word ‘and’. Thus starting a discussion on the difference in language appropriateness for romance novels.
    Funnily I never notice that now. I find incorrect spelling more irritating now. And there’s a lot of that on the kindle.

    Reply
  115. Anne this post, or these posts, have taken me back to a time when I attended aone of your lectures at CAE and rather pretentiously criticised a piece of writing where a sentence started with the word ‘and’. Thus starting a discussion on the difference in language appropriateness for romance novels.
    Funnily I never notice that now. I find incorrect spelling more irritating now. And there’s a lot of that on the kindle.

    Reply
  116. The thrills, the passion, the DRAMA of grammar!!!! There is nothing like a list of readers, writers, and editors to get hearts pounding over such things. *G* Fun. I’m with you on less and fewer, and I have my own little zoon of bugbears. You’re so right, Anne, about having to find a balance between formality and what works for readers. It’s a shifty line.

    Reply
  117. The thrills, the passion, the DRAMA of grammar!!!! There is nothing like a list of readers, writers, and editors to get hearts pounding over such things. *G* Fun. I’m with you on less and fewer, and I have my own little zoon of bugbears. You’re so right, Anne, about having to find a balance between formality and what works for readers. It’s a shifty line.

    Reply
  118. The thrills, the passion, the DRAMA of grammar!!!! There is nothing like a list of readers, writers, and editors to get hearts pounding over such things. *G* Fun. I’m with you on less and fewer, and I have my own little zoon of bugbears. You’re so right, Anne, about having to find a balance between formality and what works for readers. It’s a shifty line.

    Reply
  119. The thrills, the passion, the DRAMA of grammar!!!! There is nothing like a list of readers, writers, and editors to get hearts pounding over such things. *G* Fun. I’m with you on less and fewer, and I have my own little zoon of bugbears. You’re so right, Anne, about having to find a balance between formality and what works for readers. It’s a shifty line.

    Reply
  120. The thrills, the passion, the DRAMA of grammar!!!! There is nothing like a list of readers, writers, and editors to get hearts pounding over such things. *G* Fun. I’m with you on less and fewer, and I have my own little zoon of bugbears. You’re so right, Anne, about having to find a balance between formality and what works for readers. It’s a shifty line.

    Reply
  121. Susanne, yes, I thought it was nicely ironic this morning when I booked a taxi to have the automated voice ask me to confirm I was four people or less and was ready to leave — I was so ready to argue the point — with a machine? LOL
    But who knows, that might eventually become the standard. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  122. Susanne, yes, I thought it was nicely ironic this morning when I booked a taxi to have the automated voice ask me to confirm I was four people or less and was ready to leave — I was so ready to argue the point — with a machine? LOL
    But who knows, that might eventually become the standard. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  123. Susanne, yes, I thought it was nicely ironic this morning when I booked a taxi to have the automated voice ask me to confirm I was four people or less and was ready to leave — I was so ready to argue the point — with a machine? LOL
    But who knows, that might eventually become the standard. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  124. Susanne, yes, I thought it was nicely ironic this morning when I booked a taxi to have the automated voice ask me to confirm I was four people or less and was ready to leave — I was so ready to argue the point — with a machine? LOL
    But who knows, that might eventually become the standard. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  125. Susanne, yes, I thought it was nicely ironic this morning when I booked a taxi to have the automated voice ask me to confirm I was four people or less and was ready to leave — I was so ready to argue the point — with a machine? LOL
    But who knows, that might eventually become the standard. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

    Reply
  126. I don't remember that particular discussion, Felicity, but ot does come up in most classes. We are well trained by teachers to use full and complete grammatical sentences, but in fiction you're aiming for something different — an illusion of reality, and reality isn't perfect. Or grammatical. And sentences aren't always complete. And after various teachers drilled me in "You must never start a sentence with and or but or any other conjunction," I do it all the time.
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

    Reply
  127. I don't remember that particular discussion, Felicity, but ot does come up in most classes. We are well trained by teachers to use full and complete grammatical sentences, but in fiction you're aiming for something different — an illusion of reality, and reality isn't perfect. Or grammatical. And sentences aren't always complete. And after various teachers drilled me in "You must never start a sentence with and or but or any other conjunction," I do it all the time.
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

    Reply
  128. I don't remember that particular discussion, Felicity, but ot does come up in most classes. We are well trained by teachers to use full and complete grammatical sentences, but in fiction you're aiming for something different — an illusion of reality, and reality isn't perfect. Or grammatical. And sentences aren't always complete. And after various teachers drilled me in "You must never start a sentence with and or but or any other conjunction," I do it all the time.
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

    Reply
  129. I don't remember that particular discussion, Felicity, but ot does come up in most classes. We are well trained by teachers to use full and complete grammatical sentences, but in fiction you're aiming for something different — an illusion of reality, and reality isn't perfect. Or grammatical. And sentences aren't always complete. And after various teachers drilled me in "You must never start a sentence with and or but or any other conjunction," I do it all the time.
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

    Reply
  130. I don't remember that particular discussion, Felicity, but ot does come up in most classes. We are well trained by teachers to use full and complete grammatical sentences, but in fiction you're aiming for something different — an illusion of reality, and reality isn't perfect. Or grammatical. And sentences aren't always complete. And after various teachers drilled me in "You must never start a sentence with and or but or any other conjunction," I do it all the time.
    Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

    Reply
  131. Most of the points I thought if making have been well covered in the original post and the comments. I do agree that there is a difference between narrative and dialogue, and I don’t expect perfect grammar in dialogue (or in all narrative, when it is close POV). I also acknowledge the difference in usage between different English-speaking countries. Even taking this into account, I do see more bad grammar in published books these days than I used to, and it does take me out of the book.
    I do feel that authors should be aware of the differences between English and American usage when setting a book in the country which is not their home. This is particularly true of Americans writing historical novels set in England or Scotland. They have their characters “visit with” people, or “fix a plate” for someone. This is basic stuff which should be picked up by an editor. Maybe the authors / publishers should make a point of using editors whose first language is the language of the place where the book is set?
    Some things are just wrong, wherever you are. “Lesser” and “fewer”, and “literally” are bugbears of mine, too.

    Reply
  132. Most of the points I thought if making have been well covered in the original post and the comments. I do agree that there is a difference between narrative and dialogue, and I don’t expect perfect grammar in dialogue (or in all narrative, when it is close POV). I also acknowledge the difference in usage between different English-speaking countries. Even taking this into account, I do see more bad grammar in published books these days than I used to, and it does take me out of the book.
    I do feel that authors should be aware of the differences between English and American usage when setting a book in the country which is not their home. This is particularly true of Americans writing historical novels set in England or Scotland. They have their characters “visit with” people, or “fix a plate” for someone. This is basic stuff which should be picked up by an editor. Maybe the authors / publishers should make a point of using editors whose first language is the language of the place where the book is set?
    Some things are just wrong, wherever you are. “Lesser” and “fewer”, and “literally” are bugbears of mine, too.

