Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mum's The Word

I just finished a book, the third in a series, by a successful author. She’s not well-known like James Patterson, Debbie Macomber, Stephen King and others, but she is successful – at least in Christian circles. I noticed an error in the book when it said though and it should have been thought. I’m always a little tickled to find errors in other books because there are errors in my book Like A Cedar In Lebanon. Misery loves company, I suppose.

The though/thought error reminded me of an old I Love Lucy episode where Ricky was complaining about how confusing the English language – which wasn’t his native language – is to learn. He used the example of bough, rough, though, and cough. They all end in ough, but sound entirely different. Add to that the words thought and drought which also sound differently. Then we have the words their, they’re, there, and your and you’re, and its and it’s, and other language nightmares. Accept vs except, principle vs principal, complement vs compliment, affect vs effect, capitol vs capital! There are too many to name.

To most writers and those with an adequate grasp on the English language and grammar, these nuances don’t give any problems, or at least not too many problems. But the average person struggles to use the correct word, and it’s especially difficult for those attempting to learn the English language.

I belong to several writers’ groups. One is an international group, so submissions of any kind can come from other countries. Although the English language is used, some words are different. In the USA, it’s mother, mama, mom, mommy and not Mum, and we spell things to end in er and not re, such as center, theater, etc. But those are easy things to learn and understand.

So, for the pure pleasure of reading, ignore those little mistakes in novels. Life is too short to concentrate on the negatives!


  1. I'm with you - I catch those errors in books and it makes me feel just a bit better when I find an error in an already published blog post.

    I don't let those mistakes trip me up, though. I just keep reading for the joy of the story. I go back and fix my own blog mistakes, however...when I catch them.

  2. I agree, Jan! Before I started writing, I seldom caught errors in anything I read. I never criticize, though, I just chuckle. Lord have mercy on us all. We just want to do our best, but we're fallible humans.