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Pedants' corner

Proof reading?

(77 Posts)
sodapop Mon 29-Jul-19 19:03:08

I am currently reading a thriller written by a very well known and prolific author.
The story has a thread running through it about a group of vigilantes who mete out their own justice and the group is called " The Just Deserts"

I am finding this so irritating every time it crops up in the book. What happened to proof readers ?

Urmstongran Mon 29-Jul-19 19:25:21

Maybe ‘The Chocolate Pots’ didn’t seem tough enough?

M0nica Mon 29-Jul-19 20:04:52

Perhaps the Just deserted.

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 20:15:17

Am I thick? (Don’t answer that!)
What do you want it to be?

Calendargirl Mon 29-Jul-19 20:16:57


Jangran99 Mon 29-Jul-19 20:49:37

desert or desserts ?

Deserts, in the sense of 'things deserved' has been used in English since at least the 13th century. A citation in which it is linked with 'just' comes from 1599, in Warning Faire Women:
"Upon a pillory - that al the world may see, A just desert for such impiety.

sodapop Mon 29-Jul-19 20:49:59

Should be Just Desserts Maw

Urmstongran gringrin

Jangran99 Mon 29-Jul-19 20:57:58

The expression meaning that which is deserved^was originally ^just deserts. The phrase is the last refuge of an obsolete meaning of desert—namely, something that is deserved or merited. But because most modern English speakers are unfamiliar with that old sense of desert, the phrase is often understandably written just desserts.

Using just desserts is not a serious error, and it is much more common than just deserts in 21st-century texts. Some people still consider it wrong, however. Whether to pay this any heed is for each of us to decide for ourselves.

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:05:11

NO IT SHOULDN’T sodapop unless you mean puddings!

Deserts = what is deserved
Desserts are puddings gringrin

FarNorth Mon 29-Jul-19 21:08:58


MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:09:55

To use desserts instead of deserts is, IMO hardly a negligible mistake - it is a whole different word.
Like “tow the line” instead of “toe the line” (line up sideways with your toes touching a straight line)
Or “reign back” instead of “rein back” ie pull back on the reins and nothing to do with being a king or queen.
Basically if people don’t know a word they should either find out or just not use it.

FarNorth Mon 29-Jul-19 21:10:32

Not worth shouting about, all the same.

How about the Caramel Crusaders?

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:11:57

Oh it is (bangs head against wall) - why start a thread complaining about something which has been right all along?

FarNorth Mon 29-Jul-19 21:12:09

Clearly, people usually think they do know the word.

Avenging Blancmanges?

FarNorth Mon 29-Jul-19 21:16:05

I've been having a good laugh about it all anyway, which will have extended my life a little.

Clotted Comeuppance?

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:37:15

Did anybody else’s children enjoy a book called “Basil the Great Mouse Detective” ?
Maybe it should be renamed “The Great Mousse Detective? “
Oh dear sodapop you must be really blushblush

sodapop Mon 29-Jul-19 21:37:50

But it just looks so wrong

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:48:17

Sometimes any word can look wrong if you look at it long enough - even “the” but the etymology of this word shows why it is the way it is.
You could always check in a dictionary first if you are not sure.

grannyqueenie Mon 29-Jul-19 21:50:20

You’re correct maw! Although according to Mr Google many people these days are unfamiliar with “deserts” in this context so using “desserts” in this phrase has become acceptable! Who knew, not me! 😬

sodapop Mon 29-Jul-19 21:53:50

Well thank you for that Maw who would have thought of a dictionary.
I thought I was right so clearly no need to check the dictionary.
I now know I got it wrong, thank you to those of you who explained without being patronising.

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:55:43

I am sorry I had no intention of being patronising!
I often have recourse to a dictionary, online or real when I have seen something wrong so often that I begin to doubt myself.
Why is that “patronising”?

MawBroonsback Mon 29-Jul-19 21:58:21

And seriously, if I was going to make an issue out of something, I would check my facts first.

sodapop Mon 29-Jul-19 22:01:36

Ok Maw I give in. I will strive for perfection in all my dealings with Gransnet in future.

MawBroonsback Tue 30-Jul-19 05:03:29

As probably the editor or proofreaders at the publishers of your book did.
Who was the “well known and prolific author”?

absent Tue 30-Jul-19 05:34:35

For the record, dessert is not strictly speaking pudding; it consists of the fruit and nuts that follow pudding. Of course, we all eat four- or five-course dinners which end with dessert (as above) before the ladies leave the gentlemen to their port.