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 So, here we are.

We’re compared these authors by their prejudices, their morals, and their ability to construct plots, devise good narration, and describe the action (as well as their ability to describe the characters).

But there is one important point that we haven’t covered, and it seems like a fairly important one, considering the medium in which these ladies work:

Words. You Should Know How To Use Them.

I really feel that this is the ultimate requirement for a writer, don’t you?

A writer uses words as her medium the way that a painter uses paint. What you write and how you write it is important, of course, just as the subject and execution of a portrait is important…

…But if you don’t know how to mix those paints on your palette before you put them onto the canvas, you’re never going to get a great result. So now I want to examine the skill with which each of these authors wields their pen.

First I’m going to break down their use of the individual parts of speech – nouns, verbs and so on. Then we’ll talk about how well they are put together to make coherent (or not) sentences.

Note: You may notice that a lot of the examples I give come from the same books/sections. I hope you’ll forgive me for grabbing examples in chunks, rather than carefully trawling through the whole series to find a varied selection.

Nouns

A noun represents a person, place, or thing. They’re really hard to misuse. The first words we ever learn tend to be nouns: Mama, Dada, milk, dog, cat.

JK Rowling is the valedictorian of nouns, particularly names.

Her books are filled with clever wordplay, puns, and obscure references. Grimmauld Place is certainly a grim old place, and Diagon Alley probably runs diagonally, while Knockturn Alley may be most often visited nocturnally. Gilderoy Lockhart has golden locks of hair, and Severus Snape is quite severe. 

Harry’s herbology text book, One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi, was written by Phyllida Spore. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is written by Newt Scamander (Scamander was the name of an old Roman river and sounds similar to salamander, which is a kind of newt).

Both of those books can be found at the bookstore Flourish and Blotts. A flourish is an ornamentally written signature or word in an old manuscript, and obviously Blotts makes us think of ink blots.

Hagrid’s name plays on the word “haggard”, and Rowling says that “hagrid” is actually used in some dialects to describe being hungover. Also, “ha” is often a short form of “half” in English slang (consider the ha’penny), and Grid is the name of a Norse giantess. Hagrid is half giant – his mother was a giantess.

Then there’s Malfoy, whose name sounds like a portmanteau of Mal Foi, which in Portugal (where Rowling lived for several years) would mean “badly made” or “badly done”. And, of course, Voldemort’s name is a portmanteau of three French words which, when put together, would translate to “flight from death” or “escape from death”.

Dumbledore got his name from an old English word for bumblebee. Rowling said the word made her think of a kindly old wizard, going about his business while humming to himself.

You can tell, reading these books, that Rowling just loves words, particularly obscure ones.

Meanwhile, not only is the Twilight Saga notably empty of any kind of clever puns or literary references, but Meyer has difficulty with telling one homophone from the other.

I found this travesty on page 142 of Twilight:

I ate breakfast cheerily, watching the dust moats stirring in the sunlight that streamed in the back window.

beware the onslaught of sunlit moats!

We’re all familiar with the sight of dust MOTES dancing in sunbeams. My dog loves to attack them. But what is a dust MOAT? Is this what happens when a castle’s moat falls into disuse? How do they stir? STEPHENIE, I NEED MORE INFORMATION.

And then, on Bella’s first day of school, she tells Mike:

My mother is part albino.

Albinos are not a race of people. Albinism is a genetic medical condition. Either you have it, or you don’t.

It’s like saying “My mother is part diabetic” or “my mother is part cancerous.” Furthermore, what does her mother have to do with anything? She could have at least claimed to have albinism herself, if she’s trying to justify her inability to tan.

(As a side note, Bella mistakes Mike’s apprehensive silence for a lack of humor. This is because, as previously noted, she’s a bitch. I take Mike’s apprehensive silence to mean that he is worried that he has just made light of her mother’s un-funny medical condition.)

Meyer can’t even recognize a proper noun, and neither can her editor.

As we all learned in Grade 1, names and titles are capitalized in English. My name is Carol, not carol, and I’m married to Perfect Husband, not perfect husband. We honeymooned in Paris, not paris. You get the idea. You probably got the idea when you were 7 years old.

