Thin Air by Robert B. Parker (Sort of a Book Review)

Thin Air (Spenser, #22)Thin Air by Robert B. Parker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I ate another donut. Susan had explained to me that they were not healthful, and while I was in favor of healthful, rice cakes and coffee didn’t do it on a stakeout.

Oh my God, Robert B. Parker, I love you! Even more than before, I love you! Thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Why? For correctly saying healthful instead of healthy. I have bitched about this before, here and here. I will explain it again: Something that is healthy is in a good state of health. Something that is healthful promotes good health. So it goes without saying we want to eat healthy food, most of us not wanting to eat food that is crawling with E. coli bacteria, but what the world is really trying to say with such bad grammar is that they want to eat healthful food.

Another reason to love Robert B. Parker, and there are many. I’m not even going to review the book, as it is a very good book, as almost all of his books are. This one doesn’t have Hawk in it, but I also haven’t seen any mouth-kissing the dog, so that balances out. I’m going to go reread those couple of wonderful sentences again before I have to return this to the library.

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Your making me nauseous. Updated.

I don’t know what it is of yours that makes me inspire barf in other people, but there it is.

I’m about to land on your terrible grammar. Snark warning.

1.  Free kitten’s. A free kitten is what? A free kitten is happier? Feistier? Better than an expensive kitten? Or are we talking about something belonging to the kitten that I’m getting for free? A free kitten’s tail? Free kitten’s fur? Gross.

Apostrophes are just not that hard. An apostrophe (1) takes the place of a missing letter or (2) shows ownership. The kitten’s cute. The kitten’s fur is soft. Kitten’s=kitten is. Kitten’s also=belonging to the kitten.

If you want to make it plural, just add the s (or es). No apostrophe. Free kittens. That’s it.

Except for it’s. There is no plural of itIt’s is the contraction for it is. Possession for it has no apostrophe. The kitten is eating its food because it’s hungry.
It’s not the quantum consciousness hypothesis or Fermat’s Last Theorem. You can learn something that takes less than six inches of type space to explain.
2.  They’re and its companions their and there are not that hard either. Really.

The apostrophe in they’re indicates a missing letter: they’re=they are.

There. Think “here,” location, and at add the “t” to make its partner, “there.” (Same with adding a “w” to make “where,” again referring to location.)

 That leaves one: Their=belonging to them.

They’re enjoying their party over there.

3.  Partner to the they’re/their/there mishmash is you’re/your. Again, not that hard. “You’re” is missing the “a” from “you are.” Your=of or belonging to you. Simple. You’re displaying your ignorance.
4.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda. “You should of whatever blah blah…” Gaaaahhh!  This one makes me gnash my teeth. It’s should have, people. You don’t say, “I of shopped at that store before.” You say, “I have shopped at that store before.” Same thing. You have done it, you should have done it. I see writers arguing that common use makes it correct by adaptation. I disagree. Common use doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong. That’s like changing what time the workday starts to accommodate people who can’t be bothered to get their lazy butts in on time.
5.  Begging the question. Hint: It has nothing to do with asking a question.

“Begging the question” comes from the Latin petitio principii, “assuming the initial point.” It is a circular form of reasoning wherein one of the arguments is used as the conclusion and “the question” is the entire issue being debated. Examples include “Abortion is wrong because it is murder” or “Abortion should be legal because it isn’t murder.” Both of those are using a debate point as the conclusion of an argument about the question of abortion. To beg the question is to commit a logical fallacy by assuming something that can’t be assumed.

What you probably mean to say is, “This leads to the question…” or “This raises the question…” When in doubt follow the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
6.  Quit making me nauseous. Nauseous is not how you feel. Nauseous is the quality of inducing nausea. The classroom where I learned that had nauseous green walls.  If you are nauseous, you make other people want to hurl.
Again, I am aware that some dictionaries have given in to the “popular usage” theory, wherein consistent incorrect usage morphs the wrong into right. See #4. It’s like saying it’s OK for a guy to beat his wife the 18th time because he’s done it 17 times before and other people do it too.
Ain’t is a colloquialism, not a word. The dictionary has colloquialisms in it too.

We don’t even really need nauseous. The bases are nicely covered by nauseating and nauseated. The nauseating misuse of words has left me nauseated. Therefore, I propose that you have to have a license to say nauseous. Two strikes. Licensed users who misuse it will lose their licenses. Non-licensed users will be executed at dawn.

7. Healthy. Eat healthy food. Of course I want to eat healthy food. I don’t want to eat diseased food, do I? Healthy means in a state of good health. Healthful means contributing to or promoting a state of good health. We should eat healthful food so we will be healthy.
I’m afraid this bad language usage is far too ingrained, even among people with doctorate degrees, to ever be corrected, but it’s going to continue to piss me off, and I’m going to continue to put my two pennies in whenever I hear it.
8. I could care less. Aaarrrgghh! Wrong, wrong, wrong. When you say you could care less, you are somewhere above 0 on the caring scale, which means you do care, at least a little bit.  You mean to say you don’t care at all, right? If you don’t care at all then on the caring scale you’re at a 0. There is nothing less than 0, so you can’t go less. I couldn’t care less.
9. Speaking of less raises the question of less and fewer. (See what I did there? Clever, right?)Less is for something that can’t be easily numerated or measured, like air or caring. Fewer is for something you can realistically count. Sarah has fewer kittens than Joan, but she couldn’t care less.

10. Aweeeeeeeee or loveeeeeeeeeeeee. I’m not sure why this irritates the crap out of me, but it does. Sound it out. Do you really mean to say “awe-wheeeeeeee, isn’t that cute” or “I love-eeeeeeeeee” you”? No. You probably mean to say, “Aaaaawwwww, that’s cute,” or “I loooooooooove you.” I write for fun and I’m all about making up words and monkeying with them to emphasize my point, but make it so it has sense to it.
11. Expresso. There is no “x” in this word. It’s espresso. Only Dire Straits can get away with this mistake, with the bitchin’ song “Expresso Love,” and that’s been done now. If you’re Mark Knopfler, please leave a comment. I guarantee I will think it’s cool.

12. Irregardless. This isn’t even a word. Regardless is the opposite of regard. Irregardless is the opposite of…irregard?

13.  Text language. This is more of a laziness gripe than a grammar gripe. Text and chat abbreviations do not belong in other writings. My acceptance of “how r u” in a text message has become more grudging with the advent of qwerty and swype keyboards, which greatly negate the convenience of such shortcuts. Abbreviations like that are inappropriate for emails, social media comments and posts, letters and the like, period. It makes you look lazy. It’s difficult to read and I don’t bother.

I will, however, give you half – HALF – of a cleverness point if you’re using “ur” to disguise the fact that you don’t know the difference between you’re and your.

This will do for today. I like to spread my bitching out, like jam on toast.

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UPDATE
Oh my God, I forgot “supposably!” Selective amnesia, maybe? “Supposably” was part of the grounds for one of my divorces. The correct word is supposedly.
This grammar gaffe has altered my neural pathways and created a hardwired response in my brain so that it now compels me to take half the furniture and file for a restraining order. If you say “supposably,” we can’t be friends.
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Photo credit in order of appearance:
Apostrophe Abuse: Martha Soukup via Flickr Creative Commons
Dictionary: Flickr: alexbrn/Creative Commons