    Reply
  133. Most of the points I thought if making have been well covered in the original post and the comments. I do agree that there is a difference between narrative and dialogue, and I don’t expect perfect grammar in dialogue (or in all narrative, when it is close POV). I also acknowledge the difference in usage between different English-speaking countries. Even taking this into account, I do see more bad grammar in published books these days than I used to, and it does take me out of the book.
    I do feel that authors should be aware of the differences between English and American usage when setting a book in the country which is not their home. This is particularly true of Americans writing historical novels set in England or Scotland. They have their characters “visit with” people, or “fix a plate” for someone. This is basic stuff which should be picked up by an editor. Maybe the authors / publishers should make a point of using editors whose first language is the language of the place where the book is set?
    Some things are just wrong, wherever you are. “Lesser” and “fewer”, and “literally” are bugbears of mine, too.

    Reply
  134. Most of the points I thought if making have been well covered in the original post and the comments. I do agree that there is a difference between narrative and dialogue, and I don’t expect perfect grammar in dialogue (or in all narrative, when it is close POV). I also acknowledge the difference in usage between different English-speaking countries. Even taking this into account, I do see more bad grammar in published books these days than I used to, and it does take me out of the book.
    I do feel that authors should be aware of the differences between English and American usage when setting a book in the country which is not their home. This is particularly true of Americans writing historical novels set in England or Scotland. They have their characters “visit with” people, or “fix a plate” for someone. This is basic stuff which should be picked up by an editor. Maybe the authors / publishers should make a point of using editors whose first language is the language of the place where the book is set?
    Some things are just wrong, wherever you are. “Lesser” and “fewer”, and “literally” are bugbears of mine, too.

    Reply
  135. Most of the points I thought if making have been well covered in the original post and the comments. I do agree that there is a difference between narrative and dialogue, and I don’t expect perfect grammar in dialogue (or in all narrative, when it is close POV). I also acknowledge the difference in usage between different English-speaking countries. Even taking this into account, I do see more bad grammar in published books these days than I used to, and it does take me out of the book.
    I do feel that authors should be aware of the differences between English and American usage when setting a book in the country which is not their home. This is particularly true of Americans writing historical novels set in England or Scotland. They have their characters “visit with” people, or “fix a plate” for someone. This is basic stuff which should be picked up by an editor. Maybe the authors / publishers should make a point of using editors whose first language is the language of the place where the book is set?
    Some things are just wrong, wherever you are. “Lesser” and “fewer”, and “literally” are bugbears of mine, too.

    Reply
  136. LOL — grammar pedants unite! My father hated the "fix a plate" expression — he used to say, "Why? Is it broken?" This was the man who answered various requests of mine that started "Can I . . .? " with "You can, but you may not."
    I suspect it's going to go the way movies and TV have gone, with a slow growing awareness that it's important to get the small historical details —and the language—right. Remember that old version of Pride and Prejudice, (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and other "historical" movies, where the costumes were completely wrong for the era, and the film makers didn't care — history was just a matter of donning some costume. These days film and TV series makers strive hard for historical accuracy all the way — um, she breaks to recall The Tudors but brushes that hastily aside — ahem, well, many of them do, and I think it's becoming more of an expectation that they do. That might also become the case with historicals. I certainly hope so, anyway.

    Reply
  137. LOL — grammar pedants unite! My father hated the "fix a plate" expression — he used to say, "Why? Is it broken?" This was the man who answered various requests of mine that started "Can I . . .? " with "You can, but you may not."
    I suspect it's going to go the way movies and TV have gone, with a slow growing awareness that it's important to get the small historical details —and the language—right. Remember that old version of Pride and Prejudice, (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and other "historical" movies, where the costumes were completely wrong for the era, and the film makers didn't care — history was just a matter of donning some costume. These days film and TV series makers strive hard for historical accuracy all the way — um, she breaks to recall The Tudors but brushes that hastily aside — ahem, well, many of them do, and I think it's becoming more of an expectation that they do. That might also become the case with historicals. I certainly hope so, anyway.

    Reply
  138. LOL — grammar pedants unite! My father hated the "fix a plate" expression — he used to say, "Why? Is it broken?" This was the man who answered various requests of mine that started "Can I . . .? " with "You can, but you may not."
    I suspect it's going to go the way movies and TV have gone, with a slow growing awareness that it's important to get the small historical details —and the language—right. Remember that old version of Pride and Prejudice, (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and other "historical" movies, where the costumes were completely wrong for the era, and the film makers didn't care — history was just a matter of donning some costume. These days film and TV series makers strive hard for historical accuracy all the way — um, she breaks to recall The Tudors but brushes that hastily aside — ahem, well, many of them do, and I think it's becoming more of an expectation that they do. That might also become the case with historicals. I certainly hope so, anyway.

    Reply
  139. LOL — grammar pedants unite! My father hated the "fix a plate" expression — he used to say, "Why? Is it broken?" This was the man who answered various requests of mine that started "Can I . . .? " with "You can, but you may not."
    I suspect it's going to go the way movies and TV have gone, with a slow growing awareness that it's important to get the small historical details —and the language—right. Remember that old version of Pride and Prejudice, (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and other "historical" movies, where the costumes were completely wrong for the era, and the film makers didn't care — history was just a matter of donning some costume. These days film and TV series makers strive hard for historical accuracy all the way — um, she breaks to recall The Tudors but brushes that hastily aside — ahem, well, many of them do, and I think it's becoming more of an expectation that they do. That might also become the case with historicals. I certainly hope so, anyway.

    Reply
  140. LOL — grammar pedants unite! My father hated the "fix a plate" expression — he used to say, "Why? Is it broken?" This was the man who answered various requests of mine that started "Can I . . .? " with "You can, but you may not."
    I suspect it's going to go the way movies and TV have gone, with a slow growing awareness that it's important to get the small historical details —and the language—right. Remember that old version of Pride and Prejudice, (Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier) and other "historical" movies, where the costumes were completely wrong for the era, and the film makers didn't care — history was just a matter of donning some costume. These days film and TV series makers strive hard for historical accuracy all the way — um, she breaks to recall The Tudors but brushes that hastily aside — ahem, well, many of them do, and I think it's becoming more of an expectation that they do. That might also become the case with historicals. I certainly hope so, anyway.

    Reply
  141. The mistake that sets my teeth on edge is using I when ME is the correct pronoun. “He sent it to Charles and I” and other such uses are all too frequent in speech and print.
    Many errors come from the auto correct function of some software program. The part that checks spelling on my email wants to make all plurals into possessives.
    When reading Regency set stories, I am often too busy noticing errors of law, titles, and facts to notice grammar.
    I am as guilty as others of being sloppy about the finer points of grammar and never have been certain whether a sentence needs a which or a that.