Check out this, also from Twilight:

I made the Cowardly Lion look like the terminator.

The Terminator is a proper noun just like the Cowardly Lion, so why doesn’t he get his name capitalized? The funny thing is, Dana from Reasoning With Vampires has an advance copy, and notes that Meyer had originally written Cowardly Lion in lower case letters as well. The editor apparently corrected ONE capitalization fail, but not the other. WHY?

Writer fail + editor fail = crap book.

Verbs

Verbs are action words, like run, jump, and climb. Again, this is one of the simplest kind of words, but Meyer manages to abuse them, anyway.

Take this example, from New Moon:

I imagined the big wolves catching up to Laurent in the woods and massacring the indestructible immortal the way they would any normal person. Despite the absurdity of such a vision, the idea comforted me.

You cannot massacre a single person. The word is, by definition, something you have to do in the plural. You can massacre a village, a sports team, or a group of high school students. You cannot massacre a single dude.

Let’s keep reading New Moon

Jacob shuddered, and then gritted his teeth as hard as his fists

How hard do YOU think Jacob was gritting his fists? Have you ever seen anyone do this?

Even if they don’t think of me til I’m thirty” – I hissed the word – “do you really think they’ll forget?

Hiss (vb): to make or emit a sharp sound like that of the letter s prolonged, as a snake does, or as steam does when forced under pressure through a small opening.

You cannot hiss a word that doesn’t have an s in it.

Try. Bonus points if you post a video of it and link to here.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, still anxious, rubbing my back with gentle pats.

Do me a favour and rub your thigh with pats. Let me know how that goes. Meyer can’t even conjugate verbs properly.

Also from New Moon:

Jacob suddenly picked up the pace, striding ahead of me easily with his long legs, and then swinging around to face me, planting himself in my path so I would have to stop too. 

Read the above sentence out loud. Doesn’t it feel like it’s missing something?

Well, it is: appropriately conjugated verbs. You could say “and then swung around to face me, planting himself in my path” or “and then swinging around to face me, planted himself in my path”.

Meyer chose neither of these options.

Rowling not only knows how to conjugate a verb, but she can do it in other languages.

Many of her spells are derived from Latin verb conjugations, usually in the first person (which makes sense, since am the one casting the spell).

Accio – I summon.

Crucio – I torture.

Diffindo – I split.

Evanesco – I vanish.

Imperio – I control.

So I’ve invented my own spell, which I want to cast on the Twilight Saga:

Corrigo. 

That, or

Extermino.

Adverbs

If there’s anywhere that Meyer has a chance to get ahead of Rowling, it’s in this section, right?

After all, I’ve already established that Rowling is infamous for her flamboyant and excessive use of adverbs. She has been castigated for it by Stephen King (who otherwise praises her writing) and other critics. In fact, some people complain, she even put an adverb in the title of her last book!

Adverbs are the least cool part of speech. Professional writers declaim them as the hallmark of the poor writer, the crutch of purple prose.

Well, there’s something I want to consider before we condemn Rowling and her adverbs.  

A study by Columbia University analyzed her use of adverbs and found that

instead of declining, the proportion of adverbs in her books rose steadily from book 2 onward.{…}the rising rate of adverb use in Rowling’s novels is surprising. It might suggest that, rather than being a stage of immaturity in a writer’s growth process, the use of adverbs is a stylistic device that Rowling turns to with increasing frequency.” – Harry Potter And The Adverb Of Doom

So maybe Rowling isn’t using the adverbs accidentally. Maybe she’s reclaiming them as a stylistic device. This observation certainly pairs with my own that her use of adverbs is often conscious and clever, rather than the pathetic flailing of adverbs that I find in Twilight.

In the previous installment of Rowling vs Meyer, I pulled out this random sample of dialogue:

There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup!” said Ron hotly

“You didn’t seem so confidant when you were telling me it was a sheep,” said Hermione coolly.

Rowling uses the adverbs in this argument consciously, creating a dichotomy between Ron’s heated argument and Hermione’s cool response.

