Pet Peeves

2:01 AM

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 (1) Run-on sentences do not run on forever and ever. Wordy sentences are grammatically correct but stylistically suicidal. I could write any random sentence with a thousand different colons and clauses, but if I make sure that I commit no comma splicing or fragmentation, I can keep going on as long as I like without any fear of being nailed by the grammar police, who, most likely, wouldn't be able to pick out any errors anyway since my sentence would be so long and convoluted, a problem we should all avoid like the plague. Here is a genuine run-on sentence: This is a run-on sentence, avoid it.

(2) Please remember how to correctly write dialogue. Please do not write this: "I can't believe it's not sliced bread." She said to Tom. Please, friends. Consider my health.

(3) If you do not know how to use colons, skip 'em. Using semi-colons (;) as commas is a horrific maltreatment of punctuation; a truly appalling act. (See what I mean?) Improper colon use is just as upsetting. Writing "I will pack: cupcake pajamas, my stuffed animal and my worn-out toothbrush" violates colon sanctity.

(4) Definitely remember how to write definitely. Not definately and certainly not defiantly. I hope you wouldn't defiantly do anything, except axe misspellings of definitely from your internal registrar.

(5) Alot is not a word. Neither is already when saying, "I'm already to go!" And alright is atrocious. All right? Good, then.

(6) Passive voice is okay. No great writer accomplished great writing without bucking the great myth that the passive voice is evil. In normal cases, it's good to be active -- but even style must rest a bit.

(7) Refer to oneself properly. Contemporary songs regularly botch the "you and me/you and I" combos. Listen for it. Do not say, "I wish you could throw your voice like me." That's wrong. Instead you ought to say, "I wish you could throw your voice like I (can)." And if you value your life, never pull a stunt like this: "Charlie danced with Jessie and I." Never.

(8) We ought to boycott restaurants with random apostrophe usage. Nothing gives me more delight than mentally correcting restaurants' grammar. Steak 'n' Shake. Not Steak 'n Shake or Steak n' Shake.

(9) The argument over whether we should extend the olive branch to anyways confuses meYou didn't know that World War III is underway in the grammar part of town? It is. They say anyways is wrong: it ought to be anyway. I wouldn't know either way, but we say always and sideways, which makes just as little sense as anyways, anyway.

(10) Grammar geeks drive me insane. They're pointless. They're rude. They make a fuss over things that don't matter a bit and leave normal people in terror, lest they transgress some obscure rule. Grace, friends, grace. Go easy on the lists and vitriol.

Unless you can pull off the adorable-intelligent thing like I can. In that case, fire away. What pet peeves rain on your day?

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23 impressions

  1. I'm not a true grammar geek, because I make plenty of mistakes myself. :) There are a few things that drive me crazy. Mostly mispellings, especially names. My own family (extended family, that is) mispells my name as "Kristen" all the time. It drives me crazy. I love my name and the way it looks with an "i," but I think it looks terrible with an "e." :) Maybe that's why I have an obsession with always spelling people's names correctly. I double and triple check when I'm leaving comments, answering emails, etc.

    I also hate it when people spell "Jane Austen" as "Jane Austin." Austen is one of my favorite authors. Austin is a place in Texas.

    As for incorrect apostrophe usage at businesses...we have a dry cleaner in town that has the "Hour's" listed on the door. That's all I have to say about that.

    As far as non-grammar releated pet peeves, swearing is at the top of the list. Especially when men swear in front of me and my mom. It's so rude and inconsiderate.

    ~Kristin (with an "i" :)

  2. I really enjoyed the post, though I don't understand what the problem is with the colon usage example. Perhaps you can enlighten me.

    On my part, a few of my favorites are when a last name in the plural form is given an apostrophe before the "s," and when people don't use it in it's proper function. Its kinda annoying.

  3. There. Their. They're.

    There's a difference, people!

  4. Kristin, I HATE name misspellings too! (Did I spell your name right? Phew. I did.) People are always spelling my name like Baily...especially on certificates and awards.

    And I nearly had a heart attack this Christmas season after seeing how many times Santa Claus was turned into a Santa Clause. Hey! Maybe Santa's a grammar geek?

    Gabriel, a proper usage of colons would be something like this: "I will pack the following (or "these things" or "things such as these" or whatever): water bottle, air mattress and teddy bear." A list should never follow a colon without the proper preceding little phrase.

    At least that's how I was taught in my closed-off world of grammar geekiness. ;o)

    Abby, you rock. YES.

  5. Well, I can't stand when people ask if I'm Bailey's sister (or Chase's sister, Tom B's daughter, or Dr. Franklyn B's granddaughter). That has nothing to do with grammar, but for your info, I just happen to be myself. I defiantly agree about definitely.

    Or when people call me Bailey, but I'd rather be called Bailey than Brittney - hello, my name is Bethany. Not Beverly, not Bailey, Brittney, Beth...

    This has nothing to do with grammar, but as you know, grammar isn't such a great thing if I'm involved. ;D

  6. aHA.

    Oh, and that should be "when people don't use "it" in it's proper function."


  7. I hate hate hate it when people misspell definitely. I actually have trouble with the word 'horrible'. It's funny.

  8. Hey, this is Abby's sister. I've been really enjoy your blog for the past few months. You write some very thought-provoking and funny posts.

