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...that the more famous a writer gets, the worse the grammar in their books seems to be?

For example, I first noticed in a recent Clancy novel the misuse of "which" when it sould have been "that". Not once but several times in the space of just a few pages. I recently finished the latest Harry Potter book (after I pried it from the hands of my younger daughter) and spotted the same thing.

I'm not talking about things that are normally glossed over (such as the occasional dangling participle that is easier to read than a more precise grammatical construct. Who wants to read something like Winston Churchill's famous "That is something up with which I will not put."?) I mean outright flaws, such as "There is something which I have to take care of." instead of the (slightly more) grammatical "There is something that I have to take care of." (Obviously, "I have to take of something." would be even better, but it's just an example.) It's not a matter of interpretation; the former is flat out wrong. Yet I'm seeing it in more and more books, always by big-name authors. There are other examples, but that one came to mind because I saw it several times recently.

I can't help wondering if the more successful writers have a clause in their contracts that says "Editors, keep your cotton-pickin' fingers off my deathless prose!" It's either that or the famous authors are suddenly being assigned incompetent editors, and that hardly seems likely....

What's going on?

Mark.
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