by Marsha Ward
I haven't quite let The Curmudgeon out, because I have a headache that wouldn't be improved by his roaring and carrying on. However, I've seen, in the last couple of years, a serious misuse of the word sells as a noun, so I decided to investigate it.
It turns out that I've already written somewhat about the word, and have even given definitions. My quibble is when I see or hear people referring to their "book sells."
People, there is no such thing!!! The word sells is a VERB, and this means action is going on.
"He sells a lot of books, doesn't he." VERB, VERB, VERB!
"Yes, he's so charming, folks line up around the store to get his signature and a chance to bat their eyelashes at him."
"He claims his book sales are through the roof." NOUN, NOUN, NOUN!
"Yeah, but he got his e-books out very early, and he keeps writing new ones, so you can't dispute his numbers."
I've come to the conclusion that the conversion of sales to sells is due to a regional accent thing going on. The mistaken hearer has begun to use what they think is a genuine word, both in speech and in writing.
This is understandable. I once knew a woman who was convinced that "ja" was the same thing as "yes." I look back on that period of time with fondness, especially since no one copied her regional accent into actual usage.
If you've been writing or talking about your book sells, I will copy a term from a beloved church leader and say,