I suppose a lot of hater mail will magically appear in my in-box as a result of this post, but that’s never stopped me before.
I’m noticing the misuse of compound words to mean something the word itself doesn’t.
Anyway, anything, something, however, and so on. The keys are hidden someplace around here, but there are some PLACES where keys can become lost forever. Anytime is fine with me, but is there ever any TIME in your busy day to get it all done?
Anyway as a compound and any way. Sometimes as a compound and some time. These words mean two different things depending on the way they’re written, so it makes sense to understand the differences.
It takes less than 10 seconds to look this stuff up online, too, if you’re not into libraries or textbooks for answers to very basic grammar.
Being young once myself, I remember a particular instance in a creative writing class. It was first hour and I tended to arrive a few minutes late every morning. This meant the teacher wasn’t my biggest fan. Anyway (one word), the first ten minutes were always spent writing free-form. I was inspired and just wrote, wrote, and wrote some more (two words).
As the ten minutes drew to a close, I glanced over my amazing thoughts when horror of horrors, I saw that I hadn’t capitalized a single word. This was pen on paper days, mind you. Terrified, I ran up to said teacher’s desk, interrupted his coffee and Freep reading to show him what I’d done. Without a chance to tell him how sorry I was for being that absentminded, or that it wasn’t intentional, that man yanked the notebook from my hand and proceeded to chew me out for being lazy, childish, and not thinking.
Talk about being shamed and embarrassed. Butt-head. I went back to my desk with my tail between my legs and felt every eye in that room upon me, too. I knew I made a mistake, and he didn’t give me a chance to explain. At least I knew I’d made a mistake, and with or without his thoughtful guidance instead of being a dick, I knew it wasn’t acceptable to write the way I had.
Mistakes happen. But, when flaws become consistent in published manuscripts, then I have to assume someone just doesn’t know or care about the rules of English. They should, though, if they want to be taken seriously. I’m not talking bloggers, diary writers, and casual musings on the internet. I’m talking published novels. If you want me to read your work and buy it, it better be worth all that effort or forget it.
I still chalk a majority of this confusion up to laziness. A so what attitude that comes with age and goes with age. Being mature and realizing, like I did all those years ago in that creative writing class, that I was being lazy, half-asleep actually, and just didn’t think much about anything other than getting my daydream on paper.
Had it been something utterly profound and worth putting into print, then of course I’d have gone back and rewritten it to look and sound that way. It’s called taking pride in ones own work. I do take pride in my writing, and I’d be ashamed to have my readers struggling to make sense of the things I write because the words I choose to butcher leave them scratching their heads in wonderment.
I adore the fact that young people are reading and writing. I think it’s amazing considering the doomsday statistics that tend to lean in the opposite direction of what I’m actually seeing with my own eyes. I get that you’re new to this game and aren’t privy to all the rules, and bless your young hearts for trying despite the piss-poor education you’ve received in America.
I’m sorry on behalf of every young one out there who strives to become a novelist but hasn’t got the basic tools of the trade at their disposal. If I could obtain a piece of paper, I’d be the first to set up a school and help you all become successful at your craft.
In the meantime (one word), why not think about taking more pride in your writing? After all of the effort and hard work you’ve gone through to get where you are, doesn’t it make sense to want your readers to know that it’s actually true and that you didn’t just slap something together in a few hours, upload it to LuLu, and charge $5.99 to every unsuspecting sucker who comes along?
Think about it. Please. And, cannot is ONE word, not two. Make it easy on your poor readers, and just vow to do right by them. They deserve your effort if you think you deserve their money.