Common Errors in Fan Fiction

 I read A LOT.  My current record is 16 books in 14 days and we aren’t talking picture books.  So this means I am pretty sure about what good and correct writing is.  Do I make mistakes when writing?  Of course, I’m not perfect.  (But pretty darn close).  When reading fanfiction, there are A LOT of errors that drive me nuts and I’m not talking about incorrect use of there, their and they’re.  (If you don’t know the difference, please go find a dictionary).  Below are some common errors that I come across all too frequently and they drive me INSANE!  Please read and if I can help just one person learn something new today, well, I’ll be happier than a towel draped around Skarsies hips.  (Actually, I don’t think anyone could be that happy but you get the idea.

NOTE:  I will most likely add to this over time as I think of things or come across them.

  • Insure vs ensure.  One means to make sure if you break it, it can get fixed.  The other means you are making sure something happens.  Eg.  I like to ensure that my car is insured.  Think of it this way, if you can say ‘make sure’ then it’s probably ‘ensure’.
  •  Aisle vs isle.  One is a grocery aisle.  The other is island.
  •  Lucked out: this DOES NOT mean they had good luck.  This actually means they are out of luck.  It’s lucked in or just say lucky.  (Note:  Maybe this is just annoying to those of us still on the British side of language.  Kind of like how thong means something different….and fanny as well………..)
  •  Could care less: it’s COULDN’T care less.  It means that you care so little for this situation that it is unlikely you could care less.  If you write you could care less, it means you must still care……….
  •  Starting a paragraph/sentence with a numeral :  38 days later makes me want to stab you with a pencil.  Thirty-eight days later looks pretty and I want to pop a bow on it.
  •  Loose vs lose: one means it’s too big.  One means you can’t find and it is lost.
  •  Clothes vs Close: one is things you wear.  The other means to shut something
  •  Literally vs metaphorically:  “She literally glared daggers at him.”  Did she?  Daggers threw themselves from her eyes and imbedded themselves in him?  You mean metaphorically.  Literally means it actually happened.  “I literally fell down the stairs I was so drunk and broke the heel on my shoe.”
  •  Stationery vs Stationary:  One means pens and paper and stuff.  The other one means not moving or stopped, like in a car.  Think of it this way: stationery = paper.  Stationary = car
  •  Lied vs Laid / Lay.  “I lied down on the bed”.  Really?  You were down on the bed and you told an untruth?  No, you ‘lay’ down or he laid her down.  Say lied again and I will flood reviews with, “What?  What fib did she say?  What fib!!!  She apparently told a fib.  You said so!  She was on the bed and she apparently fibbed!!!!!.” 
  • For all intensive purposes.  Sigh.  It’s, ‘for all intents and purposes’.  Unless you are actually referring to intensive care one receives when injured, it’s intents meaning to do something on purpose, with intent.
  •  Poor neglected semi-colon.  He’s so lonely and tired of being used simply in a winky smiley…….
  • Awww vs ahh vs agggh:  Awww is when something is adorable, “Awww.  itty bitty feet!”, “Awww, he bought me flowers”.  Ah is a realisation: “Ah, that’s how he did it.”  “Ah, you are awake”.  Agh is a scream:  “Agggghhhh.  Don’t scare me like that!”


16 thoughts on “STOP MAKING MY EYE TWITCH!!!!!!

  1. Pingback: Something to cheer myself up | MissRon80

  2. Have you ran across many “could of”s? That one kills me. It’s “could have”, people!!
    Or how about “taken for granite”…………………… *head desk*
    But at least they’re not starting every other paragraph with “Forty-five minutes later…” 😉

    (If you consider the American version, “lucked out” actually DOES mean that someone has had good luck: You mean she won the lottery and ASkars asked her out? Damn, she lucked out!)

  3. Love these, though I disagreed with the “lucked out” one as well (damn American that I am!) Lucked up is also used to mean the same thing.

    How about “make due”? No…you MAKE DO with what you have! And one of my biggest pet peeves is using defiantly where they mean definitely. That one makes me want to bang my head on a hard surface!

  4. Agree with everything you wrote!
    How about:
    Kneeled its Knelt
    Lighted its Lit.
    Maybe there will always be something lost in the English translations from the rest of the world to the USA. Considering I’m from the Southern Hemisphere it gets more confusing. 🙂

  5. Your vs. You’re
    Defiantly vs. definitely
    Those really annoy me.
    Differences in English the world over makes it very confusing, especially when it’s not your first language. It was very confusing the first summer I spent in the US as a camp counsellor 10 years ago with a mix of girls from Britain, US and Australia plus a few from Germany and Iceland. A lot of funny, not to mention confusing, situations happened. I know some of the British girls got a bit offended when their riding instructor kept telling them to put their fanny in the saddle. Or the day when one of the aussies yelled through the camp to wait for her while she was looking for her thongs…and a lot of the time us non-native English speaking people were just generally confused because we don’t have the same sayings. Add in slang and then it really gets confusing!

  6. I just found your site and your insights are brilliant! I think this should be a mandatory read along with the disclaimer whenever someone decides to post something on

    • *blush* wow! Um, thanks! Thats an awesome compliment and i really appreciate it! I hope you enjoy your stay. Exits are to the front, aides and rear. Breakfast is served at 7am and there is tennis on the lawn……

  7. The lie/lay thing got me for quite a while but I think I finally have it figured out. I still struggle with affect/effect. I do look them up but sometimes the examples don’t help. So I understand your frustrations, and I think I am pretty smart, but I still make plenty of mistakes. Maybe that’s where a beta comes in handy, I don’t know. I wanted to say about lay/lie- in dialogue, when a character like Jason Stackhouse is speaking- what would you expect him to say? I would have him use it incorrectly and hope the audience understands why. In fact- in Northman’s Nanny, I had Jason say “could of,” and it made me cringe but that’s how I think he would talk. Curious if that would make you twitch? 🙂 (or did, since I think you read that chapter)

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