The same study discovered that Stephen King himself may not practice what he preaches.

The aggregate proportion of adverbs used in all six Harry Potter books nearly identical to (in fact, slightly lower than) the sample from King’s Dreamcatcher. On top of that, book five in the series, the one King was reviewing for Entertainment Weekly when he made his comments about Rowling’s use of adverbs, was also within two hundredths of a percentage point of his own sample proportion. – Harry Potter And The Adverb of Doom

So maybe Rowling doesn’t overuse adverbs as much as we thought.

People are being unfair, too, to point to “deathly” in Deathly Hallows. Every word that ends in ly isn’t necessarily an adverb. “Deathly” modifies the word “hallows”, which is a noun, and so clearly deathly is an adjective.

Anyway, I think Rowling’s reputation comes from her use of adverbs specifically in dialogue tags, used to describe how someone said something.

I can’t argue that she does use them too much, even if she is intending it as a stylistic device.

However, I can at least take comfort in the fact that those adverbs are at least used for a purpose.

Different characters tend to use different adverbs. Hermione says things brightly, quickly, impatiently, and hysterically.  Professor McGonagall says things severely, sharply, and crisply. Professor Snape says things coldly and softly. Ron says things hopefully and enthusiastically.

Other adverbs serve to infuse meaning to the dialogue. Take this example from Deathly Hallows:

So where is it?” Harry asked suspiciously.

Let’s be fair – that question could be asked in many ways. It could be asked out of innocent curiosity, excitement, or anger. Rowling’s adverb gives us information about how Harry says this sentence. When I read it, I picture him with narrowed eyes and crossed armsI hear the sentence differently.

Now, this could be conveyed in other ways. She could have written “Where is it?” Harry asked with narrowed eyes.” That would have told me he was suspicious, too.

So I’m not forgiving the adverb entirely.

But let’s compare it to Meyer’s use of the adverb.

Meyer throws in adverbs willy-nilly, to the point of redundancy.

Take this example from Eclipse:

Jacob was fuming visibly

This book is written in the first person. I want to know how ELSE we could know that Jacob was fuming, unless he was doing so in a visible manner. The only thing I can think that makes sense is that Jacob may have been LITERALLY fuming. Was steam pouring out of his ears à la Yosemite Sam?

How I look when I read Twilight

Here’s another one, from New Moon:

I frowned at him unhappily

Well, I’m sure glad that adverb was there. It’s clearly necessary to rule out the possibility of a happy frown.

Some of Meyer’s adverbs are just nonsensical.

From Twilight:

None of them, especially Edward, glanced my way anymore.

Dear Stephenie:

“Especially” is used to select one thing out of a group to which the verb most particularly applies. If no one is doing something, one person can’t NOT do it more than the others.

Love, me

Correct use of especially:

I especially hate the misogyny in Twilight, but the poor grammar is a close second. 

I love the characters in Harry Potter, especially Fred and George.

Nonsensical use of especially:

Nobody sneezed, especially Fran.

No one moved a muscle, especially the lamp.

It is exactly this kind of silly use of “especially” that The Simpsons played with in one of their Sideshow Bob episodes.

“ESPECIALLY LISA! …But ESPECIALLY Bart.”

But, okay, maybe “especially” is a difficult one. After all, even I had to look it up in the dictionary to confirm that it is an adverb and not an adjective. Sure, its misuse is recognizable to the audience of The Simpsons, but we can’t all be that high brow.

Let’s give Meyer another chance.

Most of her adverbs are grammatically correct, but seem completely inappropriate when you consider the verb they are supposed to describe.

Also from Twilight:

Emmett was swinging an aluminum bat; it whistled almost untraceably through the air.

First of all, “untraceably” isn’t even a word. But hey, I love how flexible English is, and how easy it is to create a word out of nothing using our handy collection of prefixes and suffixes.

More to the point: How do you trace a WHISTLE?

From New Moon:

his bare chest glinting dimly in the white lights

Try to picture something glinting DIMLY. Isn’t that like sparkling dully or glowing darkly?

