KB Featured Book
Taerak's Void
by M. R. Mathias

$ 3.99
Kindle Edition published 2017-07-09
Bestseller ranking: 7762

Product Description
Taerak's Void
(Book One of Fantastica)
A new series by multiple award winning author, M. R. Mathias

After finding a strange medallion and some maps with markings that no one in his village can understand, Braxton Bray decides to take it all to the Hall of Scholars in the kingdom's capital. But greed is everywhere. Braxton and a tough young female caravan guard named Nixy are forced to run for their lives, for someone else wants what Braxton found and is willing to go to great lengths to take it from him.

With a hefty, kingdom wide, bounty on their heads, not even the great wizards of the Sorcerious can help them. Left with nothing but each other, Braxton and Nixy have no choice but to get on a ship and go on an adventure that will take them places they would have otherwise never imagined. Elves, dwarves, giant gothicans, and trolls, treacherous forests on distant shores, love, death, terror, and magic all await...

Author Topic: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?  (Read 3808 times)  

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« on: February 21, 2017, 01:29:26 PM »
Not too long ago, I quit a Kindle sample after about 3 paragraphs, which consisted of a ratio of roughly 3 or 4 sentence fragments for every actual sentence. Last night, I gave up on a sample after maybe 2 pages' worth of text, after at least 4 compound sentences without a comma before the "and" or "or", along with a few other odd uses of punctuation. In the latter case it was really frustrating, as the concept of the story was interesting and it had a lot of good reviews.

Am I just too sensitive to the lack of good editing, or does anyone else share my misery (which, of course, loves company :) )?

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Offline Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63767
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2017, 01:52:38 PM »
Oh, yeah! :o :o :o

One or two, here or there, and I can deal. But if it's too much, I'm not going to read it; it just makes it too much like work ;) -- I find myself 'correcting' the manuscript as I read and, really, that's not what I want to be doing. :D

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Offline The Hooded Claw

  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *******
  • Posts: 9391
  • Gender: Male
  • Oklahoma
  • Card-carrying melodrama villain
    • View Profile
    • All about me....<hee hee>
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2017, 02:07:41 PM »
I am in complete sympathy! I have found problems of this type in a handful of major-publishers books, but they seem to be especially common in self-published or small publisher books. The wealth of available reading material has steered me away from books that didn't come from the big houses, which is a shame, I know that not all self-pubbed books suffer from this problem (just as I know books from big publishers aren't immune). But the frequency of basic failures (problems with possessives, bad word choice on things like ensure vs. insure, and other things that a smart high school student would catch) drives me to the big publishers.

(Make your own reading bar)
"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."  - Albert Einstein

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2017, 02:18:22 PM »
I feel better already that I'm at least not all alone at one end of the bell curve. :)

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

  • Status: Shakespeare
  • **********
  • Posts: 26441
  • Gender: Female
  • Florida
  • Remembering Jeff and Harvey
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2017, 02:28:52 PM »
I don't mind some punctuation errors, but I do mind incorrect word usage. My biggest pet peeve is peeked/peaked/piqued.

However, if the story is good, I'll try to ignore the errors if there aren't several on every page. Yes, I have seen a few with that many.


Please visit my website to browse my virtual bookshelf.
Margaret Lake | website | twitter | youtube | facebook

Offline ellenoc

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3619
  • Gender: Female
  • Colorado
  • Mystery and romance
    • View Profile
    • Ellen O'Connell
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 03:01:27 PM »
Oh, yes, and I agree whether it's a minor annoyance or a complete turn-off is a matter of degree. It also seems to me modern writers, or maybe writers and editors, use fewer and fewer commas. I not only notice the lack of commas but the resulting lack of clarity.

Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

  • Status: Shakespeare
  • **********
  • Posts: 26441
  • Gender: Female
  • Florida
  • Remembering Jeff and Harvey
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 03:31:36 PM »
Oh, yes, and I agree whether it's a minor annoyance or a complete turn-off is a matter of degree. It also seems to me modern writers, or maybe writers and editors, use fewer and fewer commas. I not only notice the lack of commas but the resulting lack of clarity.

Very true. I sometimes have to read a sentence a few times to get the true meaning if commas are missing.


Please visit my website to browse my virtual bookshelf.
Margaret Lake | website | twitter | youtube | facebook

Offline WHDean

  • Status: George Orwell
  • *****
  • Posts: 1987
  • Gender: Male
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2017, 06:43:23 PM »
I feel your pain and then some. Once you edit day in and day out for a few years, you can't turn it off anymore. You see everything. I unconsciously reach for the keyboard to make the correction, and I see the content of the comment bubble I'd be writing pop up in the margin. If the first few lines are off, I'm done. It feels like work.

As Gertie noted, it's really the usage bugs me. I can take a few typos. But poor grammar, usage, and style are like fingernails on the chalkboard. Maybe I'll call it the corporate e-mail standard: When the boilerplate mass mailings I get every week are better written than your book, I ain't reading it.

   


Offline barryem

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 839
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 07:00:30 PM »
I don't mind an occasional error too much.  It makes me feel a bit cheated but it's not going to discourage me from reading the book unless it's pretty bad.  I haven't quit reading many books because of this but I have a few times over the last few years.

Not too long ago when I got a book that was really full of errors, I don't recall which one, but that I really wanted to read, I went searching for a pirate copy.  I found it and read that instead.  It was error free.  Pirates seem to be more careful about quality than publishers. :)

Keep in mind, please, that I did buy the book.  I paid for it and I didn't return it.  I very rarely return books for any reason.

Barry

Offline SteveHarrison

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 583
  • Gender: Male
  • Sydney, Australia
    • View Profile
    • Storming Time
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 07:10:56 PM »
I always read the first few pages before I buy a book and a single typo will scupper the sale faster than if the writing is (in my subjective opinion) not up to scratch.

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2017, 07:52:37 PM »
I find it a lot harder to read generally when I'm in editing mode.

Since I started editing my own books, I've found it much harder to read other people's, since I continually find every single mistake in theirs. Too many in a short read puts me right off the book.

In several cases, I've come across books with a good story line, but just too painful to continue reading.

Its one reason why I tend to read samples. If I get bounced out of the sample, regardless of how good the story is, I bin it.

