Posted by: Author | January 20, 2012

Friday Facts- January 20, 2012- Taught vs. Taut

TAUT:adj. taut·er, taut·est. 1. Pulled or drawn tight; not slack. See Synonyms at tight. 2. Strained; tense: nerves taut with anxiety. 3. a. Kept in trim shape; neat and tidy.

TAUGHT: vb the past tense and past participle of teach

In the recent past, I’ve read quite a few books and novellas- remember, I had two long plane trips and a layover in Charlotte and I got loaded up with books at Christmas and for my birthday. I was appalled at the same mistake that I saw in two of the books. These books were professionally edited.

I’m quite sure all of you who read my blog know the difference in these two words and I don’t want you to think I’m “dumbing down” my Friday Facts, but I just had to share this with you all. Not once but five times in one of the books I read and twice in the other one, this word was used completely wrong.

Dig these sample sentences which are not exact quotes but are paraphrased: “his taught nerves…” and “his stomach taught” “Over the taught ridges of his abs” and “a sighting of one taught butt cheek”
Come on! Really? What did his belly teach? Math? Science?

Both authors also used the word taught in the right way a few times, but neither of them ever used the word taut. What is that about? And how weird that out of all the recent reads, two had the same big, glaring error? Sad, really.


  1. Those errors throw you when you’re reading. Like we have discussed they must not closely edit some big name authors because we have seen at least one error in each of one our favorite author’s books.

    • Yep. You are indeed right. Throws out of story. And I always mark the errors like I’m some sort of avenging editor. Lol

  2. You’re right about being thrown out of a story. The whole month of April, I’m blogging about errors of this sort. One common error of a slightly different kind is the confusing of ground and floor. If you fall down inside a house, you hit the floor not the ground. Rita

    • I agree about the floor and the ground, Rita. There’s a lot to get right in a book and it seems some are being given short shrift by editorial staff.

  3. I’ve seen errors like this. Even made some (darn it). I just hope I don’t make the same ones over and over. lol Sitting at a grocery store right now to grab some wifi. We’ve been without power since noon yesterday due to an ice storm. 270,000 out here. I’m guessing it will be a while before we get our power back, eh? An d typing on a smart phone is FRUSTRATING, so I’m glad to catch up on some emails.

    • I hope you stay warm, my friend. That sounds really bad. Snow and no power.

      As to mistakes, I’m sure you know taut vs taught. I’ve made errors and luckily I’ve found most of them or my editors have. Thanks for editors who do their jobs.

      Hope you get power soon.

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