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Notes from a Crusty Seeker

Common Grammatical Errors that Make it into Published Work

From Remarkably Bright Creatures, a charming novel by Shelby Van Pelt

I'm an editor as well as a writer, and recently I couldn't resist correcting an error in a library book (see illus). When I posted about it on Facebook, I was overwhelmed by comments with people's grammar peccadilloes. People who read a lot get annoyed about errors in published material. Their ire made me retire my own. However it also brought up—not annoyance, because I get paid to fix mistakes—a screaming head full of chronic errors, which resulted in an article, just published by a site called Writing Bad.


They cut two of the most annoying errors, so I'm pasting them here—as a teaser … and for closure:



Using "good" instead of "well" is commonly misspoken, but when this gaff makes it into print and is not part of a quotation, it's just annoying.


Wrong: He was offered a good-paying job.


"Well" is an adverb, meaning it describes the verb—how you do the verb.



He was offered a well-paying job, and boy, did he feel good about that.



NONSENSICAL REFERENTS (This was cut because it might have offended copywriters and advertisers. Since there are no advertisers on Authors Guild websites, I am free to vent.)


Having a sentence that opens with an adverbial, prepositional, or gerund phrase (phrases that describe what follows the comma after them) be followed by something that makes no sense. (Commercials are the worst offenders.)


Wrong: "Like you, my hands are everything to me."


Some of us yell at the TV every time this thing comes on. "Like you" refers to "I," the speaker, being like "you," the audience (or from the listener's point of view, "me"), not the guy's hands. This sentence simply makes no sense!



"Like you, I like having hands that work well enough to type this snippy list."



Here's the article: 21 Grammatical Errors that Drive Discerning Readers Nuts.

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