Grammatical pet peeves. Those pesky little mistakes that people make in speech or writing that make your skin crawl as you ask yourself if you are the last truly educated person on this planet. We all have them. I surveyed AWC staffers to see if years of reviewing manuscripts and pouring through edits results in a grinding abhorrence of certain numbers of these linguistic abuses…
- The over-correction of I vs. me. It’s “Just between you and me,” not “Just between you and I.”
- I can’t stand when people use foreign words and phrases without double-checking their meaning. For example, en masse does not mean “a lot,” it means “in a group.” Even commonly-used foreign terms are the dictionary, and I can never understand why someone would take the time to put a word or phrase in italics but neglect to look up its definition.
- A pet peeve for me is the poor misused apostrophe, constantly thrust in where it doesn’t belong (as in forming plurals–APPLE’S ON SALE TODAY). There is an Apostrophe Protection Society in the UK ; they post Horrible Examples on their website. Perhaps we should all join?
- “Between he and I” instead of “between him and me.”
- Confusion between the usage of THEIR, THERE, and THEY’RE
- When people use quotation marks for no reason (or, when they actually mean to emphasize something, which could had be bolded, underlined or with increased font size instead!!) Like this: http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/
- Confusion between YOUR and YOU’RE!! (This one has a triple vote.)
- It is incorrect to say “an historic moment,” it should be “a historic moment.” After Obama got elected to office I would hear this infraction several times a day. It made my skin crawl. If you need to reference this please check out Grammar Girl. Her website, don’t be scared by the name, is Quick and Dirty. She’ll lay it out for you.
- And finally, the grandaddy (or should I say “grandmama” of all English language abusers – Sarah Palin using the word “refudiate” when she meant “repudiate.” Listen to the piece at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128950842
Tell us, what are your biggest grammatical pet peeves?