I'm not perfect in my own work, but the better I get at editing, the less I tend to tolerate the now glaringly obvious in others.

Offline Andra

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5063
  • Gender: Female
  • Austin, TX
  • madhouse escapee #671
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2017, 08:11:42 AM »
One of the reasons that I sample new authors is grammar.  Too many errors in a short span of pages will throw me out of the story - what's the point in that?
And yes, word usage, especially contractions and possessives drive me batty. It is also very easy to tell if the text was scanned and converted to an ebook without the benefit of a proofreader.  Fortunately those books have become less prevalent.

I did enjoy the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation :)


Offline The Hooded Claw

  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *******
  • Posts: 9391
  • Gender: Male
  • Oklahoma
  • Card-carrying melodrama villain
    • View Profile
    • All about me....<hee hee>
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2017, 08:57:18 AM »
And Eats, Shoots, and Leaves is only $1.99 right now...

(Make your own reading bar)
"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy."  - Albert Einstein

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2017, 10:57:50 AM »
...
I did enjoy the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation :)


Me, too. :) (And I'm a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma. ;) )

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2017, 11:02:44 PM »
I refuse to give up on indie novels, after all I publish them myself, but I do read samples first. Of course, deliberate 'errors' for style such as a sentence fragment is different. I'll allow for an error in a sample but not much more than that. If there is an error in the blurb (yes, I have seen it) I won't even look at the sample no matter what the concept is.

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin | J. R. Tomlin | Writing and More

Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 332
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2017, 01:27:33 AM »
Frankly, the experience is a very different one for me. English is a foreign language to me, and many of its punctuation rules are downright opposite to those of my own language. E.g. putting a comma before "and" or "or" in any situation is among the gravest mistakes you can make in German (a comma is thought of as a replacement of these words here, thus they are mutually exclusive).
Add to this the fact that English has several rulesets or style guides contradicting each other, and without help, I get hopelessly confused what even constitutes an error.
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2017, 02:00:41 AM »
Frankly, the experience is a very different one for me. English is a foreign language to me, and many of its punctuation rules are downright opposite to those of my own language. E.g. putting a comma before "and" or "or" in any situation is among the gravest mistakes you can make in German (a comma is thought of as a replacement of these words here, thus they are mutually exclusive).

I look at the comma as a pause. If you say something out loud, and then write it down, where you paused while you said it, is where you put the comma. A lot of the time, but not always, its immediately after an and or or.


Offline Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63767
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 03:45:17 AM »
I look at the comma as a pause. If you say something out loud, and then write it down, where you paused while you said it, is where you put the comma. A lot of the time, but not always, its immediately after an and or or.



From my perspective, that's not a universal rule.

For me, commas set off clauses. In your sentence above,* the comma between "it" and "is" is absolutely not needed -- it's between a subject and verb. And there's often not a need for a comma either before or after "and" and "or".

That said, the flip side of your thesis does work for me. When I read a sentence, I tend to think (or speak) a slight pause when there's a comma. But, no, it definitely doesn't work the other way round in all cases.

Commas aside -- as I know there are many schools of thought and the rules are a bit fungible -- I'm more concerned with incorrect usage or weird sentence construction. Too many commas will annoy me -- I find it exhausting to read. But that's not going to kick me out of the narrative as fast as some truly odd word choices or interchanged homonyms. I don't mind sentence fragments too much either. Unless it's ALL sentence fragments. ;)

Bottom line, for me: it's dead easy, nowadays, to find someone to help you get your book properly proofed and/or edited so these sorts of foolish mistakes get fixed before publication. Of course, a pristine manuscript from a technical point of view does NOT necessarily mean that the writing is going to appeal. But that's a separate issue. :)


*FWIW, I debated removing this comma -- but it clarifies that I don't mean "the sentence above the comma". ::)

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2017, 04:07:51 AM »
For me, commas set off clauses. In your sentence above,* the comma between "it" and "is" is absolutely not needed -- it's between a subject and verb.

I agree, but its the way I think, so its where I put the comma. When I edit, I tend to remove quite a lot of of these. But I also put some in as well.  ;D
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 04:17:17 AM by TimothyEllis »

Offline WHDean

  • Status: George Orwell
  • *****
  • Posts: 1987
  • Gender: Male
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2017, 05:46:46 AM »
The easiest way to avoid comma problems is to learn where you absolutely cannot put a comma. Once you have that down, you can refine the positive side.


Offline Linjeakel

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5400
  • Gender: Female
  • United Kingdom
  • Erm .....
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2017, 06:06:46 AM »
I agree, but its the way I think, so its where I put the comma. When I edit, I tend to remove quite a lot of of these. But I also put some in as well.  ;D

What about apostrophes?   8)
"A person who publishes books, willfully appears before the populace with his pants down." Edna St. Vincent Millay


Member since 03/17/2010 | (make your own reading bar) |
My Kindles: Kindle Voyage  | Kindle Paperwhite  |  Fire HD 10  | Kindle DX  | Kindle Touch

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2017, 06:12:55 AM »
What about apostrophes?   8)

Depends on how fast I'm typing. And if I can be bothered fixing them. Half the time here I dont notice them at all. Or really care, although that's changed in the last year.

Its one of the things I pay attention to in editing. But there are a few blind spots I have, so a few get through which are not supposed to be there, and the odd one gets missed.

I rely on Word a lot to point them out to me, but it's not always reliable.

It is my weakest area, but at least I know that.

Offline barryem

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 839
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2017, 09:08:44 AM »
For a long time I let myself worry about commas and such but I decided it's a matter of style and expressing myself so now I use a comma where it seems to be useful and don't worry about it.

I've always been a terrible speller so i work at trying to get spelling right but commas are okay.  I retired to rural Arkansas where grammar is largely unknown and I find that kind of expressive and even though I tease people about their usage a lot the fact is that I enjoy their way of speaking.

I remember from reading linguistics the phrase that dictionaries are descriptive and not prescriptive and I think that should apply to grammar as well.

