Ready for my biggest grammar pet peeve?
Oh. I know, from the title, you thought this was going to be a self-pity piece about what a friendless loser I am. Don’t worry (especially you, Mom) — people like me. I know this because I say it in front of the mirror every morning.
Technically, I should’ve called the post Nobody Likes “Me.” Or, “The Pronoun Nobody Wants To Use.” But would you have clicked on that?
I’ve had to let go grammar mistakes that drive me nuts. “literally” when they mean “figuratively.” As in, “My head literally exploded when I heard the news.” Or “I was so excited, I literally shit my pants.”
(Remind me not to get you excited.)
And then there’s people who relentlessly spell it “your” when they mean “you’re.” Especially cringe-y at the start of an accusation. You don’t make a great case writing “Your an ignorant moron” in a comment thread.
Before I tell you the mistake that bugs me most, let’s get something out of the way:
I’m all for loose grammar.
I like to break rules. Keep it casual. Witness above: “there’s people.” There are grammar mistakes all up in this piece, but they’re not really mistakes since I know I’m doing it. And, sometimes I make actual, accidental, mistake-mistakes, because mind no worky so good. I’ve written “there” when I meant “their,” and felt terrible shame for it.
But this isn’t about being grammatically correct.
It’s about being incorrect while trying to sound extra smart.
So, in those terms, what’s the most annoying mistake?
Using the subject pronoun, “I,” when it should be the object pronoun, “me.”
- “Do you want to come to the movies with my boyfriend and I?”
- “This info stays right here. Between you and I.”
- “It’s a very illustrious panel of speakers and thought leaders, featuring Malcolm Gladwell, Ariana Huffington, and I.”
Who wants to pay a thousand bucks a ticket to see “I” speak? Not I.
Why do smart people do this? Why are they so afraid of the word “me”?
I have a theory, because I’m smart.
When we’re kids, we get the “me” drilled out of us.
We say, “Me and Jenny wanna eat all the pills in the medicine cabinet that look like candy and then run in the street naked in front of cars! Can me and Jenny do that?” And the first thing a parent will say is, “Jenny and I.”
And so, we grow up thinking the word “me” is always wrong.
I never had this problem, because I had special training: listening to my parents watch the news. “Ha! Did you hear what Reagan just said? ‘Between you and I.’ Our president. He’s an idiot.”
I’m every bit as self-righteous on this point as my mom and dad. Or, you might say, murderous. When I hear someone say “between you and I” I want to kick the shit out of them. I’m not proud of that.
I try not to correct people, at least not loudly enough for them to hear me. (Hear I?)
But I have to get it out somehow. Hence this blog post.
[2022 UPDATE – while I came close to buying a tee that said *you’re* on the front, I’ve given most of it up. Why do I care about someone else’s grammar? I mean, I still flinch or maybe tighten my sphincter, but I’m no longer on a crusade to point out to everyone why they’re wrong.]
So while we’re on pronouns, I’ll throw in some other offenders:
“Whom,” “whomever,” and “myself.” Overused and abused, all of ’em.
Almost any time I hear someone use one of these, it’s un-called-for.
- “I can’t wait to find out whom is going to be my husband!”
Yikes. It’s “who.” Unless you’re thinking of marrying a dude named Whom. Don’t. Whom has a sad, thin ponytail, and will cheat on you with I.
- “Whomever left all this hair in the shower drain better clean it.”
Don’t hold your breath. Whomever you invited (correct use, object of “invited”) to crash on your couch for a few days while looking for a job, they won’t answer to “whomever” and they won’t admit that wad of pube shavings is theirs. Also, they will never, ever find a job and leave your house.
- “Sandra, her girlfriend and myself will be brunching at around noon.”
NOW it’s time to use “I.”
I know, you think “myself” is the kind of person who brunches.
No, myself does not go to brunch. Unless I invite myself. I can text myself, meet myself there, order fluffy German pancakes for myself, torture myself debating whether I should’ve gotten savory instead of sweet, feed myself, drop food on myself, and pay for myself. Or, if you really want to pay for me, you can, and you can pay for yourself, too. But I can’t say that you paid for myself, or that you and myself split the check.
