I Can’t Take Any More of This! I Can’t Take It Anymore!

Early Saturday on my balcony. September. Over the horizon, the sun idles, seemingly as cool as the morning air. My coffee steams. I treasure this time for reading and shouldn’t let anything spoil my enjoyment of an entertaining tale. Yet even the smallest editing mistakes can do just that.

When the scene above played out, I was reading a horror anthology on my Kindle, where one can expect to find a host of errors: missing hyphens, random hyphens, words run together, and other such issues. (To be fair, some e-books are better edited and formatted than others, and this is a problem with e-books in general and not with any particular device.)

The errors, though, were particularly bothersome because they occurred in a story written by a crime writer of immense talent. It’s much easier to dismiss these kinds of glitches when you’re not thoroughly enthralled by the story.

The first error was the misuse of anymore, which is properly employed as an adverb: “I don’t eat meat anymore.” However, when used as an adjective, one should write it as two words: “I can’t eat any more meat.”

The other thing that caught my eye (and took me out of the book!) was an incorrect punctuation mark. An apostrophe is used to indicate the omission of letters, such as in the contraction can’t. When letters are omitted at the beginning of the word, such as with ’Stang (if, for instance, you wanted to shorten Mustang), then you place an apostrophe at the beginning of the word. You do not place a single opening quote; the apostrophe always faces in the same direction and always looks like a single end quote.

The difficulty is that word-processor programs assume that you want a single opening quote even when you want an apostrophe, so pasting in the proper mark requires a little bit of effort. I know of one reader, however, who will appreciate that effort, and he’s sitting in my chair. ’Tis true!

Fall Reading: I’ve decided to wait (or at least attempt to wait) until January to read the two most recent books in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Reading those novels in the dead of winter is too delicious a prospect to pass up. I’m currently reading the gonzo horror novel John Dies at the End by David Wong and am fairly salivating at the thought of two upcoming releases: Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and Justin Cronin’s The Twelve. Both are major publishing events. I’ve already placed my order for the signed, limited edition of The Twelve being released by Cemetery Dance, who produced a beautiful edition of the book’s predecessor, The Passage.

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