    I hate it when people abuse the word "too" by doing this:
    "Popcorn is my favorite snack to!"

  9. "I will pack the following: water bottle, air mattress and teddy bear."

    I take it you're not a fan of the Oxford comma? ;-)

    As for pet peeves . . . our neighbors have recently nailed a sign to their fence reading "Be kind, pick after your dogs." I have a quiet fit of rage every time I see it. Honestly, you'd think an English-speaking individual could write a simple sentence without leaving out words [to say nothing of the comma splice.]

  10. Bailey- Let me say're a Grammar geek :) lol ! just kidding;)Love you !

    Pet peeves for Grammar ? One thing is...I can't stand it when people use the wrong form of "to"'s either to, too, or two :)

    Loved the post !

  11. Uh-oh. Better check my emails to you carefully and make sure there is not TOO many grammatical mistakes. I must admit, although I am an English nerd, grammar is not my alley. ;)

    @Kristin- I'm with ya. People misspell my name ALL THE TIME. The offending spelling is usually "Alexis" or "Alexus". Two X's people! ;) And likewise, you pronounce it "Alexxus" and not "Alexxis". :P

    My major pet peeve is when people say "I'll pray for you," but it's more of a cliche phrase than a true meaningful promise. I try to make it a habit when I say "I'll pray for you," to actually do so. :]

  12. Definitely spelled as defiantly is way at the top of my list.

    You rock, Bailey. :)


  13. I agree with all but the last one. I can't help it, I am one. I still make many mistakes but that is what I get for trying to become a teacher. I have to learn grammar in order to teach Spanish.

  14. Bethany, I'd much rather you be called Bethany too. I like Bethany better than Bailey.

    Miss Madison, theoretically I'm an Oxford comma fan. To me it's like party noise. I like the idea of all the conversations and interconnectedness and socialization...but seeing it played out shuts me down.

    So too (T-O-O) with the Oxford commas. I like commas. Really, I do. But when they all start crowding in, I'm like, "ZAP THAT COMMA!" It's psychological, friend. Purely psychological.

    I'm sorry for the psychological trauma of your neighbor's sign. Ouch. And LOL.

    Jake, I'm sure you just adore grammar geeks when she -- *cough* they -- love to correct you midsentence. ;o)

    POST ADDENDUM: The next person I run into at Walmart who says "Thank you much" or "Do you want to come with?" -- I pity that person greatly.

  15. ...I say "thanks much" all the time...

  16. Oops, I am one of your pet peeves! I can NEVER remember howto spell definitely! I had to look at your post to remember! =)

  17. Hyacinth, as far as I know, the Oxford comma is the last comma one would use at the end of a list of items. Like this: "Crickets, bird cages, and chocolate chips are some of my favorite things."

    Poor Gabriel. Actually, I think it comes from saying "Thank you very much" all the time. I'm pretty sure we ought to say "Many thanks" instead of "much thanks" but I promise to smile sweetly if I meet you at Walmart and you tell me, "Thank you much."

    Or maybe not.....

    Oh, Abby! It took me forever to remember how to spell definitely. See, grammar geeks are just normal people who happen to know a few more things than they did a couple hours ago. ;o)

  18. "Alot" bothers me a lot. But I'm usually all right with "alright". I'm glad the point was made that passive voice is okay. That was helpful. Thank you, Bailey. ;)

  19. Ah, grammar peeves!!! Definitely the one that drives me the craziest is when people say "old-fashion" instead of "old-fashioned" ... like we once bought "Old-Fashion Homestyle Shortbread Cookies" from the grocery store. Old-fashion??? What does that mean? Nothing!!!

    Sorry, sorry ... trying not to get fired up. :-P I actually just dropped by to wish you a very happy New Year's, and to pray that 2012 would be a great year for you and your family. Full of good grammar. ;-)

    Love in Christ,

  20. I'll be the first to say that I often make grammar mistakes, but I do have pet peeves in certain areas of the grammatical sphere. Defiantly. ;) I particularly go kinda ballistic over the proper use of "too."

    ^Hmm, grammatical sphere. Does that even make sense?

    *Hugs and Happy New Year!*

  21. So "defiantly" is a common misspelling of "definitely"? My boss said I was "defiantly improving" in one area on my performance appraisal and I thought it was a subtle (or subconscious) comment on my attitude about having to improve! LOL

    I don't have any real pet peeves about grammar except the more general pet peeve of people posting comments or sending emails full of typos and other errors. I think any form of writing that another person or persons will be seeing is worth taking a few seconds to read over before hitting send.

    My daughter has a pet peeve about the use of "hopefully" that has become so commonplace it is now accepted as correct. i.e. "Hopefully, you will know what I am talking about." If you know what I am talking about, your knowing will not be done in a hopeful manner, but I do hope you know what I'm talking about. This is not a pet peeve of my own, but thanks to her, I do notice when people use "hopefully" this way. It happens frequently.

    I hope you will continue to give us fun stimulating posts such as this one. ;-)


  22. I've likely told you this before, but I think that the word "that" gets overused. Did you know that most "that's" can be eliminated entirely? At other times, "that" should be replaced by "which" or "who". My Dad is the one that told me about that. That being said, "that" does have its proper place in the English language.


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