Does that make sense? If not, me sorry!
At camp (the spoiled-kid one, not the naked one) there was a girl in my bunk who would ask to wear everyone’s best Izod and Polo shirts to co-ed activities by saying, in a baby voice, “Me can borrow? Yay, me can borrow!”
She was annoying as shit, and I hated her wearing my favorite Polo, but I’d take her trying to sound dumb and cute over all these people trying to sound smart by sticking “I,” “whom” and “myself” into everything and sounding even dumber.
Enough about I. Now yourself.
Got any grammar pet peeves? What makes you angry? (You’re beautiful when you’re angry.)
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
ps – Got copy envy?
Copy envy hurts so bad! And yours can make other people feel that way, if you want. If you want help making your website, blog, emails, and even sales pages more fun to read, and more envy-inspiring, check out my offerings on this page.
Jul's Arthur says
Surely this popular post is one of your most commented on? I love that it is still going.
I’ve got one for you brilliant thinkers, writers and communicators on here…is it Jul’s’ house or Jul’ses house? Jul’s’ book or Jul’ses book.
I think the former, but hey, I am the queen of grammatical invention. Not knowing the rules, I make up my own. When I am in doubt (often) whether (not weather) it is a semi-colon, colon, dash or whatever, I use… It’s my version of the universal grammar fix. Will Strunk is turning in his grave over every email and post I publish.
It’s everyone’s lucky day because Steven Pinker’s new book is all about grammar. W’hoo! I saw his book promo presentation online. He tracks the evolution of English grammar standards and makes a great case for using the passive voice. It allows our reading mind to follow along with the flow of a story. If a story is only written in active voice, our brain has to jump around to the subject in every sentence. The dude’s an inspiring word nerd.
Want to go grammar retro: Anyone up for analyzing one datum among the data? Are you going to decorate for Halloween with one spooky candelabrum, or with all of your candelabra?
Cousin Susan says
And when both of these people are attorneys!
Attorneys are the worst offenders. (No offense.)
Dr. David C Belgray says
Laura, you have created a wellspring of learning and creativity, with the help of your gifted friends. At the risk of sounding pedantic, I’ll throw in some Modern psychoanalytic stuff:
Why Modern Psychoanalytic? Because, it’s called that ever since Hyman Spotnitz, one of my mentors wrote “Modern Psychoanalysis of the Schizophrenic Patient.” My doctoral dissertation fortifies his thesis, that negative expression helps one grow (Statistically, my study indicated this was true for males, and true for positive expression for females.) Regardless, the responses to your blog are laden with feeling! Refusing to respond to so many interesting things said, I’ll limit myself to answering Tom Hill: You are a better writer than Laura particularly when she is not writing.
BTW, look up Hannibal under Google. Another H is the son of my American Airlines colleague Elsie Yonan Olsen. (She’s the only Assyrian I know.) Port of Authority?: Common blunder, maybe obsolete(?) of Port of New York Authority.
Love & admiration of you et al,
Cousin Susan says
Like you, I hate the misuse of the pronoun I. What makes it worse is when it’s in an email from one’s boss or the president of one’s union. Cringe.
That makes you and I both cringe!
“defiantly” when they mean “definitely” – we might be able to blame auto-correct for this… but even if you are using auto-correct, can’t you look over what you’ve just typed before pressing enter? of course i am a chronic non-uppercase-user (can’t you tell) for personal stuff/FB, so i’m sure i drive some of my friends crazy.
Here’s what you can’t blame auto-correct for the other version: definately.
Hilarious post, I peed my pants reading it. (Or is it I peed in my pants :)) I made (and continue to make) a bunch of mistakes and using idiots (oops idioms) incorrectly. The most noticeable ones that got me fame (no fortune) at work were have been recorded in history: “These were so good, they flew of the shelves like pancakes”, “This is a wet dream” (instead of a pipe dream ).
Love your posts, this is my favorite so far.
