Lay down your peeves

Personally, I find the “Got milk?” ad—and every tired play on it—peeve-provoking.

I found myself tempted to ask, “Got peeves?”  in a tone of ridicule but thankfully, I had my answer before I had the chance to type those clichéd words.

Comments I received on a recent piece on poorly written song lyrics showed that my readers are bursting with word usage gripes, off the radio as well as on.

So, friends, this playground is safe.  Let ‘em out. 

I have a top 10 list of my own, in no particular order.  If there’s sufficient interest, we can explore each one in detail at some later time.  

Apostrophe used to form a plural.  I don’t like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it’s tempting when the tag reads From: The Smith’s

“I” used as an objective pronoun, as in please send your response to Mary and I.  If Mary drops out, send your response to I?  Really?  Conversely, some of the same people bugged by I turn right around and say, she is as old as me.

“Myself,” other than as a reflexive pronoun, as in, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself.  You cannot contact myself because you are not I.  Also, “myself” is not an intelligent substitute for “I.”

“Different than” instead of “different from.”  This one appears to have cropped up lately and is getting out of control, even among the most articulate of speakers.  Someone please do something.

Prepositions as sentence-enders.  I realize the rules have relaxed on this one and I am willing to accept that, where it makes sense.  Where it does not make sense:  “How long were you gone for?”  “Where did you get that from?”  “How late will you be out til?”

Random quotation marks.  If you are going to put something in quotes, someone better have said it.  Who said, Wipe your “Feet?”   This example comes from the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks  – check it out for a chuckle. 

Mispronunciation.  One example, Pulitzer is PULL-it-ser, not PEW-lit-ser.  NU-cle-ar, not NU-cue-lar.  I could go on—and will.

Punctuation outside the quotation marks, when writing in the United States.  I realize the Europeans do it differently but, until Jeopardy is filmed in the UK, I’d like the clue-writers to put periods and commas back inside the quotes.

Adverbs preceding absolute adjectives—such as unique, true, accurate or pregnant.  Nothing is “very unique,” “so true,” “completely accurate” or “a little bit pregnant.”  It is or it isn’t.

People who don’t think good grammar matters, especially public speakers.  I read an analogy once that likened good speech to a practiced art.  The commentator noted that, when we go to a musical performance and a singer hits the wrong note, we don’t say, “that’s all right, I know what note he meant to sing.”

Wow, it’s hard to stop at 10.

7 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish

7 responses to “Lay down your peeves

  1. dave

    A couple:

    They’re/their/there; your/you’re.

    People writing or saying “wa-la” instead of “voilà.” (I thought this was a fluke when I first saw it, but I’ve now encountered it more than a dozen times.)

    It’s pronounced “library,” not “liebary.” It’s “Tyoosday,” not “Toosday.

    And starting a sentence with a conjunction.

  2. Dianne Miller

    I cringe every time someone uses “that” when “who” is appropriate (apologies for the quote marks – I’m typing on my Blackberry and there is no way to add italics).

    Example: Monica is someone that uses good grammer.

  3. Carmen

    You struck my nerve – my all time biggest peeve is, “Where are you at?”

    The shame about the poorly spoken public speakers is that, to whom grammar matters, the message is lost over the errors. One would think that speakers, particularly those who reap in tens of thousands of dollars per appearance, hire grammar coaches. I would!

    Wait – I hear a new career calling (someone)!

  4. Mom

    Nails on a blackboard? Plug up your ears–here it comes: “The problem is is…..” or even worse, “The problem was is…”

  5. Jo

    No place to stop once we get rolling! But please, let us not forget misuse of “which” and “that,” with corresponding comma usage. I understand “irregardless” and “more importantly” (re elliptical clause) are now slipping through with a wink, but they’re just wrong, people!

  6. Deirdre

    Fewer vs. Less.
    Utilize vs. use
    And what not (This is usually spoken indicating a significant lack of subject matter expertise on the part of the speaker.)

    After reading the postings above, and thinking of my own list my blood is literally…well you know.

  7. Alyson

    “That really peaks my interest.” I corrected this one on a dating site, and the prospect bowed out. Probably just as well.

    “Proof of current vaccinations are required.” I hear this one every time I call the dog groomer.

    “No problem” seems to have replaced “You’re welcome.”

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