Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slipping Through the Cracks

Sometimes I feel like the Word Police. We live in the era of the e-book explosion. As a result, many books are published as e-books without the benefit of an editor.

Recently, I've read several books that had a common glaring error. When the word should have been 'disdain', the authors typed 'distain'.

Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines disdain as: a feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : scorn

And distain is defined this way: a verb with an archaic meaning of stain or dishonor.

There are many more words that are frequently misspelled or mispronounced and mistaken for other words.

Your/You're (when written)

Humongous/Humungous (not a word)

Didn't/ Dinen't (mispronounced) and Couldn't/coul't or wouldn't/wouln't, shouldn't/shouln't(leaving the d out of these words when spoken)

Passed/Past - how did this one slip through into the book?

Here is a list of the 100 most mispronounced words in the English language.

These are the 100 most misspelled words in the English language. Misspelled is one of the words on the list.

When I lived in another state, I was in the local Walmart store and repeatedly heard someone paging an employee to come to the "jury department." They must have meant the jewelry department, but I was chuckling inside.

This brings me to another point: Often, words are mispronounced so often they become the accepted way and make their way into the dictionary as a revision or alternate pronunciation a few years later. Newscasters, journalists, and many people in the public eye are guilty of these faux pas.

As writers, we want to put our best work out there to build credibility and gain a following. If grammar isn't high on your skill list and you can't afford an editor, ask a friend who is good at language skills to read the book and suggest appropriate changes. Join a writer's group and help each other. Someone who is good with words may need your help with a plot.

Spell check is great if you've made a typo, but it won't help if you've typed an actual word, but it's the wrong one. Brushing up on these words and putting out the cleanest writing possible can help move your work up a notch or two in the public eye and gain you the respect you want as a writer.