Ha! I want to work with you. If I had a fortune, I would pay it to hear mistakes like that all day.
As luck may have it I want to work with you too. I suffer from you copy envy.
Well said, Laura (and everyone else).
Here’s my pet peave:
I’m loving it.
I can’t stand it. It’s wrong in so many ways. I know it’s a slogan, and trade marked, but I hate it. Particularly because it’s crept into everyday use. I even hear it on the morning news shows here (in Australia).
It also irks me that even the voice overs on TV talk about ‘missing any eps’. Can’t they just say ‘episodes’? Is it really that hard?
The worst thing is that whenever I vent about these things, I feel like the grumpy old woman I’m rapidly becomming. Hrumph.
What I hate is the silly singing that goes with it: ba ba ba BA ba…I’m Lovin’ It™
This damn post kept me up last night. Not because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the many grammatical blunders that drive me crazy. But because I came to the uncomfortable truth that there is only one that drives me crazy: the its/it’s thing. Why that particular one?? Talk about opening up a Pandora’s Box–right to the centre of my self-righteous psyche: If I can learn and adopt, as Truth, a rule that makes no sense whatsoever, and then judge people based on their indifference to it (Catholic upbringing), then so should everyone else have to, dammit.
Life is indeed a mirror unto ourselves.
Can we please move on to the next post and can you please make it something a little more light-hearted, which doesn’t take me straight to the core of my very being.
There’s so much to be self-righteous about, I’m surprised you haven’t expanded beyond its/it’s! If you’re looking to judge, it’s like a world made of candy out there!
Jul's Arthur says
II commented early in the morning after reading Laura’s brilliant post. Then I couldn’t help myself, I had to return tonight at 11:35PM and recheck this post to see the status of comments. You would think it was my post. I am so glad I came back for more, though I was embarrassed to see typos in my comments that proove I don’t proofread, I rush to comment right before running out the door.
Indeed it is a popular one, even the entire Belgray family got in on the act as well as the clan. Everyone on here had me laughing out loud….you people are very funny. Dad Belgray reminds me of my papa. Marian, I am still cracking up over the visual of whom and whomever getting a room. Mom Belgray would like my mama, and I love my mama. Lane you are a born comedic writer.
This grammar slinging makes me realize, if only someone would make really clever, funny mini videos about grammar rules, they would stick with me.
There will be many mistakes in my following piece of drivel. It’s just how my writing comes out when I don’t run it through spell checks. And grammar checks. And I click “submit” before I let it marinate.
I’m fairly tolerant of writing/speaking that has bad grammar:
“Where you at?”
“Me an john are almost at your place.”
I’d let it fly because it’s the way people talk, and I don’t usually correct them. Especially if they use finger quotes. And are bigger than me.
What I can’t stand are typos that come from laziness. But if we are so hard on peoples writing that they decide it’s easier to not write. Where will that leave us? Without wedding invitations, no doubt.
I think of each aspect of written language as an available tool. When we make the tool too critical to the task, we can end up with people that are afraid to change a doorknob handle.
Sometimes I stare at my box of semi colons, colons, parenthesis, commas and decide that my sentence is much to complicated.
I would like to submit the usage of “further/farther”
Even though I screw them up so often that I end up using neither.
Your writing has brought much angst to my life. Keep it going.
This seems disjointed enough, I am going to click “submit”, and move into the regret phase.
I love your writing. You be using your tools beautifully.
I agree, we don’t want to intimidate people out of writing altogether. (Now I’m forgetting whether it’s altogether or all together. I know my aunt, instead of “naked” or “nude,” says “in the altogether.”)
Nice addition, with the “further/ farther.” I didn’t know until recently that “further” was not an adjective. Now, I just know not to use it. Because how often am I going to use a phrase like “further one’s gains”?
I would never try to change a door knob. That seems too hard.
Their’s so many great points here! *ducks*
I wish we actually were brunching, though.
Let’s just agree to use the word “they’re’s” for everything.
Thank you for a laugh out loud (small snort) blog reading experience – me, myself and I loved it!
