Sunday, October 01, 2006

Behold! For I Am A Grammar Snob!

So, I picked up this book from work (the local library -- find yours and support it!) the other day with high hopes. I've been on a big ol' non-fiction kick lately because I love learning about stuff I never learned in school (stupid "college track" high school education meant that World History wasn't on the course list). I knew that Charlemagne existed and was pretty cool and unified ... um, places that were disparate (?) and was a Holy Roman Emperor. That is all I knew.

I started reading the book and the first thing I saw was a selected genealogy of Charlemagne's family. Nothing I like better than a good genealogy (seriously, it's my other hobby), so the book was looking good. The next thing I saw was a time line of the rise and fall of the Carolingian (Charlemagne's) Empire, with a column for what was going on in France, the Byzantine Empire, Western Christendom, and the Islamic World. Very awesome--I really like knowing what was going on elsewhere outside of the main story. This is something else that was never really covered in school -- the fact that history is a bunch of interrelated stories and that the Western world did not exist in isolation.

Then, on page 1 of the Introduction, catastrophe befell my reading. The author wrote "They and myriads of other Europeans..." Myriads of other. No. No, my friend, this is not correct. The word myriad is like the word many, in that it doesn't get pluralized. It also doesn't get a preposition tacked on the end of it. It should have read "They and myriad other Europeans..."

And now, I don't know if I can finish the book. I read that sentence and became disgusted with the author (about whom [look! proper grammer used pompously to show that I know how to use it!] I know little, except that he has written many [not manys!] historical biographies and books about, well, stuff we didn't learn in school) and haven't read any further.

Which is a shame, because it looks like the book could be quite good. Perhaps I should abandon my high moral grammar horse and just enjoy the book? Does anyone else have issues like this when they read? Am I the only over-principled reader?


Alison said...

Love the shirt. Is it yours?

Yes. That bothers me, too, when I see it. But, I say keep going and see what you think. Remember that it could just be that the author wrote the introduction in a hurry to make a deadline (likely after slaving over the rest of the book for years) and that it could be that he or she didn't catch the mistake, and that it also slipped by the copyeditor and/or proofreader (especially since there is less and less time devoted to that in publishing these days, I should know I tried to get a job doing it for quite a while).

That being said, if you still keep seeing stuff like that throughout the book, well, might be time to choose another, and perhaps just copy the genealogy and timeline so you have it to refer to. ;) Personal use!

KSD said...

Not at all! How can you take anything else seriously when there's a mistake like that on the first page? You'll not read, you'll just scan for errors.

femiknitter said...

I'm with you too, and unfortunately, most books have at least one (usually more) major errors inside. I usually circle them (really), but keep reading. If not, you miss out on too many good books! I only put a book down if there are so many grammatical problems that it's distracting. But, of course, I am a snob.

Heather said... misspelled "grammar". :-D I find this deeply entertaining. ([look! proper grammer used pompously etc.) Snerk!

I'm so going to steal that shirt someday.

And yeah, I have a terrible time with that as well. Drives me bonkers. And then I type like I talk, which is questionable. But anyway.

SheCrochets said...

I love the shirt. I must have the shirt!

And if you are interested, you should keep reading. Just blame the bad grammar on an incompetent editor!

KathyMarie said...

Oh my god, I'm totally leaving "grammer" in there as a monument to pompousness (pompousity?)! I think I'm so grammarily better, then I make a stupid spelling error. Wheee!

The t-shirt: gift from a friend who found it at a comic-con. I loves it.

Kate_knits_a_bit said...

I nitpick the Random Apostrophe, which may be seen wandering around shop signs, menus, advertising posters and newspaper articles. My hubby eventually asked what the rules are because I insisted on editing his job application letters ;)

Yvonne said...

The Random Apostrophe is THE WORST. I have no idea how people come to think that you add apostrophes to pluralize.

Renee said...

Yup, I've got those issues too (even though I'm fully aware that I'm no expert).