    Reply
  142. The mistake that sets my teeth on edge is using I when ME is the correct pronoun. “He sent it to Charles and I” and other such uses are all too frequent in speech and print.
    Many errors come from the auto correct function of some software program. The part that checks spelling on my email wants to make all plurals into possessives.
    When reading Regency set stories, I am often too busy noticing errors of law, titles, and facts to notice grammar.
    I am as guilty as others of being sloppy about the finer points of grammar and never have been certain whether a sentence needs a which or a that.

    Reply
  143. The mistake that sets my teeth on edge is using I when ME is the correct pronoun. “He sent it to Charles and I” and other such uses are all too frequent in speech and print.
    Many errors come from the auto correct function of some software program. The part that checks spelling on my email wants to make all plurals into possessives.
    When reading Regency set stories, I am often too busy noticing errors of law, titles, and facts to notice grammar.
    I am as guilty as others of being sloppy about the finer points of grammar and never have been certain whether a sentence needs a which or a that.

    Reply
  144. The mistake that sets my teeth on edge is using I when ME is the correct pronoun. “He sent it to Charles and I” and other such uses are all too frequent in speech and print.
    Many errors come from the auto correct function of some software program. The part that checks spelling on my email wants to make all plurals into possessives.
    When reading Regency set stories, I am often too busy noticing errors of law, titles, and facts to notice grammar.
    I am as guilty as others of being sloppy about the finer points of grammar and never have been certain whether a sentence needs a which or a that.

    Reply
  145. The mistake that sets my teeth on edge is using I when ME is the correct pronoun. “He sent it to Charles and I” and other such uses are all too frequent in speech and print.
    Many errors come from the auto correct function of some software program. The part that checks spelling on my email wants to make all plurals into possessives.
    When reading Regency set stories, I am often too busy noticing errors of law, titles, and facts to notice grammar.
    I am as guilty as others of being sloppy about the finer points of grammar and never have been certain whether a sentence needs a which or a that.

    Reply
  146. I definitely fall into the grammar stickler camp, and I am haunted by the fear of errors in my manuscripts (grammatical or historical). Also, I’m an English teacher who believes in formal usage instruction–all those pesky rules you have been discussing!
    The British English vs. American English discussion is interesting. I try to catch most of the glaring Americanisms–but they can be hard to spot. For instance, I think a British person might say “envisage” instead of “envision.”

    Reply
  147. I definitely fall into the grammar stickler camp, and I am haunted by the fear of errors in my manuscripts (grammatical or historical). Also, I’m an English teacher who believes in formal usage instruction–all those pesky rules you have been discussing!
    The British English vs. American English discussion is interesting. I try to catch most of the glaring Americanisms–but they can be hard to spot. For instance, I think a British person might say “envisage” instead of “envision.”

    Reply
  148. I definitely fall into the grammar stickler camp, and I am haunted by the fear of errors in my manuscripts (grammatical or historical). Also, I’m an English teacher who believes in formal usage instruction–all those pesky rules you have been discussing!
    The British English vs. American English discussion is interesting. I try to catch most of the glaring Americanisms–but they can be hard to spot. For instance, I think a British person might say “envisage” instead of “envision.”

    Reply
  149. I definitely fall into the grammar stickler camp, and I am haunted by the fear of errors in my manuscripts (grammatical or historical). Also, I’m an English teacher who believes in formal usage instruction–all those pesky rules you have been discussing!
    The British English vs. American English discussion is interesting. I try to catch most of the glaring Americanisms–but they can be hard to spot. For instance, I think a British person might say “envisage” instead of “envision.”

    Reply
  150. I definitely fall into the grammar stickler camp, and I am haunted by the fear of errors in my manuscripts (grammatical or historical). Also, I’m an English teacher who believes in formal usage instruction–all those pesky rules you have been discussing!
    The British English vs. American English discussion is interesting. I try to catch most of the glaring Americanisms–but they can be hard to spot. For instance, I think a British person might say “envisage” instead of “envision.”

    Reply
  151. Errors do stand out a lot more if I’m not involved in the story. And self-published books which are okay but not great are the prime offenders of dumping me out the story with a typo or a grammatical error.
    Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. “You. Are. Crazy.” That’s my pet peeve for the day.
    Actually when you consider how many books are published, with how many millions of words, perhaps the more amazing thing is that errors tend to stand out because the vast majority of the writing/grammar is correct.

    Reply
  152. Errors do stand out a lot more if I’m not involved in the story. And self-published books which are okay but not great are the prime offenders of dumping me out the story with a typo or a grammatical error.
    Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. “You. Are. Crazy.” That’s my pet peeve for the day.
    Actually when you consider how many books are published, with how many millions of words, perhaps the more amazing thing is that errors tend to stand out because the vast majority of the writing/grammar is correct.

    Reply
  153. Errors do stand out a lot more if I’m not involved in the story. And self-published books which are okay but not great are the prime offenders of dumping me out the story with a typo or a grammatical error.
    Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. “You. Are. Crazy.” That’s my pet peeve for the day.
    Actually when you consider how many books are published, with how many millions of words, perhaps the more amazing thing is that errors tend to stand out because the vast majority of the writing/grammar is correct.

    Reply
  154. Errors do stand out a lot more if I’m not involved in the story. And self-published books which are okay but not great are the prime offenders of dumping me out the story with a typo or a grammatical error.
    Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. “You. Are. Crazy.” That’s my pet peeve for the day.
    Actually when you consider how many books are published, with how many millions of words, perhaps the more amazing thing is that errors tend to stand out because the vast majority of the writing/grammar is correct.

    Reply
  155. Errors do stand out a lot more if I’m not involved in the story. And self-published books which are okay but not great are the prime offenders of dumping me out the story with a typo or a grammatical error.
    Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. “You. Are. Crazy.” That’s my pet peeve for the day.
    Actually when you consider how many books are published, with how many millions of words, perhaps the more amazing thing is that errors tend to stand out because the vast majority of the writing/grammar is correct.

    Reply
  156. Oh, yes, Nancy, so many people get that one wrong, don't they, thinking it should always be "my husband and I" for instance. And yes, to 'My husband and I went to London,' but not 'She gave a gift to my husband and I — which is the teeth-gritting one. So easy to drop the other person and work out if it should be I or me, but so many fail to do it. That and which are a little more complicated. In my first few Berkley manuscripts I had a number of my 'whiches' removed and replaced with 'that' and found that US usage is a little different from Australian, (Americans also say different than, don't they?) and I think, from English, though I'm not sure. This site is helpful: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0
    Thanks for sharing your bugbears.

    Reply
  157. Oh, yes, Nancy, so many people get that one wrong, don't they, thinking it should always be "my husband and I" for instance. And yes, to 'My husband and I went to London,' but not 'She gave a gift to my husband and I — which is the teeth-gritting one. So easy to drop the other person and work out if it should be I or me, but so many fail to do it. That and which are a little more complicated. In my first few Berkley manuscripts I had a number of my 'whiches' removed and replaced with 'that' and found that US usage is a little different from Australian, (Americans also say different than, don't they?) and I think, from English, though I'm not sure. This site is helpful: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0
    Thanks for sharing your bugbears.