When Microsoft Word first came out with a syntax checker I ran it on a piece of program documentation I'd written and it said my writing used the passive tense too much.  I tried teaching myself to be less passive for a while and finally decided Microsoft was mistaken.  Word was too aggressive. :)

Barry

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2017, 10:38:15 AM »
I refuse to give up on indie novels, after all I publish them myself, but I do read samples first. Of course, deliberate 'errors' for style such as a sentence fragment is different. I'll allow for an error in a sample but not much more than that. If there is an error in the blurb (yes, I have seen it) I won't even look at the sample no matter what the concept is.

I agree that there are times and places where deliberate sentence fragments work. However, I sometimes see them used so much that I suspect the author does not even realize that they are not sentences. If they do realize it, then they are diluting the impact that a judiciously used sentence fragment can add to a narrative.

http://charles-reace.com/2017-01-08_sentence_fragments

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Offline Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63767
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2017, 04:07:43 PM »
Depends on how fast I'm typing. And if I can be bothered fixing them. Half the time here I dont notice them at all. Or really care, although that's changed in the last year.

Its one of the things I pay attention to in editing. But there are a few blind spots I have, so a few get through which are not supposed to be there, and the odd one gets missed.

I rely on Word a lot to point them out to me, but it's not always reliable.

It is my weakest area, but at least I know that.

And that's o.k. with informal writing such as posts on these boards . . . . we're not really picking on you -- think of it as friendly teasing from big sisters. ;)

But, for sure, you want to fix that sort of "oops" in something held out for sale. :)

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Offline kirstengirl

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #25 on: February 24, 2017, 07:20:17 AM »
Not really. If there are too many grammar mistakes, it's pretty distracting for me.
But if the story is bad...
Book geek.
Future best-selling author.
Work at: Paraphrase generator.

Offline Linjeakel

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5400
  • Gender: Female
  • United Kingdom
  • Erm .....
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #26 on: February 24, 2017, 08:19:55 AM »
And that's o.k. with informal writing such as posts on these boards . . . . we're not really picking on you -- think of it as friendly teasing from big sisters. ;)

But, for sure, you want to fix that sort of "oops" in something held out for sale. :)

Oh, gosh! Yes, I was indeed only teasing  :o - and I agree with Ann, it's the sort of thing that's only really important in a professional setting. Apostrophes aren't compulsory on KBoards!  ;D
"A person who publishes books, willfully appears before the populace with his pants down." Edna St. Vincent Millay


Member since 03/17/2010 | (make your own reading bar) |
My Kindles: Kindle Voyage  | Kindle Paperwhite  |  Fire HD 10  | Kindle DX  | Kindle Touch

Offline Lilith

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 143
  • Gender: Female
  • Near Phoenix, Arizona
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #27 on: February 24, 2017, 12:19:19 PM »
I buy a lot of books for my Kindles.  When looking at a title, I read the reviews, many if not all the reviews . . . mostly the 3 star and below.  If a reader has left an articulate, well thought out review about spelling, grammar and/or punctuation issues, I won't buy even if there are tons of 5 and 4 star review.   That is how much poor grammar and punctuation bothers me.  Incorrect word choice is another one.  And overuse of a word/several words can drive me bonkers.  One I see a lot is "quirked" - just STOP!  Right now I am reading a book where "tugged" is favorite word.  Her eyebrows tugged, her heart tugged . . . . Give. Me. Strength.

Offline MariaESchneider

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4854
  • Gender: Female
  • Austin, Texas
  • Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Humorous Mysteries
    • View Profile
    • Bear Mountain Books
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2017, 06:31:47 AM »
I'm more tolerant of it than I used to be.  For one, I've made my share of mistakes professionally and all over every forum where I've posted. I used to send errors to authors, but I don't anymore.  If there are too many errors, I may very well put a book aside, if only because it pains me to know what kind of a reception awaits the author in the reviews.   I also have worked with some dyslexic students.  There are quite a few people who have varying levels of dyslexia and some people even get it as they age (or it gets worse).  I also worked with and taught English as a second language.  I think all these things helped me, although I've always been a big believe in "communication" first, correct second. 

Offline Kay7979

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1012
  • Gender: Female
  • Western NY
    • View Profile
    • Kay L Ling
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2017, 01:19:34 PM »
It does bother me. I won't read a book with noticeable punctuation and syntax errors. I recently refused to review two fellow Indie authors' books because the editing was so bad. It yanks me right out of the story.

Kay L Ling | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

Offline anguabell

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 675
    • View Profile
    • Goodreads
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2017, 02:05:16 PM »
I'm more tolerant of it than I used to be.  For one, I've made my share of mistakes professionally and all over every forum where I've posted. I used to send errors to authors, but I don't anymore.  If there are too many errors, I may very well put a book aside, if only because it pains me to know what kind of a reception awaits the author in the reviews.   I also have worked with some dyslexic students.  There are quite a few people who have varying levels of dyslexia and some people even get it as they age (or it gets worse).  I also worked with and taught English as a second language.  I think all these things helped me, although I've always been a big believe in "communication" first, correct second. 
It is very kind of you Maria, and I agree. There are many people on international forums or social media platforms like LinkedIn who are not native English speakers and often remain silent because they are afraid they would be ridiculed for their English (and they often are, especially among us translators). However, a book is a bit different matter. It is a "product" sold to a buyer, and as such it should meet certain expectation and standards of quality. My tolerance level of sloppy writing/editing in books is pretty low. Unfortunately, errors like that are getting way too common, not only among self-published authors. When I first started as a translator, I had an editor, an elderly gentleman with a red pencil (it was many years ago), who would mercilessly go through every single letter in my text. Nothing would escape his vigilant eye. Looking at the sea of red, I felt like crying - and he would say: "That was actually pretty good!" :)  Where did all the good editors go?

Offline JRTomlin

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 16245
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • J. R. Tomlin on Writing and More
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2017, 12:44:18 PM »
I agree that there are times and places where deliberate sentence fragments work. However, I sometimes see them used so much that I suspect the author does not even realize that they are not sentences. If they do realize it, then they are diluting the impact that a judiciously used sentence fragment can add to a narrative.

http://charles-reace.com/2017-01-08_sentence_fragments
I have a tendency to overuse them as a stylistic device, so I am somewhat sympathetic to the issue. ;)

Saor Alba
J. R. Tomlin | J. R. Tomlin | Writing and More

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1450
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2017, 10:41:28 PM »
My pet peeve is the comma splice.  *shudder*
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2017, 12:13:24 AM »
My pet peeve is the comma splice.  *shudder*

And what is that when it's at home?

