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.