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02 August 2017

The Return Of Esme, The Most Annoying Life Coach Ever | IWSG August


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"What are your pet peeves when reading / writing / editing?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. If you want to see how I answered the question, have a look below.

The co-hosts for this month are Christina Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Yvonne Ventresca, LG Keltner and yours truly. Try to pop by and visit my co-hosts' blogs - they're awesome people!


****


I heard a knock on the side of my sailboat, followed by a voice singing out, "Yoo-hoo! Is anyone home?"

I knew that overly chipper voice. It belonged to only one person - the overly chipper, annoying life coach, Esme. I started to clear everything out of my fridge with the thought of hiding in there so that she wouldn't find me, but she was too quick for me.

"There you are," Esme said as she made her way down the companionway. She peeked into the galley and noticed the milk on the counter. "Wonderful idea, lets have some coffee while we talk. Extra milk in mine, please."

Esme sat on the settee and looked at me expectantly. If there's one thing I've learned about dealing with Esme is that it's easier to give in. She calls herself tenacious. I call it something completely different, but I'm too polite to repeat it here.

I poured two cups of coffee and set them on the table, along with a plate of snickerdoodle cookies. "What brings you here, Esme?"

"A little birdie told me that you need some help answering this month's IWSG question." She took a sip of coffee and picked up a cookie. "I'm glad to see you're using full-fat milk now instead of that horrid skim stuff you used to serve."

"Would that little birdie happened to be named Simon?" I quickly grabbed a cookie before Esme ate all of them.

"You know that I can't tell you that. In my line of work, keeping what people say confidential is important." She picked up a toy mouse lying next to her and asked, "By the way, where is Simon?"

"He's at the vet getting his claws trimmed. He got a little grumpy when I tried to do it." I held up my arm and showed her the scratch marks Simon had left in an effort to make his views on trimming his claws crystal clear.

"Ooh, that looks like it hurts," she said. "But enough of trying to avoid what we're here to discuss. Let's get down to business, shall we? Now, how about telling me what your pet peeves are when it comes to reading, writing and editing."

"Huh? You're the one who asked about Simon. Besides, I didn't ask for your help. You barged in here."

Esme peered at me over the top of her glasses while she wiped away snickerdoodle crumbs from the side of her mouth.

I sighed. "Fine, anything to make you go away."

"See, we're making progress," she said. "Keep pushing past those barriers of yours and tell me the first thing that pops into your mind."

That's when I noticed that Esme was wearing a bracelet with a large horseshoe charm. She probably had lots of horse figurines as a girl. I don't really like horses, but sometimes sucking up to Esme is a sure-fire way to get her off of your back.

"I hate it when people write free reign instead of free rein. It sticks out on the page like a sore thumb when I'm reading. How could they possibly mix up reins on a horse with the reign of a king or queen? It's like a slap in the face to horses everywhere."

Esme smiled and patted my hand. "I know what you mean. Some people just aren't horse people. Not like we are."

"Speaking of horses, I bet you need to get going so that you're not late to your riding lesson."

Esme looked at her watch, grabbed her handbag, swiped the last snickerdoodle and rushed up on deck. She yelled back down the companionway, "Great session, dear. You made some real breakthroughs. Until next time!"

****

I'm not great with spelling and grammar, so I'm not sure why I always notice when people use free reign, when they should say free rein. You know, as in giving a horse free rein to do what he wants. It's surprising as I rarely notice any other spelling or grammatical mistakes, especially my own. If I can get annoyed by the use of free reign, it kind of frightens me to think about how annoyed people must get when they read what I write and see all of my mistakes.

What are your pet peeves when you're reading, writing or editing? What are your other pet peeves in life?

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132 comments:

  1. Love the Esme-the-life-coach story :-) Some things stick with us, like the right way to spell certain words, and they just pop up from the page when we read (whether they're right or wrong).

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    1. I don't know why that one sticks with me so much. I rarely see any other mistakes like that.

