Adopt vs Adapt….

I was just reading a professionally published novel. Normally, you expect some competency from the editors in such situations. To be fair, it is clear that there was editing and the editing was consistent. However, the editing had a consistent glaring error.

In at least three cases, the text read “adopt to”. In those cases, it was being used in constructions like “adopt to the new policies”. That is wrong. You can adopt a new policy but you cannot adopt to a new policy. The correct word is “adapt”. When your town adopts a new policy, you have to adapt to it. Now, in two cases, it was crystal clear from context that “adapt” was the intended word. In a third case, it was less clear and a case might have been made for “adopt”. However, it would have been a bit weak.

There are other usages throughout the same work (different words) that are potentially questionable. However, in those cases, a reasonable case can be made that it was a stylistic choice, a result of inner monologue by a character that didn’t understand nuances correctly, or what have you. There are other cases that are clearly typos or otherwise errors. However, the instances of “adopt” were significant in that they were consistent. That is, someone actually believes that they are correct.

It’s unfortunate that such an error slipped though. The novel in question is an otherwise excellent read.

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