Thank you for thanking myself!
Laura, it looks like people like to talk about grammar even more than growing up in NYC! You have a winner!!
Nothing gets people more riled up. My kind of people, anyway.
Barbara Pierce says
I think I must have been one of those kids who had the “me” word shaken out of her. I kept getting worried about using the me or I, until Heather said to me try saying the same sentence and keep out the other person. Very helpful…thanks Heather, and Laura for a great post.
That’s exactly how you do it. Go Heather. She’s a smart one! And a great copywriter.
I was trying to play it cool and be subtle and say nothing else, but then I was afraid no one would get it. I know it’s “you’re.”
Oh man. I know the grammar trend I hate the most: “Drive safe!!!” It’s even on television! And I’m like “-LY!!!! SAFE-LY!!!!” (So I’m right there with you, Ana.)
Okay but I have a grammar question! I know you didn’t ask for those, but now you’re an expert!! Do you know what to do in this situation? –>
“Whose car is blocking my driveway?!?!”
“Nope! That’s Ted’s and mine.” ::mayyyybe::
“Oh, that’s Ted and mine.” ::ick::
“Oh, that’s my and Ted’s” ::ULTRA CRINGE::
“Oh, that’s me and Ted’s.” ::nuh uh::
“Oh god. It belongs to Ted and it belongs to me and it is our car.” ::help::
It would be way easier if it were Lucy and Jane’s car.
Anyone who doesn’t get it is NOT welcome hear.
I hate the multiple possessive situations! There’s no good answer. There’s a correct one, and I’m not sure whether it’s “my and Ted’s” or “Ted’s and my.” Both suck.
What does work is, “that’s Herbie, and he’s my car.”
Marian Belgray says
I think Whom and Whomever should get a room. Or are they the same person?
Hilarious post. You got all the Belgray fave peeves in there. Ha! I totally attribute our grammar education to Mom and Dad watching the news (though I picture them yelling at Dan Quayle).
Another uppity one that bugs me, even though it’s not technically incorrect: “I’m well.” I guess it’s ok if I’ve asked specifically about their health. But then I still prefer “I’m healthy!” or “I’m disease-free!” or “No more Syphilis.”
Ok, not a lot bugs me (too much) with all of this grammar talk, but the, “How are you?” answered with, “Well, thanks.” bugs. It makes me want to say, “I didn’t ask you specially about your health, but ok…”
I’m so with you both! I’d rather hang out with someone who says “I’m sick with Ebola” than someone who says “I’m well.” Those people are quinoa-munching turd burglars.
Margi W says
Grammar cops venting together in perfect harmony make me feel right at home. I’m hoping we will share some virtual grammar doughnuts now.
I’m thinking that Apple needs to change its product names. I’m picturing MeMac, MePhone, MePad, MeCloud, and so on.
It would be really handy if they switched the product names, and we could eliminate “my” from the equation, too. MePhone is buggy since they made me upgrade me software.
Ana Verzone says
Oh hellz yes. You are speaking my language, chica.
My pet peeve is the death of the adverb. I think it was Apple’s fault with the
ad. It would have been more appropriate to say
but really they wanted to say Think Differently but it didn’t sound as cool.
I don’t think it would have bothered me so much if it was just the ad. But then it spread like wildfire
blah blah blah
Thank you for offering me an outlet for that! I feel much better now…
Can’t wait to see the rest of the peeves;)
I’m OK with THINK DIFFERENT as a style choice. But there is NO excuse for DRIVE SLOW. Unless “Slow” is the name of your passenger.
If your child is Slow, please come pick him up. He’s digging up our flower bed.
HOLY SHIT Laura! Did you wake up this morning and say, “Hello Pandora. Would you like for me to open your box?” She probably said, “Well…when you put it like that…”
I write like I speak. Period. I was an expository writing/creative writing major in college, so when I break the rules, it’s because I don’t give a shit about them or I was too lazy to proof. I mainly care if my point is coming across in my voice, or if it sounds too forced. I want to write like I speak, so if there’s a dangling modifier or preposition hanging out at the end of a sentence. Perfect. Let it chill.
