Today’s SBD: common typos.
Dear editors and authors:
Long, long ago and far, far away, I was able to read without paying much attention to typos, misspelling, or grammar. I’m not entirely certain what has happened, if my internal editor has clicked in or if my subconscious has just been offended by too many copy editing errors. In any case, more and more often, I’m distracted by the form of the book rather than the content, which is a shame because it means otherwise good storytelling has been diminished. Yes, I know I keep complaining; usually after one or two posts, I give up and move on to something else. But that’s not going to happen with this topic, because I care about whether words are spelled and/or used correctly.
For today’s SBD, I thought I would share some of the common typos that I’ve noticed repeatedly lately. I’m not sure if you are relying too much on SpellCheck and GrammarCheck, or if these are becoming commonly accepted incorrect usages.
1. Then/than. Then signals a sequential relationship, either in time or in order. Think of "if/then" statements in decision-making algorithms. Than is used to signal a comparison. Greater than, less than, equal to, etc.
2. Loose/lose. That repeated letter makes a huge difference in pronunciation and meaning. Loose can be a verb or noun related to a lack of restraint, control or order. Lose means to cease to have. One may loosen control or lose control, but one does not loose control.
3. Cache/cachet. A cache is, among other things, a secret stash or hoard, and it sounds just like "cash". Cachet is mark of quality or superiority. The silent "t" changes the syllable emphasis — two syllables there, not one.
4. Physic/physique. A physic is a medication that purges; most often I’ve seen it used correctly in historical novels when characters are ill. Physique refers to the human body. Admiring your beautiful physic in the mirror makes no sense.
5. Direct address commas. In dialogue, when a speaker addresses another character directly and includes their name, it needs to be tagged. "Come on Chris" is not the same as "Come on, Chris". Srsly.
I could go on, but it is a little too demoralizing, especially when it comes to your/you’re, their/there, and here/hear. [Please note the use of "too", rather than "to" or "two". All different parts of speech and not interchangeable, thanks.]
1. In the medical community, attending JHU Medical School gave one a certain (cache/cachet).
2. Which of these is a direct address to Michael, and which is an instruction to someone else about moving him? (Don’t move Michael!) (Don’t move, Michael!)
3. The doctor gave me a prescription for a (physique/physic). While it may be good for me, I don’t think using it will make a difference to my (physique/physic).
4. Better that he hear the news from me (then/than) from a stranger.
5. It took me a long time to find these; I do not want to (lose/loose) them.
Answer all five in the comments and you may win a copy of Ava Gray’s Skin Game. (Winner will be chosen randomly.)