Offline Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63767
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2017, 02:53:16 PM »
And what is that when it's at home?

Basically: using a comma when you should have used a semi-colon or else made it two sentences. Though, personally, while I will notice such a thing, there are lots of other usage quirks that are more annoying to me.

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1450
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2017, 04:16:41 PM »
And what is that when it's at home?

I don't understand your question.

Basically: using a comma when you should have used a semi-colon or else made it two sentences.

Yep.  You can also fix a comma splice by adding a conjunction.

A famous example of the comma splice is the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities.  It's chock full of the things:

Quote
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

If I had been Dickens' editor...   >:(
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2017, 05:18:54 PM »
Quote
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way � in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
If I had been Dickens' editor...   >:(

I'd have replaced most of the commas with full stops, and been accused of chicken scratch.  :D

But that is a way too long sentence.

Offline barryem

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 839
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2017, 05:31:23 PM »
I learned in this discussion what a comma splice is.  Thank you!  I'm not really sure how much I care.  Style is a pretty personal thing.  I'm probably one of the few literate people who's never read Dickens but I know that opening line very well and I like it.  Hooray for comma splices. :)

Barry

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1450
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2017, 09:18:21 PM »
I learned in this discussion what a comma splice is.  Thank you!  I'm not really sure how much I care.  Style is a pretty personal thing.  I'm probably one of the few literate people who's never read Dickens but I know that opening line very well and I like it.  Hooray for comma splices. :)

Lol... glad I could be of service, Barry.   ;D

Technically, a comma splice is when you use a comma to join two or more independent clauses in the same sentence.  That's all it is.  Fortunately, there are many easy ways to fix them.  For example, just substituting in a semicolon will suffice in most cases:

Quote
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light; it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us; we had nothing before us; we were all going direct to Heaven; we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

That sentence is now grammatically correct.  (In addition to the comma splices, I had to remove the comma after the word "period.")  Of course, it's still a run-on, and that should also be fixed, but at least the punctuation isn't objectively wrong.

To fix the run-on, I'd break it up like this:

Quote
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief; it was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light; it was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair. We had everything before us; we had nothing before us. We were all going direct to Heaven; we were all going direct the other way. In short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

That way, each opposite-clause pair is its own sentence instead of lumped in with all the others.

But Dickens is world-famous, and I'm not, so what do I know, right?   ;)
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Offline Valerie A.

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 56
  • Gender: Female
  • Squamish, BC
    • View Profile
    • Goodreads / Valerie Albemarle
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2017, 09:42:06 PM »
I learned in this discussion what a comma splice is. 
I don't believe Dickens ever had your opportunities. Many of these rules and recommendations are quite recent compared to the classics they're applied to by way of anachronism.

Somebody should try teaching proper punctuation to Emily Dickinson.  :)

Magical Realism; Psychological Mystery and Suspense
Valerie Albemarle | blog | Goodreads | Kirkus indie

Waking up to find yourself morphed into a beetle is no excuse to be late for work.

Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 332
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2017, 12:07:33 AM »
That sentence is now grammatically correct.  (In addition to the comma splices, I had to remove the comma after the word "period.")  Of course, it's still a run-on, and that should also be fixed, but at least the punctuation isn't objectively wrong.
Okay, that just looks weird. The sentence is probably supposed to be a run-on one, it very much looks like a deliberate stylistic choice setting the mood to me. I'm under the impression Dickens was going for a stream of conciousness part before that was even invented.
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog

Offline Jeff Tanyard

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1450
  • Gender: Male
  • Georgia
  • Wait and hope.
    • View Profile
    • My Blog
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2017, 01:20:09 AM »
Okay, that just looks weird. The sentence is probably supposed to be a run-on one, it very much looks like a deliberate stylistic choice setting the mood to me. I'm under the impression Dickens was going for a stream of conciousness part before that was even invented.

That's possible.  It's hard to say for sure--as Valerie alluded, the rules of grammar were a bit more fluid back then, and one editor's way of doing things often didn't match another editor's.  *shrug*

In another decade or two, most books will probably be written in text-message shorthand anyway, making this all a moot point.   ;)
Jeff Tanyard | Author Website

Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 332
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2017, 02:23:13 AM »
In another decade or two, most books will probably be written in text-message shorthand anyway, making this all a moot point.   ;)
As a flash fiction writer and Twitter user, I approve of this ;D
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2017, 07:49:44 AM »
Frankly, I don't care how you punctuate that notorious Dickens opening, I'll still hate it. :) ("Hmm...let's see...I get paid by the word.... I know: I'll just list a catalogue of opposites, and it will be considered art!" ;) )

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Offline NogDog

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 10151
  • Gender: Male
  • Ankh-Morpork
  • My best friend Noggin -- R.I.P.
    • View Profile
    • eBookworm.us
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2017, 07:58:41 AM »
In summary, my note to authors is:

First, learn the rules. Yes, you are allowed to intentionally break the rules for artistic reasons, though you should make sure you have a really good reason before doing so (and I'll admit that not all rules share the same level of importance to me, at least). If you continually break the rules out of blissful ignorance, there exists, it seems, a non-trivial set of readers whom you will lose as potential readers/customers.

If you hate learning the rules of syntax and punctuation, do not even consider becoming a computer programmer, where there is zero tolerance from your readers (the computers). ;)

(Make your own reading bar)
Music Ed. major working as a software developer -- go figure | Member since 04/30/2009 | My Blog | GoodReads page
"Well done....Consciousness to sarcasm in five seconds!" ~ Terry Pratchett in Night Watch

Online TimothyEllis

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3191
  • Gender: Male
  • Somewhere in space.
  • Aussie in the 27th century.
    • View Profile
    • Timothy Ellis Author
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2017, 02:47:01 PM »
If you hate learning the rules of syntax and punctuation, do not even consider becoming a computer programmer, where there is zero tolerance from your readers (the computers).

Good point.

