“This book is about….”

In the era where Fifty Shades and mass-market novels detailing the seduction of zombies dominate the NYT Best Sellers lists, I’ve grown to expect little from a lot of the “literature” surrounding me.

Many times, I know my personal expectations are too high.  I’m an editor— it’s to be expected.

Regardless, I’d like to think that the basics of the English language (you know, the grammatical aspects drilled into your mind through the first eight years or so of American schooling) should stick.  Punctuation and capitalization, for example:  if you can’t begin a sentence with a capital letter and end with a period (yes, even online), you probably shouldn’t be writing much.

In a similar vein falls another pet peeve of mine, as displayed in my recent reading of “Discovering Out Past:  A Brief Introduction to Archaeology.”
“This book is about archaeology and how archaeologists conduct their work to better understand the past” reads page four.

I realize that not everyone majors in English.  Heck, the general population continues to struggle with homophones.  In no circumstances, however, should anyone write out exactly what their piece is about — particularly in something being written for publication!

Whatever your discipline, this should be inherent in your writing.  Your reader isn’t stupid:  he/she didn’t pick up Pride and Prejudice expecting to read about puppies.

Your title should say this.  Your words should imply this.

3 thoughts on ““This book is about….”

  1. Emily says:

    THANK YOU. While I am not an English major, much of my work involves writing – whether for class assignments, pleasure, or work. I also enjoy reading for pleasure. I cannot count the number of typos I have found in professional, published works. I’ve even found grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in textbooks! It makes me incredibly (perhaps irrationally) upset. While I understand that everyone makes mistakes, proofreading is so important!

    Liked by 1 person

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