I trip over one word that wrankles for some reason, and I'm out of the game, it's like I'm wearing a hair shirt, metaphorically, writhing around in discomfort, my brain firing out alternatives and reasons why the word's wrong. And often it's a word that everyone is using - but I can't enjoy the writing anymore. Typos, word misuse, personal pet peeve words... ugh. I'm awful.
In the last few days, I've come across the phrase, 'I let out a whelp', which was meant to be meant as a yelping sound, but as far as I know only means a newborn pup. I know 'whelp' is an exclamation sometimes, but 'a whelp', no - so what I had was an image of a woman tied to a bed in the middle of a gang bang giving birth to a puppy spontaneously, and that was it, it was all over for me.
I have similar reactions to to commonly used words. One is 'want' in place of 'desire' - when did that start happening? You're overcome with want? Want is a noun now? I thought it meant a lack, as in 'for want of a nail, the shoe was lost'. Now it suddenly means desire. And every time I see it I get shaken out of the story and think, grr! Same for 'hit'. For me, hit is a verb, and as a noun it means a chart topper. But it's used in place of smack, or stroke, or blow now, thirty hits to my butt... nooo, please no. It sounds so clumsy.
Anyway, yes, see how my train of thought works, in the middle of nice stories? And the worse thing is, I am also tormented by my own petty pernicketiness. It's not fun to feel like this. It's not fun to jolt over extraneous apostrophes as if they were tripwires. It's pants. And I don't know what to do about it. How do I put down the red pen?