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  2. I love your posts. They always make me hungry as I love snickerdoodles, and cookies! I had never thought about reign and rein before. But I agree, don't mix up those words. I hope you have a great rest of your week Ellen and thank you for cohosting today. :)

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    1. Snickerdoodles are the best! Well, after chocolate chip cookies, that is.

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  3. Hi,
    Excellent post and I love it. It says a lot. I love Ms. Esme. In fact, your presentation of this month's theme question came across beautifully.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia at Everything Must Change

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  4. I'm getting better at grammar thanks to ProWriting.com, but I'm a homophone and have a hell of a time. Not always, but it wouldn't surprise me to use the wrong rein on my first draft or my last. *sigh*

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. I'll have to check out that site. I can use all the help I can get.

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  5. I try not to mix up words like that. Although I did screw up hangar and hanger once.

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    1. That sounds like a mistake I would make :-)

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  6. LOL. I totally understand. Truthfully, I often get tripped up by whatever new little grammar tid-bit I've recently learned. Right now it's anyways vs anyway. The first is the British use, the second the American. So basically I forgive anyone who uses the s who lives outside the US, and scowl at the American author who uses it. Lame, right?

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    1. I say anyways all the time. Didn't realize it was British. I wonder if I picked it up when I lived there/

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  7. Hahaa...I agree. It does slap a person in the face, and I've seen that error in a few books. Thank you for co-hosting this month.

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  8. Rein vs reign is one of those things I always have to check myself on. I don't know why I can't remember the difference. Sigh.

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    1. I can't figure out w,hy of all things, that one sticks with me. There are a million other homophones that I always goof up.

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  9. I try to steer clear of that. Although I know I've screwed up pique and peak in the past. But once you catch it, you never do it again. I've even seen peek and peak messed up. Ah the little things.

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    1. I've messed up peek and peak before. Sigh.

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  10. I love Esme and your creative take on this post!

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  11. I'll bet that "free reign" thing was started by Trump. Let's blame him! But seriously, I'm guilty of malapropisms whenever I open my mouth. "We're going to Toronto to see the CNN Tower!" Uh, that's CN tower. "I love the Whirlygig at Seabreeze! It's my favorite ride." You mean, Whirlwind? Right. Enuff said.

    Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. I always want to call the CN Tower the CNN Tower as well. Glad it isn't just me.

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  12. There's going to be lots of reign. Big reigns. We're going to build a wall of reign to keep the reins out.

    Okay. Tamara's comment made me channel Trump. Must stop! Bring back Esme!

    Thanks for making me smile.

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  13. I bet you'd like for her to ride off into the sunset.

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  14. Pleased to meet you, Ellen, and Scamp as well! I must confess: for years, I said "for all intensive purposes," never giving a thought to how little sense that made. Live and learn, eh?

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    1. I guess I never thought about "for all intensive purposes" either. Now that you point it out, it really doesn't make sense to me either. :-)

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  15. I enjoyed your approach to this prompt. Fun dialogue! I share your distaste for mixed up words. My pet peeves are the classics: there/their/they're; your/you're; its/it's. The worst is when I find one in MY OWN WORK! I know I know better.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. That's definitely the worst when you find the mistakes in your own work :-(

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  16. Ha! That's a good one, and one you see messed up quite often. Another one for me is the misuse of bear/bare and also, it's not 'baited' breath, unless you've been eating worms...

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    1. Yep, baited/bated breath is one of those I notice as well.

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  17. I'll bet I'm guilty of using reign vs. rein. I loved how your this post. Very engaging. Thank you for co-hosting today!

    Enjoy the rest of your week!
    Elsie

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    1. Ugh, sorry, typing with a migraine. That should read: I loved how you wrote this post.

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    2. I no what you mean about migraines and typing. I get them as well. Hope you're feeling better soon and thanks for your sweet comments :-)

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  18. Using the wrong spelling for a word can be so easy. Sometimes I have to pause and think about it before I type/write one. lol

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    1. It is such an easy mistake to make. Goodness knows I do it all the time :-)

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  19. When I'm tired, I mess up big time in my word usage. Great writing prompt!

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    1. Tiredness definitely plays a big part in it.