I get the impression that Meyer is just pulling adverbs out of a grab bag and slapping them onto random verbs for poetic reasons. It’s kind of inspiring.

Here are some of my own badverbs:

The engine roared softly.

I tiptoed recklessly.

He smashed things delicately.

After reading Twilight, I wept merrily.

Adjectives

Adjectives describe a noun, and I’ve already complained about Meyer’s obsessive use of them. If Rowling uses too many adverbs, then Meyer definitely uses too many adjectives, particularly the flowery ones.

Take this random block of text from Breaking Dawn. I’ve highlighted the adjectives for you:

His smooth spring was like the sinuous strike of a snake; his hands were so sure, so strong, so completely inescapable; his full lips were perfect as they parted gracefully over his gleaming teeth. He was glorious.

Rowling, on the other hand, tends to use adjectives in a much more to-the-point kind of way.

His jet-black hair, however, was just as it always had been: stubbornly untidy, whatever he did with it. The eyes behind his glasses were bright green, and on his forehead, clearly visible through his hair, was a thin scar shaped like a bolt of lightning.

Both quotes describe an important male character, and they are approximately the same length. The Meyer quote, despite being 8 words shorter, contains 3 more adjectives.

Furthermore, the Rowling adjectives are much simpler. Jet-black. Untidy. Bright. Green. Meanwhile, Meyer is throwing subjective words like “perfect”, “glorious” and “sinuous” at us.

Barf.

Meyer’s adjectives are not only flowery and overused, they are much like her adverbs: they don’t always make sense.

Take the above example:

Sinuous does sound snakelike, but she attached it to “strike”.

Sinuous (adj): Characterized by many curves or turns; winding.

Now, when a snake strikes at you, let me assure you that he doesn’t take much time to curve or turn frequently while he does it. It’s pretty much a straight line between him and your eyeballs.

Besides, this is all used in a simile to describe the way Edward springs towards his prey. Explain to me how someone can spring in a curvy and winding manner. Is he able to turn in mid air like Mario?

It’s a me, Edward!

Here’s another puzzler, caught from New Moon:

 my voice was pale with revulsion

Pale (adj): Whitish in complexion; pallid.

Her voice sounded WHITISH? What does white sound like? Why can’t she just say “I was revolted” or use an adjective that can be applied to sound, like “faint”?

Then again, maybe I’m not opening my eyes to Meyer’s ultimate creativity.

After all, I suppose that if I were depressed I could sound blue. Why not sound purple? Or red? In fact, from now on, when I’m talking, just assume that my voice sounds aqua marine. Except when I’m mad: then my voice is puce. [Ed.’s note: I always saw your “mad” voice as persimmon-ish, fringed with a pomegranate-y red. But I buy your aqua argument. Colours are fun!]

Rowling’s use of adjectives, on the other hand, is actually clever.

Let me go back one more time to that same sample of dialogue between Ron and Hermione (notice how densely packed the brilliance is – I can use the same quote again and again to illustrate Rowling’s genius):

There was nothing woolly about the Grim in that cup!” said Ron hotly. 

“You didn’t seem so confidant when you were telling me it was a sheep,” said Hermione coolly.

Woolly (adj): Relating to, consisting of, or covered with wool. Resembling wool. Lacking sharp detail or clarity: woolly television reception. Mentally or intellectually disorganized or unclear: woolly thinking.

Ron is using woolly in the sense of “unclear”. But Rowling then follows it up with Hermione’s reference to a sheep, in which case woolly takes on a very different meaning.

I’m your fangirl, Joanne Rowling.

It’s so clever I could just explode with the awesomeness.

Conjunctions

I can’t believe I even have to talk about conjunctions.

Conjunctions are such a nothing part of speech. They’re just there to connect the dots. Words like “and”, “but”, and “so” are conjunctions.

Rowling clearly has a handle on conjunctions. She should, considering every one of her books contains one in the title (the formula for her book titles being Harry Potter AND the Proper Noun).

But Meyer manages to mess even these up. First of all, I am NOT going to deduct points for starting sentences with them, although I’m tempted. Everyone does it in colloquial speech (I did it in this paragraph!) and the jury is still out on how serious of a grammatical crime this is.

