Saddle up, sniffles


It's sad to see the saying "Language changes over time" used as an excuse by someone in a word-heavy job who writes about horse voices in a story with a lot of screaming and a distinct lack of equines. It would be one thing if such things were only occasional errors, but multiple instances within a chapter and over several chapters is the kind of thing that makes some of this free reading material worth exactly what I'm paying for it. I don't know if these mistakes, and the frequency with which they're made, are deliberate or not; and I don't care how popular the saying is if it encourages this situation. Do these writers even know what they mean to say anymore, or do they just rely on "oh, you know what I meant, right?"

My argument isn't against popularity as such, but what that popularity brings about. In this case, it's the dissemination of bad information. When these sorts of word errors are made by someone in a position to know better about the words they use, you can bet I'm beyond disappointed that a story is what it is (another trite saying) when it could be better, and when others who read this material and see these kinds of mistakes decide that it's (not its) okay to make them too.

Consider once again the change of the word "gentleman" being a wealthy male landowner to "gentleman" being a male with polished manners and appearance: if that change happened because the secondary meaning developed out of an expectation from those who match the first definition, the change in meaning makes sense. There's at least a connection between the one and the other. But there is no sense when the mistakes come from a human who doesn't know enough to know that their spellcheck tech missed a pile of homonyms that mean something completely different from what's intended. (Scratchy throats and four-legged animals are not the same thing, and tech is fallible because of the humans behind it.) It's especially horrible from someone whose profession puts that someone in frequent contact with examples of correct word usage. And I'm not sure I want to contemplate the situation of someone who works among as well as on books who nevertheless chooses to use the wrong word.

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