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Wrong verbs
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Sally in Scotland



Joined: 24 Mar 2007
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: Wrong verbs Reply with quote

I recently finished reading all six of PB Ryan's Nell Sweeny books. I loved all of them and how forensics helped solve the cases. I thought Will was a wonderful flawed hero and Nell a great heroine overcoming her adversity.

I am not an expert on the English language but I was really annoyed at the wrong usage of verbs such as bring/take and lay/lie. I don't think there was a single instance of the correct verb being used. It really did spoil my total enjoyment as I wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall. This is also occuring in British publications.

I know this has been discussed many times on these boards but I am finding many books with the same problem. Have publishers totally done away with proof readers or is it a case that the authors and proof readers don't know the correct usage? I am now reading more digital books than paperbacks and find many weird errors in digital books.
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LeeB.



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1283
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes I do think the errors make it through the final copy because people don't know the correct usage of certain words. And don't get me started on spelling!!!!

I'd be more than happy to volunteer to proofread authors' books before publication. But when I nicely suggested it to a few authors in the past, I never received a response.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1239

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Wrong verbs Reply with quote

Sally, since you know the difference between "bring/take and lay/lie," you are an English expert in my book. Smile

Editing has been eroding for some time now. First publishers cut back on full-time, in-house copy editors and proofreaders to switch to part-time free-lancers, and more recently I've read of authors hiring their own copy editors because of even further cutbacks at publishers. With self publishing coming to the fore, it now will depend on the individual author I guess.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1044
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just came across "smart as a tack." Made me laugh.
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Diana
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Lillian Sulivan



Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject: Re: Wrong verbs Reply with quote

Editing in the modern era is an allusion upon which I have given. I have seen less and less books edited thoroughly. Publishers have decided apparently the public is disinterested in correct language utilization. Even tortuous English passages will spell check correct.

Eliza wrote:
Editing has been eroding for some time now. First publishers cut back on full-time, in-house copy editors and proofreaders to switch to part-time free-lancers, and more recently I've read of authors hiring their own copy editors because of even further cutbacks at publishers. With self publishing coming to the fore, it now will depend on the individual author I guess.


Paying for professional editing, proofreading and copy editing out of pocket is relatively expensive in comparison to realistic expected earnings for a self-published novel. I've wondered if the market would support $4.99 self-published ebooks advertised as "Professionally edited by XYZ Inc." versus $2.99 self-published ebooks that had only the author's best effort.

Best,
Lilly
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"Or perchance when the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together with our arms around each other,
And shall you be my new romance?"


Last edited by Lillian Sulivan on Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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CharlotteJ



Joined: 30 Jul 2010
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like ever since ebooks took off, the overall quality of print books has gone down. My copy of Karen Robards' Justice has very poor print quality- it looks like it was done on a 1940s Underwood typewriter LOL.

And the proofreader missed this line-

"Wearing only his boxers - tonight's were blue- he stopped in the doorway to stare at her, all broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs."

Suddenly I had a mental picture of the heroine looking like a line-backer Smile
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1086
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlotteJ wrote:
It seems like ever since ebooks took off, the overall quality of print books has gone down. My copy of Karen Robards' Justice has very poor print quality- it looks like it was done on a 1940s Underwood typewriter LOL.

And the proofreader missed this line-

"Wearing only his boxers - tonight's were blue- he stopped in the doorway to stare at her, all broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs."

Suddenly I had a mental picture of the heroine looking like a line-backer Smile


Well, I can see where you're coming from. But obviously we're in the heroine's pov, because the hero is unlikely to have been thinking about his blue boxers, so I'm not sure that in context it would have bothered me. Hard to say. I haven't read this one yet.

Elizabeth
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a very poorly placed modifier in my opinion.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
It's a very poorly placed modifier in my opinion.

That was my first thought.

Original: "Wearing only his boxers - tonight's were blue- he stopped in the doorway to stare at her, all broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs."

Rearranged: "All broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs, wearing only his boxers (tonight's were blue), he stopped in the doorway to stare at her."
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Lillian Sulivan



Joined: 05 Feb 2010
Posts: 237

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlotteJ wrote:
"Wearing only his boxers - tonight's were blue- he stopped in the doorway to stare at her, all broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs."


"Why are you wearing my blue boxers"? he asked.

I don't know if his mother color-coding his underwear to the day of the week was an important plot point, but I might suggest:
"He stopped in the doorway to stare at her. He was wearing only his boxers - blue ones that night - and he was all broad shoulders and long, hard-muscled legs."

Best,
Lilly
_________________
"Or perchance when the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together with our arms around each other,
And shall you be my new romance?"
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limagal



Joined: 17 Jul 2010
Posts: 94
Location: lima, peru

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of times, I find the words that spell check doesn't get because they are really words as well - just not the ones that are needed. I remember one where the hero grabbed the girl by her "waste", for instance and another where he felt something in his "lions".

I also cringe when authors get important detaails wrong. Several times I have seen it written that Arabian horses are large - even 17 hands once. Large and powerful - that is not an Arabian, which is a rather small horse. The Scottish hero in one of them- one of those big brutes, 6 1/2 feet tall was riding one recently in a story. He must have looked pretty silly with his legs hanging down.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One that's almost endemic is the confusion of "tact" with "tack"; as, e.g., "she decided to take a different tack" written as "she decided to take a different tact." Often it's pluralized as "tacts." I can't pronounce either word in such a way as to explain the confusion. And the meanings are not even close.
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All those contributing to or reading this thread might find the essay over at Dear Author interesting.
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limagal



Joined: 17 Jul 2010
Posts: 94
Location: lima, peru

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dick, where is that essay exactly?
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Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 441

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is the one Dick is referring to:



http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/its-not-all-about-taste/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dearauthor+%28Dear+Author%3A+Romance+Novel+Reviews%2C+Industry+News%2C+and+Commentary%29&utm_content=Google+Reader


Re the OP: I read the Nell Sweeney series, and I don't remember those problems being persistent. I do remember one instance of the bring/take error, but I don't remember it being consistently misused. I probably glazed over lay/lie since that one gives me problems myself (I sometimes have to look up usage examples when I'm editing to remember which is correct). There may have been some errors, but the overall editing fell into the acceptable range for me and didn't seem to be as sloppy as many other ebooks I've read.

I think even with grammar, we all have our push-button issues. Some mistakes I can easily overlook while others will bug me right out of a story. There's no way of predicting what may set off a reader.
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