I started out writing Cobol, where the placement of a decimal point was everything. Missed one out, or put it in the wrong place, and the whole logic structure changed dramatically. A lot of bug chasing ended up with the placement of a single dot to fix some massive screw-up.

Offline SerenityEditing

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 369
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Serenity Editing Services
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2017, 03:22:38 PM »
That sentence is now grammatically correct.  (In addition to the comma splices, I had to remove the comma after the word "period.")  Of course, it's still a run-on, and that should also be fixed, but at least the punctuation isn't objectively wrong.

If it were a run-on, it wouldn't be grammatically correct (and it is). (c; It's rambly, but not a run-on.

I've had lots of clients tell me "I know I have a problem with run-on sentences," only to have it turn out that they think a complex or compound sentence, or simply a long sentence, is a 'run-on.' Seems like lots of people have trouble parsing complex*, layered sentences these days, and I'm not sure if the decline in comma usage is a cause or an effect of that (or not related at all).

This is a run-on sentence, it's a short one.

This sentence, however complex it might be - and, depending upon the subject matter, the target audience, the author's intention, and, indeed, a host of other issues, it might be very complex indeed - is not a run-on sentence, despite having an abundance of commas; there might also be several ideas all being expressed in the same sentence, but that does not, in and of itself, create a run-on, since many ideas or thoughts can be expressed in the same sentence and, as long as everything is properly punctuated (although, with commas, I suspect there is no single 'proper way'), the meaning will still be clear - though the reader will probably have, by now, completely forgotten what the topic was at the beginning of the sentence.

And it seems to me British/Australian authors use way fewer commas than US authors. I wonder if there's been a shift in what they teach in UK/AU schools.

*In the sense of intricacy or complexity, not in the sense of 'complex sentence = a sentence with at least one subordinate clause'
Serenity Editing Services - KBoards Yellow Pages

FREE Sample - Top-Notch Editing and Proofreading Services
serenityeditingservices.com/

Offline barryem

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 839
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2017, 05:03:25 PM »
I remember an argument with the teacher in my first month in my assembly language class.  In those days everyone learned assembly language first.  I had punched a line of a program into a punch card and got it almost correct.  I have no memory of my mistake but it was probably a single letter or punctuation mark.  The computer rejected it.  My contention was that if the computer wasn't smart enough to catch that little mistake and figure out what I meant what was the point of it!  The problem was the computer and I just found it's weakness.

I don't really remember how serious I was about this but he took it with good humor and used it to lead into a discussion of precision and care.  But I do remember thinking, serious or not, that I was right.  The computer was wrong. :)

By the time the course ended I probably understood a little better. :)

Anyway I've just been googling comma splices and as far as I can see they're not considered grammatically incorrect although Strunk and White did condemn them in most cases.  They seem to be considered more of an error of style.  I'm not sure how much I really believe in errors of style.  Guidelines and standards are a good thing and I have no argument with them.  But my attitude toward rules was always that they're not really a good substitute for responsible behavior.

I did find one cute idea on Wikipedia's discussion of comma splices, that whether they're incorrect depends on your fame.

"Lynne Truss observes: "so many highly respected writers observe the splice comma that a rather unfair rule emerges on this one: only do it if you're famous." She cites Samuel Beckett, E. M. Forster, and Somerset Maugham. "Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous. Done ignorantly by ignorant people, it is awful.""

Barry

Online Mike D. aka jmiked

  • Status: A A Milne
  • ******
  • Posts: 4960
  • Gender: Male
  • Central Texas
  • Reading ebooks since 1994!
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #48 on: March 01, 2017, 09:10:18 PM »
I'm very sensitive to punctuation issues in particular.  My reading comes to a full stop when I run across a mistake. In books that have been scanned and converted by OCR (by major publishers), I see things such as reversed curly quotes at the end of a sentence and sometimes missing quote marks.  It may as well be a flashing red light or siren. It's the same for its/it's. I was reading a book this week where the OCR app had put "be" instead of "he", so I catch those kind of errors also. I also have a thing about using proper dashes: em dashes and en dashes. Using a hyphen or a double-hyphen as a substitute for either is guaranteed to earn a few curses. One of the few places I'll yield a bit is accepting a breaking space around an em dash or en dash, so the Kindle can do a line break there if need be.

Oddly enough, reading a book published in the UK that does not put periods after titles such as Mr, Mrs, and Dr doesn't trigger my detection circuit. And I'm fine with the older books that use the double quotes inside of single quotes for dialogue, instead of the reverse.

And I insist on proper use of the ellipsis, not three periods in a row. I can see the difference most of the time.

Yeah, I'm too picky. But I've been conditioned by 60+ years of reading properly done books.


Mike

What you see depends mainly on what you are looking for.

Offline Susan Alison

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1137
  • Gender: Female
  • Bristol, UK
  • Romantic comedy, fantasy & colouring books
    • View Profile
    • Susan Alison Books and Art
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2017, 02:00:20 AM »
You are not alone. Obvious typos etc put me right off and as I read for escapism I don't want to have to work really hard to stay in the story. I expect that many of the things that I can overlook are probably grammar-no-nos that have names of which I'm unaware so I'm not going to care about them unless they're too clunky. This includes fragments - sometimes they work for me - in which case I'm not going to notice them.

Romantic comedy, fantasy, colouring books, illustrated doggerel, short stories
Susan Alison | website | Corgis Rule! colouring book | facebook | facebook again | Twitter | Pinterest | contact me | subscribe to news | blog

Offline SerenityEditing

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 369
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Serenity Editing Services
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2017, 02:14:04 AM »
My contention was that if the computer wasn't smart enough to catch that little mistake and figure out what I meant what was the point of it!  The problem was the computer and I just found it's weakness.

...

I did find one cute idea on Wikipedia's discussion of comma splices, that whether they're incorrect depends on your fame.

"Lynne Truss observes: "so many highly respected writers observe the splice comma that a rather unfair rule emerges on this one: only do it if you're famous." She cites Samuel Beckett, E. M. Forster, and Somerset Maugham. "Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous. Done ignorantly by ignorant people, it is awful.""