    Reply
  158. Oh, yes, Nancy, so many people get that one wrong, don't they, thinking it should always be "my husband and I" for instance. And yes, to 'My husband and I went to London,' but not 'She gave a gift to my husband and I — which is the teeth-gritting one. So easy to drop the other person and work out if it should be I or me, but so many fail to do it. That and which are a little more complicated. In my first few Berkley manuscripts I had a number of my 'whiches' removed and replaced with 'that' and found that US usage is a little different from Australian, (Americans also say different than, don't they?) and I think, from English, though I'm not sure. This site is helpful: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0
    Thanks for sharing your bugbears.

    Reply
  159. Oh, yes, Nancy, so many people get that one wrong, don't they, thinking it should always be "my husband and I" for instance. And yes, to 'My husband and I went to London,' but not 'She gave a gift to my husband and I — which is the teeth-gritting one. So easy to drop the other person and work out if it should be I or me, but so many fail to do it. That and which are a little more complicated. In my first few Berkley manuscripts I had a number of my 'whiches' removed and replaced with 'that' and found that US usage is a little different from Australian, (Americans also say different than, don't they?) and I think, from English, though I'm not sure. This site is helpful: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0
    Thanks for sharing your bugbears.

    Reply
  160. Oh, yes, Nancy, so many people get that one wrong, don't they, thinking it should always be "my husband and I" for instance. And yes, to 'My husband and I went to London,' but not 'She gave a gift to my husband and I — which is the teeth-gritting one. So easy to drop the other person and work out if it should be I or me, but so many fail to do it. That and which are a little more complicated. In my first few Berkley manuscripts I had a number of my 'whiches' removed and replaced with 'that' and found that US usage is a little different from Australian, (Americans also say different than, don't they?) and I think, from English, though I'm not sure. This site is helpful: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/which-versus-that-0
    Thanks for sharing your bugbears.

    Reply
  161. Yes, I think it behoves (or behooves if you're American) all of us to be a little more sensitive to the slightly differing uses and rules of English grammar in the English-speaking world. I think it's a shame grammar instruction was abandoned in so many places. And you're right about "glaring Americanisms" (or other isms) being hard to spot — I made a stupid mistake in one of my books — not to do with grammar, but a matter of research— and in the many apology letters I wrote to the readers who complained, I explained that I'd never looked it up, because you don't tend to research the 'facts' you think you know. And it's the same with grammar or Americanisms or Australianisms or whatever — if you don't notice them, you won't correct them.

    Reply
  162. Yes, I think it behoves (or behooves if you're American) all of us to be a little more sensitive to the slightly differing uses and rules of English grammar in the English-speaking world. I think it's a shame grammar instruction was abandoned in so many places. And you're right about "glaring Americanisms" (or other isms) being hard to spot — I made a stupid mistake in one of my books — not to do with grammar, but a matter of research— and in the many apology letters I wrote to the readers who complained, I explained that I'd never looked it up, because you don't tend to research the 'facts' you think you know. And it's the same with grammar or Americanisms or Australianisms or whatever — if you don't notice them, you won't correct them.

    Reply
  163. Yes, I think it behoves (or behooves if you're American) all of us to be a little more sensitive to the slightly differing uses and rules of English grammar in the English-speaking world. I think it's a shame grammar instruction was abandoned in so many places. And you're right about "glaring Americanisms" (or other isms) being hard to spot — I made a stupid mistake in one of my books — not to do with grammar, but a matter of research— and in the many apology letters I wrote to the readers who complained, I explained that I'd never looked it up, because you don't tend to research the 'facts' you think you know. And it's the same with grammar or Americanisms or Australianisms or whatever — if you don't notice them, you won't correct them.

    Reply
  164. Yes, I think it behoves (or behooves if you're American) all of us to be a little more sensitive to the slightly differing uses and rules of English grammar in the English-speaking world. I think it's a shame grammar instruction was abandoned in so many places. And you're right about "glaring Americanisms" (or other isms) being hard to spot — I made a stupid mistake in one of my books — not to do with grammar, but a matter of research— and in the many apology letters I wrote to the readers who complained, I explained that I'd never looked it up, because you don't tend to research the 'facts' you think you know. And it's the same with grammar or Americanisms or Australianisms or whatever — if you don't notice them, you won't correct them.

    Reply
  165. Yes, I think it behoves (or behooves if you're American) all of us to be a little more sensitive to the slightly differing uses and rules of English grammar in the English-speaking world. I think it's a shame grammar instruction was abandoned in so many places. And you're right about "glaring Americanisms" (or other isms) being hard to spot — I made a stupid mistake in one of my books — not to do with grammar, but a matter of research— and in the many apology letters I wrote to the readers who complained, I explained that I'd never looked it up, because you don't tend to research the 'facts' you think you know. And it's the same with grammar or Americanisms or Australianisms or whatever — if you don't notice them, you won't correct them.

    Reply
  166. "Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. "You. Are. Crazy." That's my pet peeve for the day. "
    Oh dear, Shannon I might be guilty of that on occasion. I'm not sure. It's a tricky thing. Writers are trying to emphasise the way that's said, and "You are crazy," would be spoken quite differently from "You. Are. Crazy." It adds a different emphasis, so I can see why people use it. I can also see that if it's overused, it might be very annoying. Thanks for sharing your pet peeve with us.

    Reply
  167. "Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. "You. Are. Crazy." That's my pet peeve for the day. "
    Oh dear, Shannon I might be guilty of that on occasion. I'm not sure. It's a tricky thing. Writers are trying to emphasise the way that's said, and "You are crazy," would be spoken quite differently from "You. Are. Crazy." It adds a different emphasis, so I can see why people use it. I can also see that if it's overused, it might be very annoying. Thanks for sharing your pet peeve with us.

    Reply
  168. "Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. "You. Are. Crazy." That's my pet peeve for the day. "
    Oh dear, Shannon I might be guilty of that on occasion. I'm not sure. It's a tricky thing. Writers are trying to emphasise the way that's said, and "You are crazy," would be spoken quite differently from "You. Are. Crazy." It adds a different emphasis, so I can see why people use it. I can also see that if it's overused, it might be very annoying. Thanks for sharing your pet peeve with us.

    Reply
  169. "Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. "You. Are. Crazy." That's my pet peeve for the day. "
    Oh dear, Shannon I might be guilty of that on occasion. I'm not sure. It's a tricky thing. Writers are trying to emphasise the way that's said, and "You are crazy," would be spoken quite differently from "You. Are. Crazy." It adds a different emphasis, so I can see why people use it. I can also see that if it's overused, it might be very annoying. Thanks for sharing your pet peeve with us.

    Reply
  170. "Some authors have developed a way to emphasize a sentence that drives me crazy. "You. Are. Crazy." That's my pet peeve for the day. "
    Oh dear, Shannon I might be guilty of that on occasion. I'm not sure. It's a tricky thing. Writers are trying to emphasise the way that's said, and "You are crazy," would be spoken quite differently from "You. Are. Crazy." It adds a different emphasis, so I can see why people use it. I can also see that if it's overused, it might be very annoying. Thanks for sharing your pet peeve with us.