I rank it with jaywalking and rolling stops: it’s not right, but we all do it.

I have to say, though, that I feel like I should complain, because GOOD GOLLY does this woman love to start a sentence with a conjunction. Not just words like “but” and “so”, but words like “and”.

From Breaking Dawn (she does it on average once a page, so this is totally random):

And an old woman by fifteen.

I think starting sentences with conjunctions like “and” or “as if” crosses some kind of invisible line. Those conjunctions are very clearly meant to join two thoughts together, like a sort of sandwich. Starting a sentence with one is like smearing jam on your plate before laying the bread down over top of it.

From Twilight:

As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose. 

Argh!

This is Twilight, if it were a sandwich.

But that’s still not what I want to talk about.

We need to talk about sentences like this:

Neither Edward or I missed the inflection, or the accusation it contained. 

Grammar lesson: Neither/nor, either/or. This is how these conjunctions work.

(As an aside, I once got teased by my ex-boyfriend for requesting neither onions nor mustard on my cheeseburger, and then we got into the neither/nor vs either/or argument. Even my relationship disputes are geeky.)

You can’t say it’s a typo, either, because she KEEPS DOING IT.

I stopped by the hospital on the way back home, but the nurse at the hospital told me neither Jacob or Billy had been in.

What drives me even crazier is that her editor clearly doesn’t know any better, either. I feel like setting Professor Snape on them. He would wither their souls with his glare, because HE knows how to use conjunctions.

That is just as well, Potter,” said Snape coldly, “because you are neither special nor important, and it is not up to you to find out what the Dark Lord is saying to his Death Eaters.

Neither special, nor important… Hmm… what else could that describe?

Put Them All Together, And What Do You Get?

Well, now we have identified the fact that Rowling actually knows how to use parts of speech, while Meyer seems to select them with the refinement of a chimpanzee who has been given some magnetic poetry.

Let’s see how well they actually construct their words into sentences.

how to make a sentence

The shortest sentences in the world contain a single coherent thought, expressed in one word, usually a verb.

Go!

Run!

YES!

Please?

Your dirt-simple two-word sentence contains a noun, which is the subject of your sentence, and a verb: Mama sleeps. Dogs bark. Jesus wept.

A more complicated sentence contains two nouns, one of which is acting on the other with the verb, and some words to join these parts of speech together.

Mama sleeps on the bed. Dogs bark at cats. Jesus wept into his hanky.

When you get really good, you can make long sentences full of meaning:

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.

Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?

If you don’t have those basic ingredients, and they aren’t put together properly, you don’t actually have a sentence, any more than you would have a cake if you just poured a bowl of flour and set an egg down next to it.

When you find these random ingredients floating around, you call it a sentence fragment. You can recognize them by considering them out of context. If they don’t make sense without the preceding sentence, then they aren’t complete sentences.

Stephenie Meyer’s books are so filled with sentence fragments that her paragraphs look like little junk yards, with car bumpers and fridge doors lying everywhere.

It can be easy to miss them when reading, because when given a series of her “sentences”, you mentally edit them into coherent wholes, taping them together when necessary.

If a sentence doesn’t make sense out of context, then it is not a complete sentence:

Butterscotch today, lighter, warmer after hunting.

Noble even.

Light, amused.

Us and them worked, too.

The opposite of a sentence fragment is a comma splice. When someone tapes sentence fragments, or complete sentences, together in a nonsensical way using a comma, that is called a comma splice.

Meyer loves them.

Her obsession with patching separate sentences together using commas, semicolons and dashes is alarming.

In fact, I think that the sentence fragments you find scattered around her work are actually debris from her word constructs. They are bits that have fallen off of an all-too-shoddy construction.

Example of a comma splice:

It was just as well; the recent growth spurt had left him looking gangly and uncoordinated, he was probably no better a dancer than I was. 

If you changed that comma to a period, both sentences would still make sense.

It was just as well; the recent growth spurt had left him looking gangly and uncoordinated. He was probably no better a dancer than I was.

