Carrie Harris | Young Adult Author

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blink! Quick!

I think we've all got our editorial biases, don't we? There are some bits of awkward phrasing and grammatical mistakes that just make me giggle, but misuse a "suddenly" and I go ballistic. According to el dictionario, suddenly means all of a sudden (duh) or without warning. So let's look at this sentence:

Suddenly, Richard blinked.

How on earth does that make sense!?! Apparently, Richard is an alien that comes from a world where blinking is totally unexpected. Either that, or everyone blinks in slow motion... except Richard, who is the MOST EFFICIENT BLINKER EVER.

Blink, Richard! Blink like the wind!


By the way, I have to interrupt myself to laugh at the fact that if you Google my editor's name, you get the above picture of Richard Simmons. And it's all my fault. Hee.

Anyway, sentences like the sudden blinking above really get me going. So I've been hyperaware of suddenlies in my writing. What grammatical mistakes really drive you bonkers?

17 comments:

A. B. England said...

Girl, you about had me falling out of my chair with that one!

I can't stand double negatives and issues with subject/verb agreement. It's probably because of where I'm from since they can be so common in the informal vernacular. Plus, Hubby'll make those mistakes on purpose just to make me shudder.

And yes, even though I know it's been accepted as an irregular word by the dictionary, I loathe hearing "irregardless." It's a double negative in and of itself! And almost EVERYONE uses it, though local preachers seem to be the worst.

I used to be bad about the suddenly thing. I also overused "little," "slightly, and "that." I mean they were all over the place. I just started auto cutting them during the editing process since it's rare indeed those words are needed.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That. That. That. I used to bad at that.

'Suddenly' was another for me, until someone pointed out the obvious.

Still working on the 'just' issue.

Great post!

Claire Dawn said...

Ditto on double negatives. Unless it's in speech and there for a reason, whiich can justify just about any bad grammar.

Love the post, Carrie. I will never be able to see Richard Simmons without laughing now. Wait, I always used to laugh. Never mind! :)

Candyland said...

But I thought Richard Simmons actually was an alien...
Hmm...

Jamie Eyberg said...

Of all the things that Richard can do 'suddenly,' blinking isn't one that comes to mind.

Stephanie Faris said...

Hehehehe! Well...with all the Botox in Hollywood, it wouldn't surprise me if some of those people had lost the ability to blink...

I agree, though. I'd never thought about it much before. I have a feeling this will be like the eye thing...where you have to write "His gaze moved around the room" rather than "His eyes moved around the room." Now I'm paranoid about the word 'eyes.'

Kayeleen said...

I hate sentences that run on and repeat themselves when I read them and they just irritate me because they say exactly the same thing and never really come to an end and make me feel like I'm dumb or something because they just keep saying the same thing over and over again.

And also, Richard Simmons blinking. That irritates me too. Have you ever seen that guy blink?

Stephanie L. McGee said...

ROFL

I've got the same old cliched peeves. Misuse of they're/there/their, it's/its, etc.

And "whether or not." Redundant and unnecessary.

When using if, you can use "or not" but you don't need it with "whether."

That's all.

SlayerOfBees said...

I just hope the masses don't Google your agent's name and believe she is Richard Simmon's clone - it could give her a bit of a complex.

Carolyn V. said...

Hee hee. "Blink like the wind Richard!" Carrie you crack me up!

I use too many was, just, that - and I can't figure out if its loose, loss, lose. Uggg. =)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Noun/pronoun disagreement is enough to bring on a migraine - hate. it. big-time! (just ask my students) Ironically, one of my other biggies is when people use "all of the sudden" when they only need suddenly. :-)

Elana Johnson said...

Yeah, the suddenly one gets me. I try really hard not to use it. Then I use "then" and that bugs me too. So I don't know.

Ann Eyberg said...

So many things in language drive me crazy, but the spoken ones I hear all the time are " 'N that" and "put your John Henry here." IT'S JOHN HANCOCK! Hancock not Henry! Look at the constitution. Now I'm annoyed...

Candice said...

Misuse of the word literally drives me crazy! I did an entire post complete with several drawing detailing why.

K. M. Walton said...

Verb tense that jumps from past to present. Jarring.

PJ Hoover said...

That is hilarious about the google search.

close word repeats make me cringe, even in everyday dialogue.

Anonymous said...

"Seemingly" and "impossibly" drive me up the freaking wall.

"Suddenly" and "All of a sudden" would be next on my list. You've got that covered :-)

 


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