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  20. Using the right words (spelled correctly) is tough for most of us. I think sometimes we're thinking far faster than our fingers can type.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I blame my fingers. My brain knows the correct spelling, but my fingers constantly get it wrong :-)

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  21. Wonderful post! Esme is very much like my muse - who wears gold and silver lame and is extremely persistent.
    I hate it when people mix-up your and you're. With texting I find everyone's grammar and spelling getting extremely spotty. I can't stand it when folks say weary when they mean wary (or vice versa). I live in Labrador and there are plenty of Newfoundlanders here - they have a whole different language which is mostly fun, but sometimes grates (greats? ha!).

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    1. Gold and silver lame?! Your muse sounds very interesting :-)

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  22. Thanks for co-hosting this month. I know there was a point to all this, but if I'm being honest, I just want some cookies now. Still, I get your point. Sometimes our pet peeves are huge to us and small to others while we don't mind the huge issues at hand. I get it; don't understand it, but I totally get it.

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    1. Thanks for popping by and apologies for making you want cookies :-)

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  23. I see 'its' and 'it's' mistyped. And 'there' and 'their'. I know the difference (duh) but still my fingers type wrong. I have added those to my edit routine, as a Find and replace.

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  24. I'm so shocked when I edit my own stuff and find the there/their or the it's/its, you're/your errors. Where was my brain when I did that? Thank goodness for those keen-eyed editors. I rather like Esme. Does she freelance as a muse?

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    1. Knowing Esme, I bet she does freelance as a muse. The more people she can annoy, the better.

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  25. Ah, yes, reign vs rein. I'll admit as a child I used "reign" when I should have used "rein." (I also used "lead" when I meant "led.") But I figured it out eventually!

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  26. This was SUCH a fun post.

    I agree with you about word mix-ups like "rein" and "reign." Seeing an error along those lines ONE time in a book I can excuse as a typo, but when it's used over and over again? Not good. One book I reviewed a few years back misspelled forty as fourty for every single chapter from 40-49. I mentioned it in my review, because it drove me nuts. The book was great, but that was inexcusable. The author contacted me. In fact, she sent me a bunch of chocolates and fixed the mistake in her book. (And recruited me to proofread her next book. HA!)

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    1. Oh, that would have been awful to have found out that you made a misspelling like that consistently in your book.

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  27. I've been shocked by a few of my own slip ups over the years. I blame it on my mind being too full and in too much of a rush ... who knows! :)

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    1. It's so hard to catch your own mistakes :-(

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  28. You know, I'm not even sure which one I've used, or if I've even used either. For me, I get snagged up on leapt vs leaped. I'm so used to leapt that I have to sit and stare at the word leaped, even though I know it isn't wrong (unlike your free rein/reign).

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    1. That's the worst when you sit and stare a word and it seems wrong, but you know it isn't and then you start to doubt yourself about whether it is wrong or right.

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  29. I notice you did not serve Esme chocolate chip cookies. The unconscious; it does give one away.

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  30. That must be the most entertaining answer to the question of the month. Since I write fantasy with a king in it. I find myself writing king when I mean kind. So annoying.
    Nancy

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  31. Fun post!

    While I can somewhat deal with other people misspellings, I cannot stand going back and rereading my own writing, especially like a blog post, and seeing misspellings. I get so embarrassed for having posted with the mistake. 😳

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    1. I'm the worst when it comes to blog posts. I write them quickly and then move on without noticing all the mistakes in them. I tell myself not to worry, it's just a blog post, but it is embarrassing when I find the mistakes later.

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  32. Wonderful, Ellen! It's not hard to see why you made the "Hero Lost" anthology! Homophones perplex writers of all ages, and spellcheck has not helped! Thanks for the enjoyable tale and for co-hosting the IWSG today! enjoy!

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    1. Aww...thanks so much. I'm blushing now :-)

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  33. Thanks for the dialogue, ha. Great post! Even as an editor I've done face plants tripping over wor word mix-ups. Thanks for this, and thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. It's reassuring to know that these kind of things also happen to editors.