I do get bugged when I see the wrong its/it’s and they’re/their in my writing, but more because of my own neurosis and not because I’m particularly worried about being judged. I mean, let’s face it. Why pick at my grammar when I use shit and fuck all the time?
I think I figure that you’re either offended by my writing, or not. And if you are, then I say, “Fuck it! Read something else!”.
Laura, I LOVE the way you encourage people to write like they talk. If more people did that, I’d be reading more. I can’t stand to read copy that sounds like someone was trying too hard.
Thank you! And that’s why I love your writing. I hate writing that sounds like writing. The only people who should write in a way that sounds like writing are people who talk like writing, but I don’t want to hear them talk.
Modifiers are like earrings. Sometimes, they need to dangle. Though I’m not really big on earrings. I feel they make me look too much like some “lady.”
Mom Belgray says
You must know how much I love this post! The rant is perfect. I think all of the ones you described are in my book of pet peeves, along with the many comments. I have another one, from TV announcers every night: “Donny is laying on the street in a pool of blood,” or “I think I have to go lay down.” What? Never heard of a reflexive verb? Paul Simon: “Like a Bridge over Troubled Waters, I will lay me down.” Ok — go lie down now, you must be tired.
Oh! The laying! Thanks for reminding me, Mom. Everyone wants to “lay” in the sun, which is bad both for your skin and your eggs.
Dr. David C Belgray says
Laura, you hit the bulls-eye with this one. But I must correct you (forgive me if I’ve forgotten the exact original):
Correction #1: In stead of “Me and Jenny, etc.” it should have been Me and Hanibal, etc.”
#2 When you named the wrong place with the wrong grammar, the place was the Port of Authority.
With love from eye,
What are you talking about with the Port of Authority?
Either way, eye love you back.
Jo Bradshaw says
Harry Ritchie in “English for the Natives” has a brilliant bit about pronoun switching, particularly ‘me’ and ‘I’ and why we get so confused about it all. He also points out that us Brits tend to use the conditional tense a LOT more than you lot. (We ‘could I…’ and ‘would you…’ all the time.)
He says: “The first time I heard an American ask for something, I was outraged – a young chap in a pub who walked up to the bar and informed the barman, ‘I need a beer.’ The barman looked at him as though he had just shape-shifted into a fully clothed rhinoceros…”
At times I find this directness very refreshing—and it’s common in Europe, too—while other times I wonder why people who feel the need to use ‘reach out to’ as argot for sending an email can live with this schizophrenic linguistic mess and not go doolally.
Jo, I speak enough Italian and Spanish to get around in either place, and I never go without reviewing the conditional tense. I feel like a good traveler knows how to say “could I please have a fork ” and “would you please bring us the check” and “I’d like the shrimp, please.”
“I need a beer” is unacceptable, and also a sign of alcoholism.
Jo Bradshaw says
I would like the shrimp, please. And I need a beer.
Jul's Arthur says
Okay reading all the comments here, on a read again has made me want to sign up for the Laura Belgray and comment group grammar class…I don’t know nothing compared to you grammar savvy writers! That was an intentional double negative.
u no plenty, Jul’s!
Jul's Arthur says
I am sure I am guilty of many grammar errors, I missed those basic classes somehow. Blame it on a Cuban mother…that’s what I do. I also rush when I type, and I am a terrible typist, my brain works faster than my digits. So this may be a case of the kettle calling the pot black…so forgive me as I say a few irksome grammar instances myself. Not I.
Three grammar mistake, that make my eyes or ears cringe are when people say “deers” because we do have a lot of deer in Connecticut. Last I heard “deer” is the plural of deer. There are no deers.
A lot. Seems many people do not know a lot is two words..alot is incorrect. When I dabbled, and lived to tell the tales (not tails) of my brief foray into online dating, I found myself judging negatively several unmet men by their emails…they would say they wanted to me a single women…unless that was Freudian and they really did want many women. I am a one man woman, and I will only date a one woman man. If he wants a lot of women, dear as they may be, he can leave me be.
