Friday, May 29, 2009

Where in the Hell Did that Good Title Go that I Thought of in the Shower?

Cutting down on showers hasn't helped me remember all my brilliant ideas—but it has cut down the social invitations that distract my brilliant thinking

For me, one of the sticky parts of having a writing business is whether or not to adhere to arcane usage and grammar. You run the risk of people (namely your clients) thinking you made a mistake, and then you get into a whole big rigamarole of not offending anyone while explaining why it's not "between you and I" but rather "between you and me."

That's not even arcane, that is basic grammar (me is the object of the preposition between). I think Bill Clinton, Hillary's husband, got everyone screwed up on the "me and I" bit. He used "I" all the time.

I am speaking more of items like "whet one's appetite." Of course we think it is "wet" because we think of mouth watering. And (oops! starting a sentence with a conjunction), if I had not been corrected by some nitpicker who had the time to email me, I would not know that "whet" means to sharpen, like a whetstone sharpens knives.

So, do I insist upon the use of "whet" or go with "wet"? I should use "whet one's appetite" and let the client make the decision. It doesn't matter how uncomfortable it may be to correct someone, especially if they hired you.