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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 02:10 pm
dear Harry Potter pornographers

... and other fanfic writers. And other pornographers. You know who you are, and you're probably not reading this. (Nobody take this personally. Every one of these I found in more than one place by more than one writer.)

I have conducted an... ahem... careful study of a broad swath of fanfic over the last several weeks, and here are some pairs of words I would like you to be sure you know the difference between.


discreet, discrete: You almost always mean "discreet". Secret? Discreet.
palate, palette: The first is the one in someone's mouth. Google doesn't actually back me up on this one, but I know it to be so. Is this a British/American English distinction I was previously unaware of? Please advise.
prone, supine: Just look it up. No more bizarre sexual positions because you flipped one of the characters over, thank you.
compliment, complement: I think this is perhaps the trickiest one on my list. Flattery? A compliment. But a shirt that flatters you may complement your eyes, meaning perfecting your look. Careful!
principle, principal: Morals are principles. The main something is the principal something.
illicit, elicit: Is it sekrit and naughty? Use the first one. Is it a verb? Use the second one.

Oh, just look it up:
  • taut, taunt
  • breath, breathe
  • loath, loathe
  • baring, barring
  • bound, bond
The phrase is just deserts, unless you're actively punning at the time. It does sound like "desserts", but that's because it's not the sandy "deserts", it's "deserts" derived from "deserve".
dominate, dominant: I don't even understand where this comes from, but it's really common. Dominate is a verb. Dominant is an adjective or noun. There is no such thing as "the dominate" in a scene or relationship. No really.

And please, for the love of all that is holy or unholy, learn the difference between
prostate, prostrate: The fun thing for men having anal sex? Only one "r".

Thank yew.

EDIT: tongue tongue tongue Accept no substitutes. (courtesy of kjc)
baited/bated: Breath is bated. Traps are baited.
rein/reign: Oh, where to begin. Horses are controlled with reins. Kings reign. The idiom is rein in your emotions. No really. (these two pairs courtesy of calanthe_fics)

Tags: , , ,
Current Mood: cranky cranky

54CommentReplyShare

heavenscalyx
heavenscalyx
Calyx of the Heavens
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)

hee hee hee hee... alas, so right.

(Note: You might want to double-check your principle/principal line.)


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
*sigh*

It is karmically inevitable that any correction of spelling errors will itself contain a spelling error. Thanks.


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selkiechick
selkiechick
Selkie
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)

http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Snobs-Great-Big-Meanies/dp/0143036831/ref=sr_11_1/002-7631921-1349613?ie=UTF8

It *is* important to know that spell checking your work is not enough (though It is a good start).

I think you there should be illustrative cartoons, especially for the last example.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)

http://www.amazon.com/Grammar-Snobs-Great-Big-Meanies/dp/0143036831/

Yay!

I think you there should be illustrative cartoons, especially for the last example.

If anyone generates illustrations for any part of this, I'll be glad to include 'em!


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kjc
kjc
Kelly J. Cooper
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)

I'd just like to add, TONGUE. T O N G U E. The big pink thing in your mouth for tasting and other fun things.

Not tounge, nor tonge, nor any other painful mangling of the poor organ. TONGUE. I know it looks stupid, but when it's wrong it's very distracting.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)

Quoting you!


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bikergeek
bikergeek
Socially Awkward Penguin
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)

OH GOD OH YES OH YES OH GOD OH YES.

I don't think "palatte" is a word. If you're talking about something an artist uses, it's "palette". If you're talking about a flat thing made of wood, to which goods are fastened for shipping and easy manipulation with a forklift, that's "pallet".


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)

*grumble* See above regarding karma. Thanks.


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abby20
abby20
long shadows and gunpowder eyes
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)

THANK YOU.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)

You are oh so very welcome.


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meranthi
meranthi
Eeeeka
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)

*laugh* Have you ever read Anguished English?


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)

Yes! I *heart* Richard Lederer!


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cassandrasimplx
cassandrasimplx
霜月の子
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:44 pm (UTC)
Homonyms are the bane of the amateur.

*sigh*

This is actually oe of the main things that keeps me from enjoying fandom smut. It's really hard to stay in the story when every sentence or two you trip over an absurdity like "whose you're Daddy?"

It's/its. There/their/they're. Whose/who's. You're/your. Breath/breathe and bath/bathe. And heaven help me, if I have to read about the "affect" of a character's actions one more time I'm going to throw a psych text at somebody.

Have you ever read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Homonyms are the bane of the amateur.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves -- the second comma kills the joke. ;-)

Only bits of it, it was too much preaching to the choir for me to read the whole thing.

The misuse of "affect" is a pet peeve of mine but so far I've only actually encountered it once in fanfic so I didn't include it here. But yes.

"whose you're Daddy?"
*strangled cry of anguish*


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kathrynt
kathrynt
Kathryn
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)

I shall throw rose petals beneath your feet.

Have you read the delightful pair of essays by Sarah Bunting on exactly this subject? Actually, the second isn't an essay as much as it is a list of common screwups, but I still love it.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)

Ah, Tomato Nation. I have not read those particular essays, but I can imagine.


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wcg
wcg
Bill the bold bosthoon
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)

First, I love the icon. You managed to pack a lot into it.

Second, when I see "The Dominate," I think of the late Roman empire, after the Principate.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)

Heh, thanks. I didn't make it; I created very few of my icons. I credit them all on my userpics page, which seems to be the standard LJ etiquette for using other people's icons. That one's by ladytalon.