Thanks for the very funny post. Though I confess it made me check out a grammar book today from my library. From the Queen of run-on sentences, me, to the brilliant writer who knows the rules and consciously breaks them, you…enjoy the rest of your day!
I could never, ever date someone who wanted to meet “a single women,” though as I write that, I remember one married men I dated for two and a half years. And he could barely spell his own name.
Its/it’s. It literally makes me weep.
Licia Morelli says
This is the best! I loathe the your you’re situation as well as the there their they’re issue.
I’m often an offender of using parenthesis where none should be.
Apparently there is a rule that says parenthesis can be jarring to the reader. But I don’t care.
I’m throwing all caution to the wind and defying the rules because I love using parenthesis and I will keep using them until the end of time (or until I get bored).
I use parenthesis — not to mention the em dash — way too much in my writing. Hard to get away from it.
Count me in as a grammar junkie.
(“Count I” lives in a castle in Transylvania.)
I don’t mean to send people away from your blog, Laura, but The Oatmeal is special and deserves a link:
I love that Oatmeal post. There are so many people I’d like to send it to.
I agree that spelling and grammar errors and their continued presence in society are irritating. I’m particularly irked by the incorrect and illogical phrase “I could care less” and it bothers me when people don’t capitalize the first letter of the word “Internet.” This is probably because I was schooled in this several years ago by a fastidious attorney and I never forgot this lesson. I understand, however, that Wired Magazine officially declared that from now on they will spell the word without capitalization of the first letter, so I suppose I have lost this battle.
But what stops me in my reading is unintentional ambiguity of language, or what I would term “fuzzy syntax.”
At the beginning of your post you have this sentence: “Don’t worry (especially you, Mom) — people like me.” I had to read this sentence three times before I understood its meaning. When I first read it I thought you were using the word “like” to mean “such as.” So I thought you were saying that Mom was a person such as yourself. But I now realize what you were saying is “people don’t hate me, they like me.” Given the context of your piece, I can’t think of a solution for this dilemma. But it’s stuff like this that makes writing so hard.
Good one, Bruce! I’ve heard “I could care less” so many times that I had to google it just now to see what was wrong. I had completely forgotten how it was SUPPOSED to be. thanx 🙂
I too hate the illogic of “I could care less”. And similarly illogical is the word “irregardless”, which has actually made it into the dictionary (although they note that it’s incorrect).
I’ve never, ever cared about capitalizing internet. It’s just a network of tubes, right? I don’t think it should be capitalized. Should “cable” or “electricity grid”? What about “subway system”?
I understand why the “people like me” thing gave you pause. I think it’s because of the punctuation. I didn’t really need the dash, I could’ve written it, “Don’t worry (especially you, Mom). People like me.”
And yeah. Writing is hard.
Well, you are probably on the right side of this argument. According to Grammarist.com: “It was originally capitalized to differentiate the Internet (the global network that anyone can access) from an internet (any network of interconnected computers), but in common usage this distinction is now irrelevant. Internet is now just a generic term for the communication medium.” But they also say: “The capitalized Internet still prevails in many major American and Canadian publications.”
However, I’m not entirely sure a change in punctuation would make the intention of those sentences perfectly clear. Maybe if you changed it to “Don’t worry (especially you, Mom.) People like me — they really, really like me.”
I got in a lot of trouble when I corrected a friend who was having alot of problems in her life and she sent me an email telling me about alot of them. I responded with empathy, but couldn’t help myself from writing a PS to correct her, I mean, help her with one of the problems she could actually fix. I mean if you’re going to have a lot of problems, you need to know how to express that correctly.
Still haven’t live that one down.
*You mean “lived” that one down. 🙂
Haha. Wait, are you saying you corrected the grammar of her email cry for help? I’m not judging, she sounds like a needy pain in the ass.
I forgot the word “when” twice and clearly did not proofread properly. Facepalm!
I read the word “facepalm” 3 times, thinking it was an Italian coffee drink.