    Reply
  171. Somebody sent me this in an email and I thought it was worth sharing:
    “Btw, fab article about grammar in response to the reader who wrote in. (Lovely grammar there, heheh). I know there are some mistakes that wrench one violently out of a book, but sometimes readers can be waaaaaay too pedantic. As if they’re searching madly for anything to pounce on. I mean for anything upon which to pounce.

    Reply
  172. Somebody sent me this in an email and I thought it was worth sharing:
    “Btw, fab article about grammar in response to the reader who wrote in. (Lovely grammar there, heheh). I know there are some mistakes that wrench one violently out of a book, but sometimes readers can be waaaaaay too pedantic. As if they’re searching madly for anything to pounce on. I mean for anything upon which to pounce.

    Reply
  173. Somebody sent me this in an email and I thought it was worth sharing:
    “Btw, fab article about grammar in response to the reader who wrote in. (Lovely grammar there, heheh). I know there are some mistakes that wrench one violently out of a book, but sometimes readers can be waaaaaay too pedantic. As if they’re searching madly for anything to pounce on. I mean for anything upon which to pounce.

    Reply
  174. Somebody sent me this in an email and I thought it was worth sharing:
    “Btw, fab article about grammar in response to the reader who wrote in. (Lovely grammar there, heheh). I know there are some mistakes that wrench one violently out of a book, but sometimes readers can be waaaaaay too pedantic. As if they’re searching madly for anything to pounce on. I mean for anything upon which to pounce.

    Reply
  175. Somebody sent me this in an email and I thought it was worth sharing:
    “Btw, fab article about grammar in response to the reader who wrote in. (Lovely grammar there, heheh). I know there are some mistakes that wrench one violently out of a book, but sometimes readers can be waaaaaay too pedantic. As if they’re searching madly for anything to pounce on. I mean for anything upon which to pounce.

    Reply
  176. The DRAMA of grammar indeed, Mary Jo. And yes, if gets some people all fired up and others yawning. Vive le differance. (probably badly spelled French, but the intention is good)

    Reply
  177. The DRAMA of grammar indeed, Mary Jo. And yes, if gets some people all fired up and others yawning. Vive le differance. (probably badly spelled French, but the intention is good)

    Reply
  178. The DRAMA of grammar indeed, Mary Jo. And yes, if gets some people all fired up and others yawning. Vive le differance. (probably badly spelled French, but the intention is good)

    Reply
  179. The DRAMA of grammar indeed, Mary Jo. And yes, if gets some people all fired up and others yawning. Vive le differance. (probably badly spelled French, but the intention is good)

    Reply
  180. The DRAMA of grammar indeed, Mary Jo. And yes, if gets some people all fired up and others yawning. Vive le differance. (probably badly spelled French, but the intention is good)

    Reply
  181. Wonderful discussion. I discovered early on in creative writing classes (from the feedback of bleeding red ink throughout my M/S), that I did not learn proper grammar usage as a child, and no amount of education could pound it into me.
    In the ’50s we spent years diagramming sentences on chalk boards during English class and I devoured every book in our lending library. I was exposed to correct sentence structure and grammar. So why didn’t that exposure drill proper grammar into my bones and head? Because nobody talked that way in the prairie state where I grew up, not even those teaching the English classes.
    Grammatical immersion wins every time, at least in my opinion. The Norse influence on sentence structure alone confuses proper grammar right out of me, not to mention run-on sentences and stories that meander around cornfields and shelter-belts before coming to the point.
    Do I have a point? Just that I believe family, community and regional influences are overwhelming to any book learning when English is not the first language in a geographical area. I’m talking about grandparents and great-grandparents influence on future generations speaking style.
    As if I had problems before? I retired to a small town in Hawaii where proper English is a second language. Pidgin is hilarious to hear, fun to learn and use, cuts to the point and crosses all language barriers. You loosen up or leave right quick, yeah?
    I vote for celebration of regional styles in books. Even at the expense of proper grammar. Controversial? You betcha!

    Reply
  182. Wonderful discussion. I discovered early on in creative writing classes (from the feedback of bleeding red ink throughout my M/S), that I did not learn proper grammar usage as a child, and no amount of education could pound it into me.
    In the ’50s we spent years diagramming sentences on chalk boards during English class and I devoured every book in our lending library. I was exposed to correct sentence structure and grammar. So why didn’t that exposure drill proper grammar into my bones and head? Because nobody talked that way in the prairie state where I grew up, not even those teaching the English classes.
    Grammatical immersion wins every time, at least in my opinion. The Norse influence on sentence structure alone confuses proper grammar right out of me, not to mention run-on sentences and stories that meander around cornfields and shelter-belts before coming to the point.
    Do I have a point? Just that I believe family, community and regional influences are overwhelming to any book learning when English is not the first language in a geographical area. I’m talking about grandparents and great-grandparents influence on future generations speaking style.
    As if I had problems before? I retired to a small town in Hawaii where proper English is a second language. Pidgin is hilarious to hear, fun to learn and use, cuts to the point and crosses all language barriers. You loosen up or leave right quick, yeah?
    I vote for celebration of regional styles in books. Even at the expense of proper grammar. Controversial? You betcha!

    Reply
  183. Wonderful discussion. I discovered early on in creative writing classes (from the feedback of bleeding red ink throughout my M/S), that I did not learn proper grammar usage as a child, and no amount of education could pound it into me.
    In the ’50s we spent years diagramming sentences on chalk boards during English class and I devoured every book in our lending library. I was exposed to correct sentence structure and grammar. So why didn’t that exposure drill proper grammar into my bones and head? Because nobody talked that way in the prairie state where I grew up, not even those teaching the English classes.
    Grammatical immersion wins every time, at least in my opinion. The Norse influence on sentence structure alone confuses proper grammar right out of me, not to mention run-on sentences and stories that meander around cornfields and shelter-belts before coming to the point.
    Do I have a point? Just that I believe family, community and regional influences are overwhelming to any book learning when English is not the first language in a geographical area. I’m talking about grandparents and great-grandparents influence on future generations speaking style.
    As if I had problems before? I retired to a small town in Hawaii where proper English is a second language. Pidgin is hilarious to hear, fun to learn and use, cuts to the point and crosses all language barriers. You loosen up or leave right quick, yeah?
    I vote for celebration of regional styles in books. Even at the expense of proper grammar. Controversial? You betcha!

