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An open letter from a grammar pedant: [Sep. 22nd, 2003|10:17 am]
Just me.
[mood |nit-picky]

Dear Chuck Palahnuik:

On page 148 of your guide to Portland, "Fugitives and Refugees", you write:

"According to Krista Swan, event coordinator for the Oregon Zoo, most of the animals are "corpuscular", meaning they're most active at dawn or dusk."

Now Chuck, a gritty writer such as yourself probably knows the word "corpuscle" by now:

SYLLABICATION: cor·pus·cle
NOUN: 1a. An unattached body cell, such as a blood or lymph cell. b. A rounded globular mass of cells, such as the pressure receptor on certain nerve endings.
2. A discrete particle, such as a photon or an electron.
3. A minute globular particle.
OTHER FORMS: cor·puscu·lar (kôr-psky-lr) —ADJECTIVE

While it might not be entirely inaccurate to use the metaphor of an "unattached body cell" to describe the existential plight of a zoo animal, raised away from its usual pack or herd, the "active at dawn" part blows the whole thing. The word you really wanted is:

SYLLABICATION: cre·pus·cu·lar
ADJECTIVE: 1. Of or like twilight; dim: “the period's crepuscular charm and a waning of the intense francophilia that used to shape the art market” (Wall Street Journal).
2. Zoology Becoming active at twilight or before sunrise, as do bats and certain insects and birds.

The only reason I ever learned this word was having been way too into Cabaret Voltaire as a college freshman and, encountering the album 8 Crepuscule Tracks, I had to find out what the hell "Crepuscule" meant. But whoever edited your book should have known without having to be a Cabaret Voltaire fan. The editor's job is to help the writer when he confuses words, or when spellcheck goes nuts and confuses blood cells with dusk activity. As a matter of fact, LJ's spellcheck just did the same thing and suggested "corpuscular" instead of "crepuscular". A competent editor would know to tell the spellcheck when to fuck off.

Chuck, tell Crown Publishers that bad editors make a writer's fans unhappy when they fuck up the writer's text. Considering how sociopathic some of your fans seem to be, that could be dangerous were a Crown executive to run into a gang of them on a dark street. Please use your power as a literary bad boy/wunderkind to get this editor reprimanded, or at least, to get him or her a spellchecker that's worth a shit.

[User Picture]From: raspberrypie
2003-10-03 11:32 am (UTC)
that was just lovely.

and i enjoy the word corpuscle. it just sounds so... vivid.
thanks for that post :)
(Reply) (Thread)
From: mindy2mindy
2003-12-19 07:06 am (UTC)


Dear "Grammar Pedant",


"Now Chuck, a gritty writer such as yourself probably knows the word "corpuscle" by now:"........


Misuse of reflexive pronoun ("...such as yourself...")


Permanent expulsion from the National Association of Grammar Pedants.

(Reply) (Thread)