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This topic might seem a little elementary to some of you. I can almost see you shaking your heads and raising your hands in exasperation, “Why, Michelle, must we endure one of your tirades on proper word usage?” My answer, gentle reader, is that many of our Urban authors are misusing entirely too many words! Well, the exclamation point at the end of that last sentence was probably over kill but this is an issue in Urban writing, a serious issue.
Misuse of words can range from simple errors, such as using they’re (they are) when the correct word would be their (possessive) or there (place), to misuse of words due to misunderstanding a definition. For example, there is one author whose work I’ve reviewed who repeatedly used the word spurned[i] when a better word might have been spurred[ii]. A sentence may have read something like this:
Jesse was spurned to action by the memory of her best friend lying on the floor gasping for air.
Some people would say I’m nitpicking about the word usage issue. Maybe we should just accept these errors as a fact of life and move on to enjoy the book. I have two issues with that line of thinking: 1) Poor word usage and improper grammar can be distracting to the reader, thereby diminishing the quality of his/her reading experience; and 2) Urban authors must realize that excellence will only be achieved by producing a book that is as technically sound as it is entertaining and/or profound.