Barry

I do like your reasoning about the computer - and it's kind of unnerving how close we are to that now. When I'm typing something into my phone to look up info, I've recently noticed that if I misspell the word as I'm typing it (happens about 80% of the time - large fingers, small keys) I don't even have to correct the misspelled word - I can just tap on it and it automatically changes to the correct spelling. Google's had the "Did you mean...?" feature for a long time, and of course we're all familiar with the amusement autocorrect sometimes provides, but to make that simple connection - if (1) a word is misspelled and if (2) the user touches the misspelled word, then correct the spelling - brings it really close to mind-reading AFAIAC.




About being famous and permitted to use comma splices - one of my favorite authors has, in his last three books, been using them regularly. His earlier books were more strictly punctuated, though he uses semicolons, dashes, and parentheses quite heavily, but it seems like as his renown grows, his publishers are letting him just write what he likes and punctuate it as he likes. It pulls me up short now and then, but his style seems particularly well suited to it, where with other authors, I think it would be jarring.


I follow him on Twitter, by the way, and last week he made a joke and I replied to him with a playful correction - something along the lines of:
Quote
Him: I would like a drink of water
Me: You spelled 'beer' wrong


He replied back, saying, "Everyone's an editor!"
My friends are already fed up with the "Hey, did you know I'm Famous Author's editor now? He said so! Right on Twitter!" jokes I've been making ever since. (c:
Serenity Editing Services - KBoards Yellow Pages

FREE Sample - Top-Notch Editing and Proofreading Services
serenityeditingservices.com/

Offline Ann in Arlington

  • Global Moderator
  • Status: Shakespeare
  • *****
  • Posts: 63767
  • Gender: Female
  • Arlington, VA
  • Let's go NATS
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #51 on: March 03, 2017, 09:00:46 AM »
Apparently the Amazon outage last week was due, at bottom, to a typo! :o

http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/2/14792442/amazon-s3-outage-cause-typo-internet-server

My Kindles
Nautilus (Voyage)
Oasis
Hermoine (Fire HD8)
Hogwarts (KDX)
Ed's (Basic)
S7Edge (KApp for Android)
Galaxy (KApp for Android)
(Make your own reading bar) | Ann Von Hagel | Arlington, VA | kboards  MODERATOR

Offline coreyrecko

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #52 on: March 04, 2017, 07:55:49 AM »
Oh I agree.

Authors should never be the only ones to edit their own work (it's easy to see what you intended to write, instead of what you actually wrote).

Offline 5ngela

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 246
  • Simple person with simple life
    • View Profile
    • The Journey Of Life
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #53 on: March 05, 2017, 04:52:47 AM »
Nope unless I cannot understand what the author mean.

Offline raygardener

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #54 on: March 05, 2017, 01:29:28 PM »
Anything that pulls me out of the story is -- let's face it -- not good. Writers have an obligation to make the reader's task easy and to make the words fade into the background. I'm still amazed how easy it is to miss errors, so I've accepted that editing and proofreading have to be done well and repeatedly. It's astonishing how the mind plays tricks and lets one skip over goofs only to see them later leaving one wondering "How on Earth did I miss that?"

I haven't found a huge error rate when reading other people's work, maybe several typos per novel. But each one pulls me out, especially if the story is good and otherwise flows really well. It's a paradox of sorts: the closer you get to perfection, the closer you need to be.


Interesting fiction to expand the mind and search the soul
Ray Gardener | Company | Wattpad

Offline lmroth12

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 676
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #55 on: March 28, 2017, 02:20:54 AM »
I find consistent grammar and punctuation errors annoying because it indicates that the author didn't take the time to learn their craft before rushing to publication. I don't expect perfection, as I have found mistakes in even classic literature; but errors of this nature perpetuate the notion that self-published books are substandard. I have read some great books by indie authors and usually find a few mistakes in each book and overlook them in favor of a good story. That said, authors who can't edit their own work should hire someone to do it for them. Otherwise the finished product looks like they were careless or too ignorant to notice their errors.

L. M. Roth | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

Offline worktolive

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 521
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #56 on: April 03, 2017, 08:21:03 AM »
I'm not a trained editor, but I'm one of those people who can read a wall of text and automatically pick out the grammar and spelling errors. I can't stop myself from doing so. My brain is just wired that way. Because of the prevalence of errors these days in publications of all types, I've learned to ignore the occasional one, but if there are too many in the first few pages, that's it, I'm done.

For authors that are new to me, I have a two step process to weed out the ones that have grammar/spelling problems. First, I read a few of the 1 and 2 star reviews. If any of them mention editing issues, I move on. Second, I download a sample. If there are more than a couple of errors of any kind in a 20 page sample, that's enough for me to delete it. I'm not asking for perfection, but I do feel that if an author is asking people to pay money for their product, they should make some effort to adhere to standard English grammar conventions. Stylistic choices like occasional sentence fragments or comma usage don't bother me that much, but things like switching between past and present tense in same paragraph, incorrect word usage, or incorrect capitalization drive me crazy.

Offline KyleConnor

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #57 on: April 05, 2017, 04:44:46 AM »
Yes! Definitely. Bad grammar is such a turn off while reading something interesting.It breaks your flow.

Offline Lorri Moulton

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 642
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romances, Mysteries, and Fairytales
    • View Profile
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2017, 10:01:00 AM »
Anything that pulls me out of the story is -- let's face it -- not good. Writers have an obligation to make the reader's task easy and to make the words fade into the background. I'm still amazed how easy it is to miss errors, so I've accepted that editing and proofreading have to be done well and repeatedly. It's astonishing how the mind plays tricks and lets one skip over goofs only to see them later leaving one wondering "How on Earth did I miss that?"

I haven't found a huge error rate when reading other people's work, maybe several typos per novel. But each one pulls me out, especially if the story is good and otherwise flows really well. It's a paradox of sorts: the closer you get to perfection, the closer you need to be.

It does break the flow of the story.  My mom (former teacher and librarian) has zero tolerance! LOL 

« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 08:05:52 PM by Lorri Moulton »

Please visit my Amazon author page to see my books...99 cents each, for the month of April.
Lorri Moulton | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

Offline Erin Zarro

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 135
  • Gender: Female
  • Michigan
    • View Profile
    • Weaver of Words
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #59 on: May 16, 2017, 04:30:05 PM »
I don't mind the occasional typo or misused word. But if it's a lot, it drives me batty. I'm a writer/freelance editor and I find myself editing the book in my head instead of enjoying the story.