I love this post and “I” completely agree! I really love it cookie monster talks about himself – “Me love cookies” or when Elmo talks about himself in third-person “Elmo loves parties”. Okay, so I have a toddler and I just had to interject this. How is Sesame Street teaching our kids proper grammar?
Now for a real question: What sounds better posting information on a professional website – first person or third person?
Jamie has 10 years experience in construction and really knows how to throw a hammer.
I have 10 years experience in construction and really know how to throw a hammer.
Clearly these are examples and Jamie had never used a hammer in her life. Nor do I know anyone named Jamie.
Loved the post again! 🙂
Oh, I love a copywriting question!
I prefer first person, especially if it’s a business built around you and your services. If the whole website has the feel of, “hey there, this is all a big message from me to you” then so should your bio.
If it’s a larger company and features more than one person on the About page, then 3rd person makes more sense.
I actually mixed mine up – switched from 1st to 3rd for the bio portion of the About page, but it’s due for a rewrite, and I might rethink that.
The Imey thing (get it, “I/me?”) is my #1 as well. A great boss taught that to me (after I earned a Masters degree, mind you!), then I taught it to my kids and now my older son corrects me. Good.
Then there’s the difference between “ironically” and “coincidentally” – still have to stop and think (usually out loud) to make the choice.
When I see “loose” instead of “lose” in writing, I go ballistic.
I was relieved when you said you like messed-up (ha – LOOSE) grammar, though, because otherwise, I wouldn’t think about hiring you. :-))
Thanks for the morning giggle!
I actually can’t believe I used the word loose, because I hate it. It makes me think of my mom asking (yes, when I was little), “did you have a loose poopoo?” My sister has the same reaction.
But that is how I likes my grammar.
Nathalie Lussier says
My brain hurts (and got a few chuckles out of this too)! I think it’s because I never really learned English grammar… I went to French school until 10th grade, and by that point when you take an English class you’re not really talking about the grammar basics anymore.
So I just go with what sounds right, and sometimes that means picking up common phrases from politicians and other confused people…
I think I need to re-read this a few times so I can stand up to the grammar peer pressure out there! 😉
Because you’re one of the .000001 percent of Americans who speak another language, you’re off the hook. Also, you’re nice.
Nancy K. says
Those are my top grammar peeves too–especially using “I” instead of “me” to sound fancy. My parents used to charge us 5 cents for grammatical errors. I would be filthy rich if I could collect on Facebook. I hate when I make a your/you’re typo. So shameful.
That’s exactly it. The sounding fancy. I don’t care about the rest nearly as much. No, I lied, the your/you’re and its/it’s really bugs me. People should learn those. I want to die when I make one of those mistakes and then can’t correct it.
I live part-time in a rural area. My ear is gradually getting used to the present tense of “come” functioning as the past as in “She come up from the city yesterday to see me.”
I snicker at the highly irregular past tense use of “been” and “seen” as in “How you been? I seen her at the gas bar – she come up from the city yesterday.”
I can even stand the plural second person “youse” by telling myself it stands-in for the polite form of “you” that exists in French and Italian. Even when paired with “guys” to form some kind of mutant collective second person plural. All of this I can stand.
But for all that is Good and Holy, STOP USING RENUMERATE FOR REMUNERATE OR I WILL PILE DRIVE YOUSE GUYS INTO NEXT WEEK. I highly doubt you are referencing the Census of Quirinius when you are complaining that you worked overtime with no pay. And if you are, we have more important questions to deal with like how you have no crow’s feet considering you are a few millennia old. WHAT ARE YOU INJECTING AND WHERE DO I GET THAT SHIT?
Oh Liz, and this one. “He’s the foreman down to the factory.”
GRIND GRIND GRIND
Marci Diehl says
Oh, yes, you are on fire today, Laura! I have a dent in my forehead from all the times it’s hit the desk over the dumbing-down of our beautiful language. (Spell check doesn’t like the word “dumbing down” with or without a hyphen. Stupid spell check! Who made you the expert?)
But on the other hand, sometimes the correct grammar — “whom” and ending in prepositions would be two great examples — just doesn’t sound human in lots of writing, because it has slipped out of popular speech.
