Apparently . . .

Today I’m going to keep it short and just take a look at one word: Apparent. This word means “seeming.” I’ve said this before: even though we may say certain phrases in conversation and it’s accepted, that doesn’t make it okay to use it in your writing (unless you want a character to say this incorrectly, on purpose).  Dialogue and even internalizing allows for characters to say and think things that are grammatically incorrect.

In one of my novels I have a jerky character who always says “sayings” wrong. I had him yell to another person, “Why don’t you crawl back under that rock you came out of?” My line editor corrected me and said it made no sense, and she missed the point I had made him look like an idiot on purpose.

But that’s characterization, and this is the “real” world of correct usage of the English language, so . . .

You can’t die of an “apparent” heart attack (although it seems many characters in novels do!). You can apparently die of a heart attack.

She is dead of an apparent suicide.

She apparently died of suicide.

Apparently, most people don’t know this is the correct usage for the word apparent.


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