No, no, no, no…it’s an incomplete sentence. It makes me nuts when writers have their characters hear the heart beats. The heart beats what? Or maybe I should ask who the heart is beating up?
When you look at it, heart beat is a phrase combining a noun and a verb. It must be treated as a noun and a verb. The character would “hear the beats of their heart” or “how the heart beats”, maybe
“how quickly his heart beats”, and make a lot more sense.
If what you want is a noun and just a noun, you want heartbeat. It’s one word: “a victim’s heartbeats” or “her heartbeats gave her away”, which is another thing entirely.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com|
|Part of Grammar:|
|Phrase: Noun + Verb
More of a metaphor
More science- or tech-oriented
|This phrase generally is interpreted with:
It can also be quite literal.
|One complete pulsation of the heart
A brief space of time
|The vampire heard his beating heart.
My heart beat for her.
|The vampire heard the heartbeat of his victim.
He is the man who is just a heartbeat away from the presidency.
I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Conflict is the essential heartbeat of fiction.
Her heartbeats steadied as the injection took effect.
I accepted their offer in a heartbeat.
|History of the Word:|
|First known use: 1850|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?