Tuesday 30 June 2009

Blaming and Practice

I've just started reading Elizabeth Taylor's last novel, Blaming, which was published posthumously. It's a good thing she didn't live to see the publisher's blurb on the back of the paperback, which begins 'While on holiday in Istanbul, tragedy strikes...' One can almost visualise Taylor, a fastidious stylist, wincing at the dangling participle - though it's the kind of thing we've now learnt to expect, in this age of semi-literate publishing. Something that makes me wince is the use of 'practice' as a verb. This often occurs throughout 'English' editions of American books - presumably as a result of a computer programme substituting 'practice' for 'practise' throughout, regardless of whether the word's being used as a verb or a noun. Whatever happened to copy editing?


  1. "Tragedy Takes a Holiday" - not a bad title for, say, a crime thriller.

  2. Trubble is, Nige, the internet is not really the write plaice to worry about grammer and speling and things up with witch you will not put.

  3. I suspect copy-editing ran out of money. The pay is awful. If the sentence is spelled correctly, "Jesus is alive and well and lives in Wolverhampton with his best friend Kermit the Frog" is pretty likely to be passed straight over. I once saw a manuscript which had come back from editing: it had Hitler as born during the Napoleonic Wars and Beethoven still going strong in 1945, by which time he must have been really really deaf.

  4. Quickly glanced at your first three lines there Nige and thought "bloody hell, how on earth did I miss her demise" and then realized, it's not that Liz, silly.

    Must stop aging so quickly.

    "They kept on coming, coming, the sun was harsh, hard, they kept on coming, they devoured him, devoured. Sebastian, Sebastian."

    That Liz Taylor.

  5. Nige,

    At least one other person in the world reads Elizabeth Taylor! Soul clap hands and sing! Which is your favorite? (Hint: it’d better be The Soul of Kindness, or we’re no longer friends.)

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