I always check the reviews. If there's even one mentioning typos/grammar/etc, I won't touch it, no matter how good it sounds.

Offline Denae C

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Gender: Female
  • Christian math teacher writes fantasy
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #60 on: June 12, 2017, 01:48:19 PM »
Is there a way to add a poll to this?  I'd like to see the results all in one place.

Sounds like most here aren't turned off by a typo or two but cannot turn off their internal editor when a book has too many usage issues.

For reading, "your welcome" might be my current pet peeve, but I don't usually see that one in novels.  Run-on sentences that join independent clauses with mere commas is another peeve of mine (like "She ran, then she walked, then she stopped.")

For writing, I seriously can catch most of my own typos (English degrees have to be good for something, right?).  When I don't, at least I have beta readers, grammarly, prowritingaid, and editors.
Renegade Reception first draft: 14%

Denae Christine | Goodreads | Facebook | website/blog

Online M R Mortimer

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
  • Gender: Male
  • Australia
  • SF writer
    • View Profile
    • Suspended Earth - Official site of M R Mortimer
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2017, 03:30:59 PM »
Whatever you do, should you choose to complain about it, make sure you KNOW what you're talking about! I'm with the rest, I will read samples and am a harsh critic. I am as harsh as I expect from my editor and I see few books of any type that suck me in enough to stop seeing the issues. That's with ALL books, not just indie.

However, when I received a ranty email from a self professed editor offering to take over editing on my books? Because she couldn't understand how any editor could allow me to publish all those possessive apostrophes for single characters before the s instead of after, insisting that there is no difference between individual and plural possessives. Well, I binned that editor's request immediately and scrapped every opinion they had, because they clearly were clueless. (Sorry, in their world it should read binned that editors' request, but I can't bring myself to write it like that.)

How many grammar issues mentioned in reviews are issues with the reviewer, not the book? I'm not going to read them all to find out!
|

Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Author
M R Mortimer | Author Web Site Facebook Page | Twitter Page | Fantasy Series

Offline Valerie A.

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 56
  • Gender: Female
  • Squamish, BC
    • View Profile
    • Goodreads / Valerie Albemarle
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #62 on: June 13, 2017, 10:56:05 PM »
Because she couldn't understand how any editor could allow me to publish all those possessive apostrophes for single characters before the s instead of after, insisting that there is no difference between individual and plural possessives.
Sounds like a teenager who's discovered the beauty of grammar and wants to open everyone's eyes to it.  They'll probably also correct "For you and me" to "For you and I"  (and that one's a huge turn-off for me;))

Magical Realism; Psychological Mystery and Suspense
Valerie Albemarle | blog | Goodreads | Kirkus indie

Waking up to find yourself morphed into a beetle is no excuse to be late for work.

Offline SerenityEditing

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 369
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Serenity Editing Services
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #63 on: June 14, 2017, 04:26:41 PM »
... she couldn't understand how any editor could allow me to publish all those possessive apostrophes for single characters before the s instead of after, insisting that there is no difference between individual and plural possessives. Well, I binned that editor's request immediately and scrapped every opinion they had, because they clearly were clueless. (Sorry, in their world it should read binned that editors' request, but I can't bring myself to write it like that.)

There are some... unusual opinions out there.
One of my clients and I agreed that his MS would be best served by having a different set of eyes on it for the post-edit proofreading pass. He has a friend who's a grade school teacher (in the 8-12 age range), and she happily accepted his offer. When she got done with it, he sent it to me to look over her changes. It was well over 100K words, and she had changed the punctuation in almost every line of dialogue so that instead of reading
"Hello," he said.
they read
"Hello." He said.
AND lines such as
"Let's go." She turned and left.
were changed to
"Let's go," she turned and left.

Blew my tiny little mind.

I've recently had another client mention that her former editor instructed her that any "well-known" brand names or proper nouns should be italicized. So, for instance,
He finished the Coke he was drinking and glanced at his Rolex. He was going to be late for his meeting at the Eiffel Tower.

I have actually noticed that a lot of my British clients tend to italicize proper nouns and item names (for instance, "a potion made of willow bark should cure your headache"). I feel like there has to be a reason, some valid grammatical rule or guideline that got misinterpreted or corrupted, but I can't think what it would be.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2017, 04:28:59 PM by SerenityEditing »
Serenity Editing Services - KBoards Yellow Pages

FREE Sample - Top-Notch Editing and Proofreading Services
serenityeditingservices.com/

Offline ThomasDiehl

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 332
  • Gender: Male
  • MGladbach, Germany
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #64 on: June 15, 2017, 12:56:22 AM »
I've recently had another client mention that her former editor instructed her that any "well-known" brand names or proper nouns should be italicized. So, for instance,
He finished the Coke he was drinking and glanced at his Rolex. He was going to be late for his meeting at the Eiffel Tower.

I have actually noticed that a lot of my British clients tend to italicize proper nouns and item names (for instance, "a potion made of willow bark should cure your headache"). I feel like there has to be a reason, some valid grammatical rule or guideline that got misinterpreted or corrupted, but I can't think what it would be.
The willow bark makes me think it's from biology - binominal names ("Latin" names of species) get italicized in science documents. It's not a grammar rule, but part of the official system for naming in biology.

The brand name ones I sometimes see marked as quotes ("I'll have a 'Coke'" or, worse, "I'll have a "Coke"") instead of italics. Though Eiffel Tower is just plain weird.
All Hail the King series: 4%

How the Rain Gets In: 21%
English Blog | German Blog

Offline Lynn is a pseud--uh, never mind

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
  • Gender: Female
  • USA
  • My dog is bigger than your dog.
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #65 on: July 08, 2017, 02:34:54 PM »
I read a ton of fan fiction and I guess I'm just used to skipping over mistakes. It takes something pretty badly done to scare me off. On the other hand, I correct it in my head as I go so maybe I'm just weird.

