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Hopefully this will be a fun thread that will also inform those who read. Here are a couple examples of the most common errors I see writers make in the books I read, many of which I used to (but took my lumps and learned). I see these so often in books, both indies and traditionally published (though more often in indies) that I take notice when I DON'T see them.

- Its (possessive) takes no apostrophe. "Its hat" not "it's hat," as all possessive pronouns take no apostrophes. His, hers, theirs, ours, its, etc.

- "-ly" adverbs do not take hyphens when used to make phrasal adjectives. "Poorly constructed" not "poorly-constructed," etc.

- Echoes. Opinions vary about how often a significant word should be used and how close together, but once or perhaps twice per paragraph is generally considered to be the limit. Oddly, this principle seems most often violated by traditionally published/legacy writers in the books I've read recently.

I've got many more, but let's hear yours.



 

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You see this more with Indies than trad published, but it drives me crazy:
"Could of" instead of "could have", same thing with "would of" instead of "would have."

My biggest pet peeve is their/there/they're being used incorrectly. It's not hard, really.
Accept vs except. That too, isn't hard if you take a minute to think about it.
 

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I instead of me (and vice versa) constantly correcting everyone's usage.
mischievous pronounced (incorrectly) miss-chee-vus. Aaargh!
per say instead of per se – duh
and for the pedants: using neither...or instead of the (correct) neither...nor

I have more.
 

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Oh oh oh...

The almost ubiquitous use in America of "like what" instead of "which" etc.

"What" is a question and shot not be used otherwise except in very few cases.

"This is like what we had last week." Incorrect!
"This is like we had last week" or "This is like the one we had last week" etc.
 

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Confusing then with than. How is this even possible? I don't get it.

"I could care less." Oh, could you? Go on, do it then. I want to see you care less. The correct expression is "I couldn't care less." "I could care less" makes no freakin' sense.

;D
 

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Misuse of loose/lose and your/you're.

People are using "loose," meaning "not tight," when they meant "lose," something is lost or someone didn't win.

Correct: 
These pants are too loose.
The wing fell off because the bolts came loose.
The dog got loose and ran down the street.
She's a loose cannon.
They will lose the game if they don't improve their defense.
You will lose your money if you invest in that stock.
He will lose his job when the companies merge.
I am going to lose my mind if people don't stop confusing loose and lose.

Misuse of your and you're is even more widespread. I even see supposedly professional advertisements misusing the words, like "Your going to love our new flavor." Grrrrr. Your = possessive. You're = contraction for "you are."

Correct:
Your new car is really nice.
Take your dog to the vet.
I hope your new book will be a success.
I think you're making a mistake.
You're going to like the new house.
You're kidding!

As other posters have mentioned:  misuse of it's and its.
 

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It's "try to", not "try and". I can't begin to say how crazy this drives me.
 

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Mangling early Modern English, then calling it Old English.  Apparently, some people think the key to Shakespeare's greatness is putting archaic words in a random order.
 

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dianapersaud said:
You see this more with Indies than trad published, but it drives me crazy:
"Could of" instead of "could have", same thing with "would of" instead of "would have."

My biggest pet peeve is their/there/they're being used incorrectly. It's not hard, really.
Accept vs except. That too, isn't hard if you take a minute to think about it.
Their is absolutely no reason that their/there/they're should be used incorrectly. Unless there trolling you. ;)
 

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AshRonin said:
Their is absolutely no reason that their/there/they're should be used incorrectly.
Sure there's a reason. The person is illiterate!

(Yes, I got the joke, but this is serious stuff here!)
 

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Flay Otters said:
mischievous pronounced (incorrectly) miss-chee-vus. Aaargh!
per say instead of per se -- duh
And how would you pronounce them? You can't just say "no." You have to tell us the "yes," too (or at least the "yes" as you believe it to be).
 

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Grisly/grizzly.

Grisly:  gory, horrifying, as in "The grisly crime scene."

Grizzly: grey-haired. Also the name of the grizzly bear.

I saw this misuse in a recent thriller by a best-selling self-published author. His books are usually very well edited, but the editor missed the "grizzly crime scene."
 

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"Me either" . Every time I see that it's like fingernails down a blackboard. Screech!

The misuse of English titles is another pet peeve. Sir Henry Lockington may be addressed as Lord Lockington or Sir Henry - never, ever, Sir Lockington. I've seen this howler from US, British and European writers.

(Not that I know any Sirs personally, you understand. Although I have been known to, jokingly, refer to hubby that way. ;D )
 

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Lyndawrites said:
The misuse of English titles is another pet peeve. Sir Henry Lockington may be addressed as Lord Lockington or Sir Henry - never, ever, Sir Lockington. I've seen this howler from US, British and European writers.
Actually, I believe you can only refer to him as Sir Henry. "Sir" refers to a knight or a baronet, not a peer. But yes, you definitely can't call him Sir Lockington.
 
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