    Reply
  184. Wonderful discussion. I discovered early on in creative writing classes (from the feedback of bleeding red ink throughout my M/S), that I did not learn proper grammar usage as a child, and no amount of education could pound it into me.
    In the ’50s we spent years diagramming sentences on chalk boards during English class and I devoured every book in our lending library. I was exposed to correct sentence structure and grammar. So why didn’t that exposure drill proper grammar into my bones and head? Because nobody talked that way in the prairie state where I grew up, not even those teaching the English classes.
    Grammatical immersion wins every time, at least in my opinion. The Norse influence on sentence structure alone confuses proper grammar right out of me, not to mention run-on sentences and stories that meander around cornfields and shelter-belts before coming to the point.
    Do I have a point? Just that I believe family, community and regional influences are overwhelming to any book learning when English is not the first language in a geographical area. I’m talking about grandparents and great-grandparents influence on future generations speaking style.
    As if I had problems before? I retired to a small town in Hawaii where proper English is a second language. Pidgin is hilarious to hear, fun to learn and use, cuts to the point and crosses all language barriers. You loosen up or leave right quick, yeah?
    I vote for celebration of regional styles in books. Even at the expense of proper grammar. Controversial? You betcha!

    Reply
  185. Wonderful discussion. I discovered early on in creative writing classes (from the feedback of bleeding red ink throughout my M/S), that I did not learn proper grammar usage as a child, and no amount of education could pound it into me.
    In the ’50s we spent years diagramming sentences on chalk boards during English class and I devoured every book in our lending library. I was exposed to correct sentence structure and grammar. So why didn’t that exposure drill proper grammar into my bones and head? Because nobody talked that way in the prairie state where I grew up, not even those teaching the English classes.
    Grammatical immersion wins every time, at least in my opinion. The Norse influence on sentence structure alone confuses proper grammar right out of me, not to mention run-on sentences and stories that meander around cornfields and shelter-belts before coming to the point.
    Do I have a point? Just that I believe family, community and regional influences are overwhelming to any book learning when English is not the first language in a geographical area. I’m talking about grandparents and great-grandparents influence on future generations speaking style.
    As if I had problems before? I retired to a small town in Hawaii where proper English is a second language. Pidgin is hilarious to hear, fun to learn and use, cuts to the point and crosses all language barriers. You loosen up or leave right quick, yeah?
    I vote for celebration of regional styles in books. Even at the expense of proper grammar. Controversial? You betcha!

    Reply
  186. Wonderful discussion and I’m so pleased that other people cannot tolerate ‘gotten’ in a supposedly English setting: it’s been a particular bugbear of mine for years. There are two other oddities I’ve noticed in American English. One is the tendency to use ‘bring’ where English & Australians would use ‘take’: i.e. “I’ll bring you to see him…”. This is surprisingly common and now I’ve pointed it out, you’ll see it everywhere! The other oddity is the verb ‘to write’ – Americans say “I will write your aunt” where UK/Aus would say “I will write to your aunt”. Still, if a story is gripping, these are minor matters.

    Reply
  187. Wonderful discussion and I’m so pleased that other people cannot tolerate ‘gotten’ in a supposedly English setting: it’s been a particular bugbear of mine for years. There are two other oddities I’ve noticed in American English. One is the tendency to use ‘bring’ where English & Australians would use ‘take’: i.e. “I’ll bring you to see him…”. This is surprisingly common and now I’ve pointed it out, you’ll see it everywhere! The other oddity is the verb ‘to write’ – Americans say “I will write your aunt” where UK/Aus would say “I will write to your aunt”. Still, if a story is gripping, these are minor matters.

    Reply
  188. Wonderful discussion and I’m so pleased that other people cannot tolerate ‘gotten’ in a supposedly English setting: it’s been a particular bugbear of mine for years. There are two other oddities I’ve noticed in American English. One is the tendency to use ‘bring’ where English & Australians would use ‘take’: i.e. “I’ll bring you to see him…”. This is surprisingly common and now I’ve pointed it out, you’ll see it everywhere! The other oddity is the verb ‘to write’ – Americans say “I will write your aunt” where UK/Aus would say “I will write to your aunt”. Still, if a story is gripping, these are minor matters.

    Reply
  189. Wonderful discussion and I’m so pleased that other people cannot tolerate ‘gotten’ in a supposedly English setting: it’s been a particular bugbear of mine for years. There are two other oddities I’ve noticed in American English. One is the tendency to use ‘bring’ where English & Australians would use ‘take’: i.e. “I’ll bring you to see him…”. This is surprisingly common and now I’ve pointed it out, you’ll see it everywhere! The other oddity is the verb ‘to write’ – Americans say “I will write your aunt” where UK/Aus would say “I will write to your aunt”. Still, if a story is gripping, these are minor matters.

    Reply
  190. Wonderful discussion and I’m so pleased that other people cannot tolerate ‘gotten’ in a supposedly English setting: it’s been a particular bugbear of mine for years. There are two other oddities I’ve noticed in American English. One is the tendency to use ‘bring’ where English & Australians would use ‘take’: i.e. “I’ll bring you to see him…”. This is surprisingly common and now I’ve pointed it out, you’ll see it everywhere! The other oddity is the verb ‘to write’ – Americans say “I will write your aunt” where UK/Aus would say “I will write to your aunt”. Still, if a story is gripping, these are minor matters.

    Reply
  191. I so often find myself diverted to “Hmm, I would have said it …” that it doesn’t even interrupt my reading flow any more! I gave up being the grammar police several years ago, realizing that language is really what “we” decide it is. Dialogue tends to be messy in real life, why not in novels?
    That said, I don’t hold “historical romances set in the Regency” to the same standards as traditional Regencies. For the latter, the more olde British-sounding the better. But even for the former, I object to a 19th-century heroine spitting out “God damn it!” Even “Oh, Zeus” is better than that. (I’ve seen both.)
    And* any author of historicals gets extra points from me for using “Hullo” or “Hallo,” instead of the later “Hello.” It’s those bits of authenticity (see earlier discussion of “got” vs. “gotten”) that get us into the stories.
    [* Deliberate! I like And … or But …, but not And, … or But, …]
    Just don’t get me started on OCR errors in so many scanned reissues-to-ebook though. Grrrr! That, I find intolerable. If Amazon allowed open editing, as Wikipedia does, my hand would be the first to go up.

    Reply
  192. I so often find myself diverted to “Hmm, I would have said it …” that it doesn’t even interrupt my reading flow any more! I gave up being the grammar police several years ago, realizing that language is really what “we” decide it is. Dialogue tends to be messy in real life, why not in novels?
    That said, I don’t hold “historical romances set in the Regency” to the same standards as traditional Regencies. For the latter, the more olde British-sounding the better. But even for the former, I object to a 19th-century heroine spitting out “God damn it!” Even “Oh, Zeus” is better than that. (I’ve seen both.)
    And* any author of historicals gets extra points from me for using “Hullo” or “Hallo,” instead of the later “Hello.” It’s those bits of authenticity (see earlier discussion of “got” vs. “gotten”) that get us into the stories.
    [* Deliberate! I like And … or But …, but not And, … or But, …]
    Just don’t get me started on OCR errors in so many scanned reissues-to-ebook though. Grrrr! That, I find intolerable. If Amazon allowed open editing, as Wikipedia does, my hand would be the first to go up.

