Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time for another Grammar Post

I collect errors that I see often on blogs. Not because I think I'm better than you (I'm sure you can find some errors on this blog--and I admit I have trouble with commas) but because I want to contribute to the professionalism of bloggers in general. Here's my last post, published in February: Spell Check Isn't Enough, if you are interested.

So, I'd like to mention a few things that I've noticed since the last post.

"piqued" vs. "peaked" -- Something "piqued" your interest -- the "peak" version is for mountains.... I'm always impressed when I see this used correctly, because I see it used incorrectly far more....

myriad -- another one that is almost always used incorrectly. This word never goes with "of."
     I had myriad problems with this book. (this is correct; do not say "myriad of")

"prose" vs. "verse" -- novels written in verse are the opposite of novels written in prose. Prose is the "normal" way of writing -- verse is when you write in lines like poetry. I even saw an author interview where she used the term "prose" for her style of writing in verse. It made me think I was mistaken about this -- but I looked it up!

And now a few things that aren't wrong, but they just bother me and I think they look unprofessional.

Writing your review in one big long paragraph. To me, the shorter the paragraphs, the easier a review is to read. I must admit, sometimes I skim, and if I can find the paragraphs about setting, characters, etc. I'm more likely to read your review. If it's one big block of text, I'm probably going to skip it. (This is my opinion -- how do you feel about this one? I'd be interested to hear if this bothers you, or am I being overly sensitive?)

Centering your review text. Do professional reviews do that? Magazines? Newspapers? Do you send these reviews to publishers like that? I find it makes the text difficult to read.  Why would you not format using traditional left-margin text? I don't get this one and would, once again, be interested in your opinions.

And I cannot recommend enough that you read your own reviews in Google Reader. Font colors and hi-lighting sometimes make the posts impossible to read. If you really want a lot of people to read what you write, why not make it as easy as possible for them?

OK. I'll take off my English teacher hat, and get back to reading!

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  1. Yep, I agree with everything you wrote. The misspellings obviously, but the one big long paragraph thing just makes me glaze over and skip it.

  2. I like this post. A friend of mine uses the terms prose/verse a lot and it confused me ..your definition makes sense.

    I like English lessons, so I wouldn't mind seeing this kind of post again. :)

  3. The huge paragraph point is one of my issues too. My poor eyes can't handle that!

  4. Hi, Annette -

    I found my way over here from Anne's blog, My Head is Full of Books, and I can see why she likes it!

    I completely agree with everything you've said here....and I think you're brave to say it! Maybe I worry too much about offending people.

    It just makes me cringe to read so many typos and errors in so many book blog posts. And often they are just mistakes made in haste. I think it is just courtesy to your readers to proofread your posts carefully before hitting that "publish" button.

    I'm not a teacher but do work as a freelance writer, so I guess we share the value of good writing!



  5. Thanks for this! I'm (Evan) often the target of bad grammar jokes... These little tips are quite helpful!

  6. Well I learned something - I use peek at times, so I will use piqued in the future.

    I had a very bad habit of saying alot instead of a lot, totally corrected this one.

    I love verse novels, I haven't seen prose be used.

    Thanks for the lesson, I am always open, it was one of the main reasons to start blogging.

  7. Totally agree with the big paragraphs thing. If a review is super long in one big block of text I rarely read it, especially if I see that when coming upon a blog for the first time.

    I definitely don't claim to be perfect, either. I overuse ellipses and commas and whatever else. But it's my biggest pet peeve when I see the wrong word used, like a homonym or whatever. Or a blatant misuse of a word. Little mistakes or typos? Yes, they totally happen. But when I see those type of mistakes several times on one blog I get a bit twitchy.

  8. Oh, thank you! Improper grammar usage annoys the crap out of me (English teacher, yanno), especially the wrong homophones (there/their; too/to) and wrongly placed apostrophes!

    And what is it with the centered text I've been seeing lately? Or the funky fonts? Don't they want us to be able to read what they're saying?

    Get 'em, grammar girlie!
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  9. I never even realised that 'myriad' wasn't used along with 'of'. Not that I tend to use 'myriad' a lot but now I know how to use it properly :)

  10. I hate big long paragraphs. They make my eyes blur. It's not that hard to hit the enter button.


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