I think about how language morphs over centuries, how formally our great-great grandparents may have spoken (see what I did there? Perfect verb conjunction.) compared to our parents. Language is a beautiful thing. I just hate to see it treated so shabbily.
Jessica Kupferman says
I hate “loosing” instead of “losing.” I can completely “loose” all respect for someone if they use the wrong one.
Thank you! See 2 comments above. It’s totally for you.
The other awful one we see in the holistic-woo-tritionist realm is “Remember to breath!” / “I just took a beautiful, deep breathe.” Come on, people! Your business is telling people to breathe and you can’t spell it?
1. I realized that the plural of Smurf is Smurves.
2. People think they’re smart because they replace the “f” with a “v” to make “Chief of Staff” plural by writing “Chief of Staves” instead of “Chieves of Staff”.
1) Also, the plural of Smurfy is Smurvies
2) Chief of Staves sounds like a good, middle-earth themed series for Cinemax.
I’m still in disbelief about the epidemic of people who want to “loose” fat.
For real, though.
I’m so with you! And none of them seem to care. I’ve even posted about it. My rule: you can only loose fat if you take it off the leash and set it free in the woods.
Hahaha! I would rather keep my fat tight, or shed it entirely! Loose stuff jiggles when you wiggle. 🙂
Great Post! I is a grammar geek. Anyway…
Winston Churchill’s secretary was proofreading a letter that he had dictated, and she told him that you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition. He replied, “This is nonsense up with which I shall not put!”
Indeed. NEVER end a sentence with with.
Everything that you said makes me Krazy x 10!!!! Thanks for being angry for me. Too lazy to care today. I would like to add these:
“Then” / “Than”
“Affect” / “Effect”
Am I the only one who reads my emails/posts, like 5 or six times, before I send them? Is that obsessive?
Ron, I used to read and re-read my emails and posts before hitting “send.” Now that I’m posting every day, I pull the trigger…and THEN notice all the awful gaffes. And weep for myself.
I would really love to discuss these issues we all have around grammar. I’m sure we will never get bored of it 😉
Maybe they’re not really grammatically wrong….saying “around” when you mean about or with, and “bored of” instead of “bored with.”
But is sure does annoy me.
“MYSELF”. MAKES. ME. CRAZY.
(Or is it “makes I crazy”?)
I’ve heard C-level executives, political leaders, and people I look up to use it and when I point it out, nobody seems bothered by it. Why?! Thank you for making me realize I’m not the only grammar a-hole. Myself needs a blog post all to…itself!
Thank you! Grammar a-holes unite! I think we need to approach these high-profile morons together.
Your and you’re makes me cringe, but the latest thing I have noticed (usually on reality tv shows) that makes me crazy is the possessive use of I: “Chris and I’s relationship…” What the literal fuck?!? (As my teenage(d?) daughter and her friends would say.) Next thing you know it’ll be “Chris and me’s relationship” – ok my blood pressure is rising just thinking about it so I need to go! Me love the post, Laura!
That is HORRIBLE. It’s also kind of a flaw of our language that there’s no graceful way to make a possessive out of multiple people. (Sharing is hard!) “My and Chris’s” doesn’t roll off the tongue.
My other real beef with English is that theres’s no proper gender-neutral pronoun. He/she, his/her – hate these. But it seems like the transgender community might change that for us. You’re now supposed to refer to a trans person with the words “they” and “them” and “their.” You probably know that. I found this out last night from someone with a daughter Allie’s age.
Also, I really like “what the literal fuck.” That’s a keeper.
Halve the fun of Facebook is correcting other peoples grammer mis-takes.
Lately I’ve been getting annoyed with “could of” and “should of” and other such nonsense. One day I saw “could of” used THREE times on FB, and I think they were all posts from the U.K….which says something about the “cradle” of our language.
Marci Diehl says
Yes!! Drives me (not I) nuts.
Oh! This drives me nuts! Thank you. All day, this “could of” BS. That’s a good one.