    Reply
  193. I so often find myself diverted to “Hmm, I would have said it …” that it doesn’t even interrupt my reading flow any more! I gave up being the grammar police several years ago, realizing that language is really what “we” decide it is. Dialogue tends to be messy in real life, why not in novels?
    That said, I don’t hold “historical romances set in the Regency” to the same standards as traditional Regencies. For the latter, the more olde British-sounding the better. But even for the former, I object to a 19th-century heroine spitting out “God damn it!” Even “Oh, Zeus” is better than that. (I’ve seen both.)
    And* any author of historicals gets extra points from me for using “Hullo” or “Hallo,” instead of the later “Hello.” It’s those bits of authenticity (see earlier discussion of “got” vs. “gotten”) that get us into the stories.
    [* Deliberate! I like And … or But …, but not And, … or But, …]
    Just don’t get me started on OCR errors in so many scanned reissues-to-ebook though. Grrrr! That, I find intolerable. If Amazon allowed open editing, as Wikipedia does, my hand would be the first to go up.

    Reply
  194. I so often find myself diverted to “Hmm, I would have said it …” that it doesn’t even interrupt my reading flow any more! I gave up being the grammar police several years ago, realizing that language is really what “we” decide it is. Dialogue tends to be messy in real life, why not in novels?
    That said, I don’t hold “historical romances set in the Regency” to the same standards as traditional Regencies. For the latter, the more olde British-sounding the better. But even for the former, I object to a 19th-century heroine spitting out “God damn it!” Even “Oh, Zeus” is better than that. (I’ve seen both.)
    And* any author of historicals gets extra points from me for using “Hullo” or “Hallo,” instead of the later “Hello.” It’s those bits of authenticity (see earlier discussion of “got” vs. “gotten”) that get us into the stories.
    [* Deliberate! I like And … or But …, but not And, … or But, …]
    Just don’t get me started on OCR errors in so many scanned reissues-to-ebook though. Grrrr! That, I find intolerable. If Amazon allowed open editing, as Wikipedia does, my hand would be the first to go up.

    Reply
  195. I so often find myself diverted to “Hmm, I would have said it …” that it doesn’t even interrupt my reading flow any more! I gave up being the grammar police several years ago, realizing that language is really what “we” decide it is. Dialogue tends to be messy in real life, why not in novels?
    That said, I don’t hold “historical romances set in the Regency” to the same standards as traditional Regencies. For the latter, the more olde British-sounding the better. But even for the former, I object to a 19th-century heroine spitting out “God damn it!” Even “Oh, Zeus” is better than that. (I’ve seen both.)
    And* any author of historicals gets extra points from me for using “Hullo” or “Hallo,” instead of the later “Hello.” It’s those bits of authenticity (see earlier discussion of “got” vs. “gotten”) that get us into the stories.
    [* Deliberate! I like And … or But …, but not And, … or But, …]
    Just don’t get me started on OCR errors in so many scanned reissues-to-ebook though. Grrrr! That, I find intolerable. If Amazon allowed open editing, as Wikipedia does, my hand would be the first to go up.

    Reply
  196. MaeLou — fabulous comment. I love regional variations of English and different accents and evocative local expressions. English is a gloriously rich stew, full of borrowed and adopted and often twisted words and phrases from other languages in a process that’s been going on for centuries, and won’t stop because of a grammar book.
    And having taught English as a second language in high schools, I know from experience that kids grow up learning several kinds of English — school English and home English. It was the same with kids whose parents spoke other languages at home — the Italian background kids (for instance) often spoke a dialect at home that was frowned on in class, so they had two kinds of English and two kinds of Italian to master. But I think that’s all to the good.
    But mostly the variations are in spoken language. With written language, except in dialogue, or written in the point-of-view of a character who thinks in the local dialect, English is more standard, and the rules of grammar become important. Otherwise, outside that small local area, the communication becomes more difficult. More standardized forms of English were developed in the first place when Henry the 8th (I think) decided that government communications would be written in English instead of Latin — and when confusion arose from various spellings and expressions, standardization and rules were developed to aid efficient communication.
    It’s a fascinating subject.

    Reply
  197. MaeLou — fabulous comment. I love regional variations of English and different accents and evocative local expressions. English is a gloriously rich stew, full of borrowed and adopted and often twisted words and phrases from other languages in a process that’s been going on for centuries, and won’t stop because of a grammar book.
    And having taught English as a second language in high schools, I know from experience that kids grow up learning several kinds of English — school English and home English. It was the same with kids whose parents spoke other languages at home — the Italian background kids (for instance) often spoke a dialect at home that was frowned on in class, so they had two kinds of English and two kinds of Italian to master. But I think that’s all to the good.
    But mostly the variations are in spoken language. With written language, except in dialogue, or written in the point-of-view of a character who thinks in the local dialect, English is more standard, and the rules of grammar become important. Otherwise, outside that small local area, the communication becomes more difficult. More standardized forms of English were developed in the first place when Henry the 8th (I think) decided that government communications would be written in English instead of Latin — and when confusion arose from various spellings and expressions, standardization and rules were developed to aid efficient communication.
    It’s a fascinating subject.

    Reply
  198. MaeLou — fabulous comment. I love regional variations of English and different accents and evocative local expressions. English is a gloriously rich stew, full of borrowed and adopted and often twisted words and phrases from other languages in a process that’s been going on for centuries, and won’t stop because of a grammar book.
    And having taught English as a second language in high schools, I know from experience that kids grow up learning several kinds of English — school English and home English. It was the same with kids whose parents spoke other languages at home — the Italian background kids (for instance) often spoke a dialect at home that was frowned on in class, so they had two kinds of English and two kinds of Italian to master. But I think that’s all to the good.
    But mostly the variations are in spoken language. With written language, except in dialogue, or written in the point-of-view of a character who thinks in the local dialect, English is more standard, and the rules of grammar become important. Otherwise, outside that small local area, the communication becomes more difficult. More standardized forms of English were developed in the first place when Henry the 8th (I think) decided that government communications would be written in English instead of Latin — and when confusion arose from various spellings and expressions, standardization and rules were developed to aid efficient communication.
    It’s a fascinating subject.

    Reply
  199. MaeLou — fabulous comment. I love regional variations of English and different accents and evocative local expressions. English is a gloriously rich stew, full of borrowed and adopted and often twisted words and phrases from other languages in a process that’s been going on for centuries, and won’t stop because of a grammar book.
    And having taught English as a second language in high schools, I know from experience that kids grow up learning several kinds of English — school English and home English. It was the same with kids whose parents spoke other languages at home — the Italian background kids (for instance) often spoke a dialect at home that was frowned on in class, so they had two kinds of English and two kinds of Italian to master. But I think that’s all to the good.
    But mostly the variations are in spoken language. With written language, except in dialogue, or written in the point-of-view of a character who thinks in the local dialect, English is more standard, and the rules of grammar become important. Otherwise, outside that small local area, the communication becomes more difficult. More standardized forms of English were developed in the first place when Henry the 8th (I think) decided that government communications would be written in English instead of Latin — and when confusion arose from various spellings and expressions, standardization and rules were developed to aid efficient communication.
    It’s a fascinating subject.

