The Death of Grammar (and the English language) in e-readers.

As language evolves and Kindle makes it all too easy to publish I can see a time where spelling is simplified. The long-standing “joke” of spelling changing to how it’s pronounced is now the norm in texing, but that’s because of lack of space and the tiny keyboard.

But is it time the English word is simplified like American spellings? Color for colour (why the “u”?), Yogurt for yoghurt (who pronounces the “Y”?) and grey. I mean, can you HEAR the “E”? So why not use the American spelling GRAY?

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Noooooo!

The English language dates so far back there aren’t any records of the first words (ugg?), and anyway English has been so reconstructed from the UK’s neighbouring countries that our common language is a mixture of French, Latin and others. It’s beautifully old, so to hear it change and American English creep in is a shame.

American English is beautiful in its own right, but that’s where it has to stay. I don’t want to eat chocolate colored yogurt – I want to eat chocolate coloured yoghurt. I want to pull my hair out in frustration trying to figure out the differences between practise and practice, and not give in and use the one with the two curly kuz, as my little boy calls them. 


But this article isn’t only about the fast-evolving English language, it’s about the lack of grammar in ebooks. Typos happen and even editors miss them (some traditionally published books prove this!), but we owe it to ourselves to make our books as error-free as possible. This means investing in not one, but two or more, proof-readers and editors. 

Edit your book yourself, and ONLY when you think it’s perfect offer it to one or more beta readers. Put your wounded pride on the back burner (no space for pride in this job!) and take on board their suggestions. Re-edit your book. Read aloud your book; dust off your old cassette deck and use that even. Go through it line by line and then, and only then, seek out a professional. 

Children are like sponges when it comes to knowledge and are highly influenced, and so as a parent I want to feel I am helping them learn by giving them books to read. Image my horror when my eight year old insisted that the word existence is spelt existance all because he saw it in a book! 
 

It is with reluctance that I allow my children to read ebooks now unless I vet them first and that’s a shame. But if I’m lacking faith in ebooks, an Indie writer, you can be certain there are others who regard them like people regard *reality TV!

If a traditionally published book has a typos it is classed as an editing or printing error, if Indies have one it’s ALWAYS the author’s fault. People LOOK for errors. Making our books low-priced is NO excuse for being cheap.

It’s time we got serious.

Here are some howlers: 
http://www.funnytypos.com/

And websites that help: 
100 Most Often Mispelled Misspelled Words in English
Commonly Misspelled English Words

*Reality TV – has its place, but for low-intelligent people who wouldn’t spot quality TV if they fell over it. 
Ouch! But that’s where ebooks are heading unless WE do something about it. 

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6 thoughts on “The Death of Grammar (and the English language) in e-readers.

  1. Yay! another member in the humor (or would that be humour?)section. As an American I've always wondered what the difference is between grey and gray. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Now go buy my book and let me know how many typos you find. Just kidding, although…

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  2. You are absolutely right. As Indie authors we have even more work to do and more hurdles to overcome. If we want to be taken seriously, the work needs to be as perfect as it can possibly be.

    -Jimmy

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  3. I write with the american spelling because when I don't I have people pointing it out as typos (seriously…) but I refuse to write grey as gray!! It just looks yucky and miserable to me *lol* weird I know! But gray = a yucky drizzly day and grey = beautiful slate or gorgeous grey eyes *swoon* that sort of thing! ;p

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  4. I'm a grammar fan, too, Louise – thanks for an entertaining post! I'm in your group in the platform-building campaign and wanted to say hello. I'm looking forward to getting to know you and your work! 🙂

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  5. Hi Eliza, glad you liked the post and I'm pleased to “meet you”, lol.

    I've just started a review for another Indie title and I'm pulling out my hair to find something nice to say about it. I don't want to come across as mean, but they are making it VERY hard for me to be nice! Has grammar gone out of fashion or something? Grrrr

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