I’ve told you how I feel about seeing and hearing “regard(s),” amount,” and “less” misused. After I opened the door to discuss those horrors, I noticed many more horrifying misuses lurking in the back of the writing closet.
When these words somehow make it into published writing, I shudder as if a tarantula crept across the page of my book. I groan as if a skeleton had snuggled up beside me as I read. I moan helplessly as the careless author is vampiring my blood for as long as it takes for me to read the book.
Without a clove of garlic handy, I’m at the author’s mercy if he/she has not hired a copy-editor to clean up the freaky expressions that set any reader’s teeth on edge.
Here are some of the latest horrors I’ve come across.
“Have to” is often used to mean “must,” especially in dialogue. When we say these words, the “v” sounds like “f.” It sounds like “hafto,” but for heaven’s sake, please don’t spell it like that. It is still two words (“have to”).
A similar situation happens with “supposed to” and “used to.” The correct form is not “suppose to,” “suppost to,” or even “s’post to.” Neither is it “use to,” or “useto.”
Another common mistake that makes me prickle is the use of “of” when “have” is meant. Here are some examples of what I mean:
Could of, should of, would of — these are meant to be could have, should have, would have.
While we’re at it, let’s throw in “gonna,” kinda,” “gimme,” and “wanna.” These should say “going to,” “kind of,” “give me,” and “want to.” Yes, in dialogue you may want to write “gonna,” “kinda,” “gimme,” and “wanna,” if that’s how the characters are speaking. Do it if you must, but only in dialogue.
Don’t laugh! Adult authors have published books containing these travesties of writing. These expressions live in published works even outside the borders of Transylvania.