Also, lets not forget the various terms that are used to tell you what the genre of the book is, rather than just say what the genre is:
Sometimes I cringe, sometimes I laugh, because sometimes writers just haven’t done their homework. Speaking as an avid reader (check my Goodreads stats), it often disappoints me when I see mistakes in a book, TV show or movie. In a movie it isn’t really acceptable, they have consultants whose job it is to make sure they don’t mess up. A TV show might have a consultant who will get a call during their lunch break at their real job to confirm details, the consultant isn’t really listening because they know the scene has already been filmed and the writer has just been told to check to get them out of the director’s hair. In the book there is only the author to blame – editors could care less.
Lets not delve into those little facts and descriptions that always garner criticism, lets talk terminology. Is it too much to ask to have writers use the correct terminology for things? Unless your character is meant to be ignorant, a minute on Google (or one of the competitors) should be able to tell you that a passant is the strap on the shoulder of shirts or jackets that epaulettes are attached to and that a chevron is a ‘V’ shaped insignia that is often used to signify rank and may or may not be on the epaulette or the sleeve. This is just to cite one annoying example I have recently run across. Don’t get me started on CSI – the katana is only one of many swords made of folded steel!!
Anyway, I ran across an interesting list that shows how terminology is often misapplied just to cheer everyone up: mostly me.
1. A firefly is not a fly – it is a beetle
2. A prairie dog is not a dog – it is a rodent
3. India ink is not from India – it is from China and Egypt
4. A horned toad is not a toad – it is a lizard
5. A lead pencil does not contain lead – it contains graphite
6. A douglas fir is not a fir – it is a pine
7. A silkworm is not a worm – it is a caterpillar
8. A peanut is not a nut – it is a legume
9. A koala bear is not a bear – it is a marsupial
10. An English horn is not English and it isn’t a horn – it is a French alto oboe
11. A guinea pig is not from guinea and it is not a pig – it is a rodent from South America
12. Shortbread is not a bread – it is a thick cookie
13. Dresden China is not from Dresden – it is from Meissen
14. A shooting star is not a star – it is a meteorite
15. A funny bone is not a bone – it is the spot where the ulnar nerve touches the humerus
16. Chop suey is not a native Chinese dish – it was invented by Chinese immigrants in California
17. A bald eagle is not bald – it has flat white feathers on its head and neck when mature, and dark feathers when young
18. A banana tree is not a tree – it is a herb
19. A cucumber is not a vegetable – it is a fruit
20. A jackrabbit is not a rabbit – it is a hare
21. A piece of catgut is not from a cat – it is usually made from sheep intestines
22. A Mexican jumping bean is not a bean – it is a seed with a larva inside
23. A Turkish bath is not Turkish – it is Roman
24. A sweetbread is not a bread – it is the pancreas or thymus gland from a calf or lamb
Language is very important for scientists, as they are often authors as well. Their medium is the communication of data and knowledge to further understanding. The problem with science is that a lot of scientists prefer to make their statements as vague and non-committal as possible. In keeping with my previous explanations of music reviews and book reviews I have found a few science terms explained. This list has helped me, I hope it helps you.