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  34. Smiled from beginning to end. Thank goodness, my writing coaches are better behaved than your Esme. Now, I'd sure like a snickerdoodle cookie. And thanks for using nautical terms as you puzzle out when to use reign, rein or is it rain? Cheers.

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    1. Esme is so annoying. And she eats far too many cookies :-)

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  35. The misuse of *then* when the word they are looking for is *than*. That is my peeve. Also, when I don't get any of the snickerdoodles I'd rather eat cookies, then eat cake... Wink Wink

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  36. I... don't know if I knew it was supposed to be rein. But what if they're a queen? Then can they have free reign? ;)

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    1. I think one of the reasons rein/reign is tricky is that it kind of makes sense that someone could have free reign, like a queen.

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  37. I always spell from as form. Always! Grr. I get it. :)

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  38. As an editor, I encounter homophones pretty often. Some writers don't proofread their stories before they send it to an editor, so cases like 'knew' instead of 'new' or 'there' instead of 'their' or, as in your example, 'reign' instead of 'rein' pepper the texts. It's very annoying.

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    1. Homophones sure have a way of tripping us up. I find myself mixing up there/their/they're often.

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  39. I always enjoy your stories. Esme and Simon sure know a lot about writing. LOL Homophones are tricky. On the 1st page of my latest, a sharp-eyed reader caught "rushed" when it should have been "ruched" and I swear I wrote the latter. So glad she told me before the book went to print.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

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    1. Aww...thanks for the sweet words. Esme and Simon think they know a lot about lots of things. They're pretty full of themselves. :-)

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  40. Thanks for co-hosting again, Ellen. I do have a feeling that Esme and Simon are related somehow... My biggest pet peeves are general typos, spelling and grammar mistakes. Not sure whether I have noticed the rein/reign mix-up in the past, though. I guess I"m not into horses either.

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    1. Maybe Simon takes human form at times and Esme is the result?

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  41. lol - I had a rant about reign and rein again! Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG again :)

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  42. Strangely, I read this very complaint on Twitter earlier today, combined with two other similar mistakes which, of course, I've now forgotten. I think people just get used to hearing a phrase then reproduce it without ever thinking what it actually means.

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    1. I think that's true - you see something so many times you just assume it's right and use it yourself.

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  43. Oh my gosh, I just love your little anecdote up there! Yes, it bothers me when people aren't careful enough to see that they are using the wrong word. Of course, I obsess too much about this. Great post. Thanks for sharing your coffee break with Esme.

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    1. Thanks for popping by and visiting with us :-)

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  44. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  45. What a creative way to share on this month's IWSG question! Love, love, love. I think I may have confused reign and rein once or twice. :P

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  46. Great post! That was so much fun to read!

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  47. Entertaining post! Loved it. :)

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  48. I can totally relate to your pet peeve - I just read that exact mistake in an ARC the other day! I also loved the premise for your post today. Very clever!

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    1. How funny you just ran across that the other day. I think it's quite a common one.

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  49. I enjoyed your post. And yes, reign/rein. It's kinda amusing when people get it wrong.

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    1. Thanks Lynda, I'm glad you enjoyed it :-)

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  50. That is too funny. I'm a high school English teacher, so I'm picky about grammar. This is why it KILLS me when I find mistakes in my own published books. I read over them 3x, so did my editor, and then it went to the copy editor before publishing . . . how did we all miss some mistakes?!

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    1. That would be really tough to find mistakes in your own books if you're an English teacher. But, I bet they're few and far between.

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  51. Hehehe! Oh Esme. Yes, I notice grammatical errors even though I can be guilty of them myself. Thankfully I have a super editor! It's a pleasure to be co-hosting with you this month. :)

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    1. It's been fun co-hosting. You get to "meet" lots of people.

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  52. I probably would have thought that it was "reign" to be honest, but now that you point it out, "rein" does make more sense.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG post!

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    1. I think "reign" sounds like it makes sense, so it's an easy mistake to make. Plus it's commonly used by people. Maybe it's one of those rules that should change and "free reign" should be considered correct as well.