The funny thing is, we have a device in English to aid us in avoiding comma splice. That device is our much-abused friend, the semicolon.

Semicolons are just what they look like: a cross between a colon and a comma. You can use it to tape together two independent clauses that you believe, as an author, belong together because they both address the same thought.

Meyer uses the semicolon correctly in my above example. “It was just as well” is a stand-alone sentence, but she joins it to “the recent growth spurt had left him looking gangle and uncoordinated”. That’s fine. This actually is better than if she had used a period, because the semicolon tells us that she is about to explain WHAT was just as well. She could also have used a semicolon instead of committing a comma splice. BUT NO.

Rowling uses semicolons as well. From Deathly Hallows:

Harry found the hot drink as welcome as the firewhisky had been on the night that Mad-Eye had died; it seemed to burn away a little of the fear fluttering in his chest.

I don’t have a problem with semicolons, when used correctly.

Unfortunately, Meyer’s correct use of the semicolon seems to be a matter of luck, because she also commits sentence atrocities like these:

From New Moon:

The elevator ride was short; we stepped out into what looked like a posh office reception area. 

(Aside: POSH? Bella is from Phoenix. Does a short trip across the Atlantic give her an Oxford accent?)

Now, what does the poshness of the reception area have to do with the brevity of the elevator ride?

The following sentences would have been acceptable:

The elevator ride was short; we only travelled one floor before the doors swooshed open.

The elevator ride was short. We stepped out into what looked like a (posh?) office reception area.

Other times, semicolons are asked to do a real colon’s job:

I protected the Cullens’ secret out of love; unrequited, but true.

STOP IT.

The Basic Rule of Semicolons: If you SHOULD use a period, and you SHOULDN’T use a comma, you CAN use a semicolon.

Since a period would turn “unrequited, but true” into a sentence fragment, you CAN’T use a semicolon.

Unless you’re Stephenie Meyer.

The fact is that once again, Meyer seems to have some kind of Scrabble bag that she yanks from when trying to make words go together. She may pull out a semicolon, a dash, a comma, or a full stop. Sometimes, with luck, you get grammatically correct sentences. Far too often, though you get sentences like these:

What about Rowling? Is her grammar perfect?

No.

I have found a couple of sites that accuse J.K. Rowling of bad punctuation. Some, like this one, seem to refer to printing differences between the British and American versions. I have looked up the cited quotes in my own copies and the mistakes aren’t there.

The same article accuses Rowling of misusing the semicolon, but doesn’t give any examples. I haven’t spotted any myself, and I have had difficulty downloading a digital edition so I can’t just trawl through all semicolon usages. If any of you spot them, please mention it in a comment.

The one mistake I HAVE been able to catch her at repeatedly is the comma splice, which opens up a bit of a debate.

You see, grammar rules for comma splice seem to dictate that it’s okay if you’re REALLY good enough.

Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous. Done ignorantly by ignorant people, it is awful.” – Lynne Truss

Stephenie Meyer LOVES the comma splice. If the comma splice was a vampire, she’d name it Edward. Her sentences are just full of them. But Rowling also frequently commits comma splices.

So, which one is an idiot, and which one is doing it knowingly?

I would make the entirely biased argument that Rowling’s splices are okay.

My justification for this is twofold. 

First: Rowling’s splices are almost entirely committed by characters IN SPEECH. Usually they are committed by Hermione.

Nobody in my family is magic at all, it was every such a surprise when I got my letter, but I was ever so pleased, of course, I mean, it’s the very best school of witchcraft there is, I’ve heard I’ve learnt all our set books off by heart, of course, I just hope it will be enough I’m Hermione Granger by the way, who are you?” She said all this very fast.

Harry looked at Ron and was relieved to see by his stunned face that he hadn’t learnt all the set books off by heart either. 

Hermione’s introductory speech creates a sentence from Hell. In fact, it closely resembles a Twilight sentence. It’s full of commas and dashes. You will notice, however, that Rowling adds that Hermione gave this speech “very fast”. So clearly she intended it to sound like a run-on sentence. In other words, Rowling was writing it the way that Hermione was speaking it.

