• Pauline George

My pet hates when reading

As a writer I try hard to avoid certain things when I’m writing and because of that I notice these things when I’m reading.


This is a big one for me. In a book I was reading recently the phrase ‘she deepened the kiss’ occurred several times. So many, in fact, that I began to wonder if there was a template for the foreplay and it was trotted out each time there was a sex scene. I’m not saying I’m a brilliant writer and that I never fall in to the repetition trap, but I do think the editing should have picked it up. The book would have been so much better, but that is only my personal opinion.


Is one word I really hate to read in the context of a sex scene. It grates on me and puts me right off reading that particular bit. I won’t get pedantic, oh bugger it, I will. Suckling: an infant or a young animal that is not yet weaned.

So, you can see why I hate it. ‘Her mouth closed over a nipple and she suckled it’ no, it does absolutely nothing for me. ‘Her mouth closed over a nipple and sucked it in to her mouth’ now that, for me, is so much better. Suckling makes me think of a baby at its mother’s breast, and that is definitely not sexy!


DRUG is another word that irritates me. I don’t mean a drug as in aspirin or such. I mean when people use it as a past tense of drag, which is actually dragged. Please, can anyone tell me why anyone would use drug instead of dragged. Yes, I do know it’s a simple past tense version of drag, according to a popular online dictionary I use.

And then there’s DOVE. No, not the bird. Dove used as a past tense version of dive which is usually dived. Again, yes, I do know dove is a simple past tense of dive but personally I prefer dived and dragged they sound better, and it is my blog! According to the popular online dictionary they are: Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. Nonstandard. So, whilst we all speak English it’s a different English and maybe it grates at times but vive la difference.



I like sex. I like to read about sex. But it has to be in context. It has to move the story along. It shouldn’t be gratuitous. Some books I read it seems there’s a sex scene every couple of chapters and, personally, I can see no reason why. I wonder if it could be to pad out the book. But then surely the editing would weed that out.


For me, and I’m sure many other readers, to enjoy a book the prose and dialogue has to flow. I’ve read many books where this doesn’t happen. Instead of flowing the words seem stilted and jerky. For example, ‘should not’, for me, doesn’t flow the way ‘shouldn’t’ does. Of course, within the context of making a point the first one is sometimes the best way to go.

But in general terms shortened words are what we all use every day when we’re talking. So why don’t we use it in our writing? I wonder if word count may have something to do with it. The one word ‘don’t’ is beaten by the two word ‘do not’. I’m sure it’s not really the case.

These are my pet hates and they are personal to me and not the thoughts of anyone else and they aren’t meant to have a dig, well may be a little dig, but mostly just my observations.

Do they bother you too? How do you feel about the use of the English language?

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Pauline George