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  53. Ha ha. Those homonyms trick people all the time. I often see 'peeked' when it should be 'piqued'. Or reached the 'peek' of a mountain instead of 'peak'. When they're in a book I do a double take and go cross eyed!

    Very creative way of showing grammatical errors!

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    1. The peek/pique/peak ones trips lots of folks up, including me.

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  54. Editing your own stuff is a task in itself, very easy to find little mistakes here and there. Great thoughts and very insightful indeed. Greetings!

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    1. Editing is such a hard process, especially when it comes to your own work.

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  55. I don't usually notice grammar and spelling mistakes, but like you there are one or two specific ones that always pop up for me. Intense and purposes is a big one, though that's pretty obvious.

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    1. I have to confess that intense and purposes trips me up.

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  56. Thanks for co-hosting. Love the story, too. My pet peeve steers more to comma issues, although things like rein and reign get on my nerves too. I always wonder what the editor was thinking...or not thinking.

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    1. Commas mystify me so they don't make my pet peeve list. Although, I suspect my writing makes other people's pet peeve lists due to my use (mis-use) of commas.

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  57. I need an Esme to spice up my life - no, my writing. I picked up a 'reigns' instead of 'reins' in a book I just read, and it threw me like a bucking mule. Is that because I write about horses? I realise such a 'misteak' happens as I had a 'gambling foal' in one draft. I worry that the foal is still after that Royal Flush and will appear at my book lunch........................

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    1. I'll be sure to send Esme by for a visit :-)

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    2. Can you please send some snickerdoodles before she gets here, Ellen?

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  58. Love the story, and I agree about reign/rein. But I'm also totally peeved by all the other little errors. Which means that if I find them in my own work I"m ready to explode.

    I was wondering how I'd react to Esme. Probably less politely than you do :)

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    1. Esme does have a way of rubbing people the wrong way :-)

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  59. Ahhh, I didn't get here in time to snag a snickerdoodle.

    I dislike those word usage errors myself. Why can't people tell the difference between "then" and "than"? or "effect" and "affect," "your" and "you're".

    Can't tell if its a lack of editing, or truly not knowing the meaning of their word choices.

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    1. Good point - it probably is not always editing and more assuming the word choice is right.

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  60. I'm hoping Esme doesn't pop over to my apartment. My fridge has no room whatsoever, and I know nothing of her schedule. The rein/reign peeve made me laugh out loud, for my favorite slip like that (faint/feint) led me to make a meme: "Being a writer is not for the feint of heart." Thank YOU for visiting.

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    1. Trust me, if Esme wants to track you down, she will. You can't escape her :-)

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  61. Sadly, I think the teaching on homophones and homographs is a long, lost art. Free reign - haha - I want one of those to go with my tiara! Next time, hide the snickerdoodles!

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  62. What a delightful and creative way to answer the IWSG monthly question. FYI--my daughter is a health coach, but not like Esme!! I'll have to direct her to this story. My pet peeve, like your rein-reign, is you're and your. I even see it misspelled on those huge billboard signs on the highway. Thanks for sharing this fun story and for co hosting!
    JQ Rose

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    1. It's always crazy and a bit funny when you see glaring mistakes like that on billboards and shop signs.

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  63. I'm not fond of reign and rein being confused, but I really get annoyed at there, their, and they're. I've probably goofed them up somewhere in some social media post, but I really get annoyed when it's printed.

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    1. I mess there, their and they're up all the time. Somehow it doesn't stick out as much to me as the reign/rein one does.

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  64. What a delightful way to share you peeves in story. I loved it. Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words and for popping by.

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  65. I taught homophones to my grade 9 class and included rain, rein and reign in the exam paper.

    When it comes to trad pub books, especially the Big Five, my expectations are high and I’m annoyed by typos and grammar errors. Not fair, I suppose. But I always imagine that these books have big budgets in place, and top notch editors working on the manuscripts…am I right? Maybe this is a misconception.

    Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG bloghop this month!

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    1. I guess I would expect books published by big publishers to be error free too, whereas I have a lot more sympathy for mistakes indie published books (after all that could be me one day).

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  66. Well, I just learned something. Thanks for co-hosting!

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