    Reply
  200. MaeLou — fabulous comment. I love regional variations of English and different accents and evocative local expressions. English is a gloriously rich stew, full of borrowed and adopted and often twisted words and phrases from other languages in a process that’s been going on for centuries, and won’t stop because of a grammar book.
    And having taught English as a second language in high schools, I know from experience that kids grow up learning several kinds of English — school English and home English. It was the same with kids whose parents spoke other languages at home — the Italian background kids (for instance) often spoke a dialect at home that was frowned on in class, so they had two kinds of English and two kinds of Italian to master. But I think that’s all to the good.
    But mostly the variations are in spoken language. With written language, except in dialogue, or written in the point-of-view of a character who thinks in the local dialect, English is more standard, and the rules of grammar become important. Otherwise, outside that small local area, the communication becomes more difficult. More standardized forms of English were developed in the first place when Henry the 8th (I think) decided that government communications would be written in English instead of Latin — and when confusion arose from various spellings and expressions, standardization and rules were developed to aid efficient communication.
    It’s a fascinating subject.

    Reply
  201. Yes, Maureen, to one set of people “I’ll write your aunt” means I’ll write a letter , to another it means you’ll write the words ‘your aunt.’
    I don’t think these variations will ever disappear from books, because for each writer, either gotten is correct grammar, or it’s incorrect grammar — we both think we’re the correct ones, and don’t want to change. Nobody, no matter what side of the Atlantic or Pacific they live, wants to write something they feel very strongly is wrong.
    I think the solution is to understand the variations and be tolerant.

    Reply
  202. Yes, Maureen, to one set of people “I’ll write your aunt” means I’ll write a letter , to another it means you’ll write the words ‘your aunt.’
    I don’t think these variations will ever disappear from books, because for each writer, either gotten is correct grammar, or it’s incorrect grammar — we both think we’re the correct ones, and don’t want to change. Nobody, no matter what side of the Atlantic or Pacific they live, wants to write something they feel very strongly is wrong.
    I think the solution is to understand the variations and be tolerant.

    Reply
  203. Yes, Maureen, to one set of people “I’ll write your aunt” means I’ll write a letter , to another it means you’ll write the words ‘your aunt.’
    I don’t think these variations will ever disappear from books, because for each writer, either gotten is correct grammar, or it’s incorrect grammar — we both think we’re the correct ones, and don’t want to change. Nobody, no matter what side of the Atlantic or Pacific they live, wants to write something they feel very strongly is wrong.
    I think the solution is to understand the variations and be tolerant.

    Reply
  204. Yes, Maureen, to one set of people “I’ll write your aunt” means I’ll write a letter , to another it means you’ll write the words ‘your aunt.’
    I don’t think these variations will ever disappear from books, because for each writer, either gotten is correct grammar, or it’s incorrect grammar — we both think we’re the correct ones, and don’t want to change. Nobody, no matter what side of the Atlantic or Pacific they live, wants to write something they feel very strongly is wrong.
    I think the solution is to understand the variations and be tolerant.

    Reply
  205. Yes, Maureen, to one set of people “I’ll write your aunt” means I’ll write a letter , to another it means you’ll write the words ‘your aunt.’
    I don’t think these variations will ever disappear from books, because for each writer, either gotten is correct grammar, or it’s incorrect grammar — we both think we’re the correct ones, and don’t want to change. Nobody, no matter what side of the Atlantic or Pacific they live, wants to write something they feel very strongly is wrong.
    I think the solution is to understand the variations and be tolerant.

    Reply
  206. “language is really what “we” decide it is.”
    That’s so true, Mary.
    I also think we’ll tolerate a lot more incorrect grammar in dialogue. My character Daisy was a foundling who grew up rough, in central London and her dialogue reflects that — of course. It wouldn’t sound right if she spoke like a grammar book.
    On ‘hello’, I try not to use it at all. It’s my understanding that hulooo was more a hunting field call, or an expression of surprise, rather than a greeting, and ‘hello’ (or hullo or hallo) came in after the Regency period and became more standard with the telephone. I’m not sure, but to err on the right side I usually have my characters use a different greeting, something like how do you do, or something like that.

    Reply
  207. “language is really what “we” decide it is.”
    That’s so true, Mary.
    I also think we’ll tolerate a lot more incorrect grammar in dialogue. My character Daisy was a foundling who grew up rough, in central London and her dialogue reflects that — of course. It wouldn’t sound right if she spoke like a grammar book.
    On ‘hello’, I try not to use it at all. It’s my understanding that hulooo was more a hunting field call, or an expression of surprise, rather than a greeting, and ‘hello’ (or hullo or hallo) came in after the Regency period and became more standard with the telephone. I’m not sure, but to err on the right side I usually have my characters use a different greeting, something like how do you do, or something like that.

    Reply
  208. “language is really what “we” decide it is.”
    That’s so true, Mary.
    I also think we’ll tolerate a lot more incorrect grammar in dialogue. My character Daisy was a foundling who grew up rough, in central London and her dialogue reflects that — of course. It wouldn’t sound right if she spoke like a grammar book.
    On ‘hello’, I try not to use it at all. It’s my understanding that hulooo was more a hunting field call, or an expression of surprise, rather than a greeting, and ‘hello’ (or hullo or hallo) came in after the Regency period and became more standard with the telephone. I’m not sure, but to err on the right side I usually have my characters use a different greeting, something like how do you do, or something like that.

    Reply
  209. “language is really what “we” decide it is.”
    That’s so true, Mary.
    I also think we’ll tolerate a lot more incorrect grammar in dialogue. My character Daisy was a foundling who grew up rough, in central London and her dialogue reflects that — of course. It wouldn’t sound right if she spoke like a grammar book.
    On ‘hello’, I try not to use it at all. It’s my understanding that hulooo was more a hunting field call, or an expression of surprise, rather than a greeting, and ‘hello’ (or hullo or hallo) came in after the Regency period and became more standard with the telephone. I’m not sure, but to err on the right side I usually have my characters use a different greeting, something like how do you do, or something like that.

    Reply
  210. “language is really what “we” decide it is.”
    That’s so true, Mary.
    I also think we’ll tolerate a lot more incorrect grammar in dialogue. My character Daisy was a foundling who grew up rough, in central London and her dialogue reflects that — of course. It wouldn’t sound right if she spoke like a grammar book.
    On ‘hello’, I try not to use it at all. It’s my understanding that hulooo was more a hunting field call, or an expression of surprise, rather than a greeting, and ‘hello’ (or hullo or hallo) came in after the Regency period and became more standard with the telephone. I’m not sure, but to err on the right side I usually have my characters use a different greeting, something like how do you do, or something like that.

    Reply

Leave a Comment