Sentences that have no commas anywhere and that run on and on possibly like this one and go off on weird tangents too while still not adding commas to make things clearer really do bother me though so I tend to skip books that read like this. :D
I don't have a dog.

Offline Jim Johnson

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5922
  • Gender: Male
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Storyteller and Cat Minion
    • View Profile
    • Ineti Press
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2017, 06:49:05 PM »
I tend to look past a few typos and read the story for pleasure. If there are a lot of typos, misused words, or just blatant errors, I'll probably abandon the story and go on to the next one on my TBR stack.

Offline Jennifer R P

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 520
  • Gender: Female
  • Northern Virginia
    • View Profile
    • Jennifer R. Povey
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #67 on: July 09, 2017, 07:54:35 AM »
There is likely to be a typo or two in a book no matter what (I've found some major published books worse than small press/indy) so that doesn't bother me.

It bothers me if it looks like the author didn't care/didn't proof.

Also, if there is a little box in your book, THAT will really get to me (caused by Word special characters sneaking into your ebook or print files). Turn autocorrect as you type in Word off. Just turn that thing off. Trust me.

Offline Jordan Radan

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #68 on: July 09, 2017, 08:29:21 AM »
Thank goodness for editors...although, after reading some of the horror stories, I'll amend that to thank goodness for the editors who have, you know, cracked open a grammar book.

Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk


Offline WHDean

  • Status: George Orwell
  • *****
  • Posts: 1987
  • Gender: Male
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2017, 12:31:59 PM »

I've recently had another client mention that her former editor instructed her that any "well-known" brand names or proper nouns should be italicized. So, for instance,
He finished the Coke he was drinking and glanced at his Rolex. He was going to be late for his meeting at the Eiffel Tower.

I have actually noticed that a lot of my British clients tend to italicize proper nouns and item names (for instance, "a potion made of willow bark should cure your headache"). I feel like there has to be a reason, some valid grammatical rule or guideline that got misinterpreted or corrupted, but I can't think what it would be.

Some popular book, blog, or celebrity did this, and people picked it up. You'll see it a lot with words. Some older word gets picked up or adopted for some reason and you begin seeing it everywhere. "Bespoke" in the sense of "tailored" has been making the rounds.




Offline Bodie Dykstra

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Male
  • BD Editing and Consulting Services
    • View Profile
    • BD Editing and Consulting Services
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #70 on: July 21, 2017, 01:54:07 PM »
...which consisted of a ratio of roughly 3 or 4 sentence fragments for every actual sentence.

Sentence fragments are the worst! There's no better way to break up the flow of prose by introducing a bunch of jarring fragments. I get that authors try to use them for emphasis, but that's why we invented the em dash.
BD Editing and Consulting Services: Affordable editing and proofreading for indie authors
Website: www.bdediting.com
E-mail: bodie@bdediting.com

Offline EDDIEO

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #71 on: August 03, 2017, 05:39:42 AM »
No,?"

PM me if you want to review either book
Eddie Owens

Offline KathyWren

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 21
    • View Profile
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #72 on: August 04, 2017, 01:36:14 PM »
I have mixed feelings on this one.  I read somewhat obsessively - around ten books a day, usually - and I recently had to take a year off work, dropping our household income by more than half.  I've found that having a limited budget has really changed my perspective on grammar and punctuation problems. I used to drop books if I found too many issues, even if I'd been enjoying them up until that point, but now that I don't have a substantial book budget that's not really an option anymore. 

Surprisingly, what I've discovered is that if I push through that initial point of irritation the mistakes just start to disappear from my perception, in the same way as other authorial quirks do. In many cases, I enjoy reading the book much more than I ever thought I would.  (This also applies to books with terrible first chapters.  I used to give up, and now I've realized there are way too many fabulous authors out there who just don't know how to start stories. Or write blurbs.)

I think I'll keep pushing through error-riddled books even when I go back to work.  Not only does it save me money, but I've found some new favorite authors this way.  :)

Offline CynthiaClay

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 158
    • View Profile
    • Cynthia Joyce Clay
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #73 on: August 07, 2017, 02:20:43 PM »
I've been finding so many excellent indie books, that I am being turned off by the big publishers who charge so much. I don't think I've ever read an indie book that has errors on every page, but perhaps I am just careful in selection. I do find the occasion fragment and typo; often the fragment is deliberate, an artistic choice. (I tend not to like such choices, but I live with them.)

The one thing that drives me nuts because it is so prevalent is the incorrect form of the past tense for the word sneak. Sneak is a regular verb and so needs only the ed to make it past tense. Snuck makes me barf. To my ear it sounds wholly ignorant. I'm reading an author now who tells me he prefers that form (alas, alas) but his books are so good, I shudder and keep reading. I stopped reading a series because between the lexicon being too simple the spurious word snuck used constantly, I just couldn't stomach any more of it.

If you would not say brang or brung for brought, why would you use snuck for sneaked.? The English language has a beautiful music, snuck ruins that music.

I also notice that almost everyone misuses nauseous for nauseated. Nauseated means you are sick to your stomach. Nauseous means you are sick making; that is, you make other people sick.

Then there are the than/as constructions which are habitually used incorrectly, giving a meaning that is wrong for the intended meaning. He likes her better than me is a usual construction when the meaning wanted is actually He likes her better than I do. In the first one, the sentence means he prefers one woman over another. I call it the Jealous Woman Mistake. He is taller than me should be He is taller than I am. I enjoy more the books by authors who understand these differences in meaning created by the grammar. I will read most anything they write.

Thanks for supporting my art.
Cynthia Joyce Clay | Cynthia Joyce Clay's Blog | Plays I've Filmed

Offline Bodie Dykstra

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Male
  • BD Editing and Consulting Services
    • View Profile
    • BD Editing and Consulting Services
Re: Anyone else get turned off by grammar/punctuation issues?
« Reply #74 on: August 10, 2017, 11:49:19 PM »
My editor brain has compelled me to put down more than one book because of grammar and punctuation issues. I can't stand overuse of sentence fragments. I tossed Neuromancer after about 1/3 because every second sentence was a fragment. It's just lazy writing in my opinion.
BD Editing and Consulting Services: Affordable editing and proofreading for indie authors
Website: www.bdediting.com
E-mail: bodie@bdediting.com