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calanthe_fics
Calanthe
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)

You missed my top 2 (i.e. - the ones I always get wrong):

baited/bated

rein/reign

I am a fuck up.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC)

Yesh! Added them in. rein/reign drives me batty.


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eclectician
eclectician
eclectician
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)

For the record, the palate / palette distinction is the same in British English as in your funny version.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:32 pm (UTC)

I thought it must be, but I was astounded: soft palette gets many more hits than soft palate. Enclose the search terms in quotes and you get the expected distribution, though.


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johnpalmer
johnpalmer
John
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)

I always say "If they go/fit/work together, it's complement".

One of my favorites was in spanking stories, where someone is spanked until "balling uncontrollably", which I suppose could mean getting into a fetal position uncontrollably, but brings to mind sudden, uncontrolled sexual intercourse.


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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)

That's hilarious. I don't think I've encountered that one, but I don't seek out spanking stories particularly (I have other favored kinks).


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rmd
rmd
regis
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)

and this, this is why i love you.

YOU ARE MY FAVORITE PEDANTIC GRAMMAR-FIEND.


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cheshyre
cheshyre
Cheshyre
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC)

This librarian advises one never to pour over a book.


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calanthe_fics
Calanthe
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)

I've got another one (I'm on fire, baby).

summary/summery.

Fucking amazing how many times you see this. I never, ever click on fics that can't even get the word 'summary' right.


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cassandrasimplx
cassandrasimplx
霜月の子
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 10:05 pm (UTC)
YES!

..although I did once stumble across a character wearing a "summary dress". Giggles all 'round.


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tamago
tamago
tamago
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)

peek/pique/peak

Nipples may peak.
Unless the nipples are "peeking through her blouse" they generally don't peek.
Nipples do *not* pique.


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cassandrasimplx
cassandrasimplx
霜月の子
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)

Augh -- and I hate stumbling across a character having a "fit of peek".

Good one.


ReplyThread Parent
emmacrew
emmacrew
Emma
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)

A fic writer whose mailing list I'm on sent out a cookie with "Hermione asked Ron discretely how Harry was doing" or some such nonsense and insisted that it wasn't an error because she meant that she did it when they were apart. I sent her email to say that no, it doesn't work that way, but she put it in the final fic that way, too. Rgh.


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jcgbigler
jcgbigler
Jeff Bigler
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)

This is an indication of one of the problems with the way schools teach children new vocabulary words (by having them memorize two or three synonyms for each word). The kids generally assume that the word is completely interchangeable with each of the synonyms.


ReplyThread Parent
llachglin
llachglin
The Avenging Finn
Thu, Oct. 5th, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)

I almost never use the phrase "just deserts," but I'll admit to thinking it was spelled the other way. It's rare that I learn something from grammar pedantry, so thanks!


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quietann
quietann
quietann
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 12:15 am (UTC)

One would think that writing fanfic would improve a person's writing. Alas, it seems not to be true.

My strategy is to read and write only in a fandon where most of the writers are *adults*. (Bujold) But I have to say, whenever I have peeked elsewhere, I am reminded of why I am no longer a college professor.


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whitebird
whitebird
Occam's Pump-Action Shotgun
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)

You know what gets me? Here I am, working at a college, and having nary a degree to my name, and, yet, when I read emails sent to the campus wide email list from professors with doctorates and such, I am always saying to my co-worker, "Damnit, how can these people get degrees and yet be so stupid?"

Gah. Ahem.


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arsmith
arsmith
arsmith
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 05:33 am (UTC)

So. That's what you've been doing with your free time.

Anyway, this has been a heck of a funny thread here, though the "nipples don't pique" thing struck me as a challenge.

"...and her nipples piqued. No, I mean it. They got all snooty and started ignoring me.

'So,' I said, attempting to raise an eyebrow, 'do your body parts often have their own emotional reactions to things.'

'Sometimes,' she told me with an embarassed chuckle and a hike of her shirt, 'my toes especially do not like Rochmonanoff.'

'I gotta find a new story.'"

Al.


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trinker
trinker
Trinker
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 12:29 pm (UTC)

I suppose the train has already left on "loose/lose" ? That one makes me bonky.


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fennel
fennel
D. Fennel
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)

'Dominate' misused bothers me too, but it stopped baffling me so much when I realized people probably had in mind (if unconsciously) the family of words that includes accurate, celibate, delicate, literate, private...

Er, assuming the faulty adjective 'dominate' is pronounced to rhyme with those, as a mis-hearing of 'dominant'. If the people who spell it that way think it's pronounced the same as the verb, I don't know what's wrong with them.


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tiamat360
tiamat360
Alexa
Fri, Oct. 6th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)

I have a friend who keeps insisting that "campaign" is spelled "campeign." I just don't understand - he got the "g" right! Where did the "e" come from??


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arsmith
arsmith
arsmith
Sat, Oct. 7th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)

"reign".


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twistedm
twistedm
Anonymuncule.
Mon, Oct. 30th, 2006 12:46 pm (UTC)

the lose/loose thing drives me batty, personally. ;)

though i see now i am not the first person to mention it to you.
well, i may not be terribly original or fast, but it still drive me batty. :)


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miss_bowtruckle
miss_bowtruckle
miss_bowtruckle
Sun, Nov. 12th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)

And I cannot 'bare' when a writer talks about her undressed characters who are 'bear naked' It's enough to make one 'loose' 'they're' mind!!

For Heaven's sake, already!


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