Wednesday, 19 February 2014

I am a bit concerned about the level of English used by authors. Their grammar and punctuation is not what it should be. Why do editors, proof readers and publishers not pick them up? Also, why do they not take notice of when Word tells them that they may have made an error? I am currently reading a book which has a very good story line, but I am constantly irritated by the poor punctuation and grammar used by the author. It is spoiling the whole book for me!

I can accept Americanisms from American writers. After all, it is their language and is different from British English as we all know, but there is not excuse for many of the errors. For example, the continual beginning of sentences with a conjunction. The definition of a conjunction is 'a word that joins two sentences together', so it cannot be used to begin a sentence, and least of all a paragraph! There are many ways of getting round this if the author thinks for a few seconds. 'But he went out.' can be rendered as 'He went out, however.'

Another problem is the use of 'which'. Word, and other grammar sources will tell you to put a comma, or use 'that', so why is it so difficult to do so? If the author does not think that a comma is the correct thing to use, then use 'that' instead of 'which'. E.g.  The box, which was on the table, contained her jewellery or The box that was  on the table contained her jewellery.

Conditionals, (if, wishes, etc) should be followed by 'were' and not 'was'. E.g. If I were you I wouldn't do that. or I wish he were here.

A final gripe is in science fiction and fantasy. Authors will insist on referring to the ground as the earth when their plot is set on a different planet. Earth is the name of our planet and so we use it when referring to the planet's ground. It is not as though there are no other words to use. I have already used 'ground', and there is 'soil' too. Please, authors, think about your words. When, on a foreign planet, the author writes about putting something in the earth I find it grates.

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