Being home has given me entirely too much time to discover the atrocious use of language touted as English. This needs explanation.
I edit, copyedit or proof [whatever you call it], and encourage others to write. In my journeys as an editor, I'm aware I will encounter many, make that most, who have little knowledge of the proper use of the English language. Fine. My job is to gently nudge them to proper application without their cognizance of my efforts.
I get it -- English is boring.
English also spices up our everyday speech -- all those swear words that slip from your lips have a beginning -- and English opens channels of communication. My mother was the poster child for being able to stop an action by giving "the look". She commented, on more than one occasion, a person could make their dissatisfaction known without resorting to swear words. Hence, the look.
All of this gobbledegook is a segue to the following peeve: if you purport to be an expert of a certain skill, prove it by practicing what you preach.
I am finding writing experts who should take a few lessons from their own pages. This time the skill is the ability to describe an action, scene, person without the use of 'like'. Do you hear that sound? It's my teeth grinding together. Let me provide a quick example.
Lizbeth's eyes sparkled with excitement, like fireworks on the 4th of July.
[I don't know about you, but all I see are the fireworks, not Lizbeth's eyes.]
Now: Lizbeth's eyes sparkled with excitement.
[I believe I can see her excitement. How about you?]
Entirely too many writers feel the need to extend their description by 'like' phrases. Figure out what catches your attention about the phrase and use it in your description.
Leave the 'like' phrases to the 8th graders.
Mistress of the Red Ink Pen