Playwright George F Walker does a similar thing when his characters ask questions without punctuation marks. He writes the questions that way because he wants the actors to know that although the character may be saying “why”, he wants it pronounced as a statement, not a question.

For example:

Why. Why would Meyer write sentences like these?

I would also like to point out that the narrative sentence immediately following Hermione’s little speech is completely comma free. Rowling doesn’t just throw her commas around willy-nilly like frosting sprinkles.

Meyer commits comma splices and the like just as often in narrative as she does in her character’s speech. I think this harkens back to the characterization and narrative problems that we have addressed in the past.

Second: Rowling’s comma splices still make sense.

“Harry must not know, not until the last moment, not until it is necessary, otherwise how could he have the strength to do what must be done?”

(Note that the above example is once again a character speaking, rather than narration). 

The above sentence may not win any grammar awards for comma conservation, but I think we all understand what Dumbledore is telling us.

Meanwhile…

Thanks to Reasoning With Vampires

Basically, it all comes down to this:

J.K. Rowling’s sentences make sense.

Everyone who can actually write, raise your hand.

Whether you want to pick apart her over-use of adverbs or her occasional comma splice, JK Rowling can ACTUALLY CONSTRUCT A SENTENCE.

It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew – and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world.

On the other hand, Meyer commits atrocities like these (from Twilight):

The clothes were frayed, though, with wear, and they were barefoot. 

What? The clothes were barefoot? This sentence is grammatically whole, but (much like many of her sentences) doesn’t actually make any sense. She should have written,

They were barefoot and their clothes were frayed with wear.

See? Not a single comma needed!

From Eclipse:

I pulled out a letter, and a folded schedule of courses.

Fill in the blanks!

I pulled out a letter, and a folded schedule of courses did… what?

“…and a folded schedule of courses fell onto the floor.”

“…and a folded schedule of courses began playing a cheap midi file like a singing birthday card.”

“…and a folded schedule of courses slapped me upside the head and said “YOU NEED  ME!”

From Twilight:

I sat at the table with Jessica and her friends longer than I would have if I had been sitting alone. 

Well, OBVIOUSLY, since if she had been sitting alone, she wouldn’t have sat at the table with Jessica and company for ANY length of time.

Also from Twilight:

The thickset man shrugged away from the wall as I warily came to a stop, and walked slowly into the street.

What’s happening here? Is Bella walking into the street, or is it the thickset man? WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF THIS SENTENCE?

From New Moon:

Over the pain of my leg, I felt the sharp rip across my scalp where the glass cut into it.

Okay, well, I know her scalp is over her leg, but did she need to tell me that? And what is the object of this sentence? Is “sharp” or “rip” meant to be a noun? “I felt the sharp rip.” In medical lingo, we call needles and scalpels “sharps”. Is that what she’s talking about?

The room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since I was born.

The above MUST be a typo.

I refuse to believe that anyone thought that this was a good sentence. It has to be like those punctuation errors cited in Harry Potter that don’t exist in my British editions. My edition of Twilight is a first edition. Can anyone confirm that this sentence continues to exist in later editions (or in British versions)?

It’s on page 9 or thereabouts. 

I feel that Bella Swan said it best in Breaking Dawn:

I briefly contemplated my issues with words like fiancé, wedding, husband, etc. I just couldn’t put it together in my head.

What is “it”? She just mentioned her ISSUES (plural) with WORDS (plural).

THEM, Stephenie: you can’t put THEM together.

Words: Stephenie Meyer can’t put THEM together. 

Thanks to Reasoning With Vampires

**I wrote a book! Twilight annoyed me so much that I decided to write a story that was the exact opposite. You can check it out here.**

Previously:

Rowling vs Meyer: As Requested

Round 1: In Which Stephenie Meyer Confuses Feminism With Kung Fu

Round 2: Twilight In The Garden of Good and Evil

Round 3: Time To Actually Discuss THE WRITING

Round 4: How Shall I Describe Meyer’s Writing?

Next:

Rowling vs Meyer – In Summation

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