Author Topic: Grammar quirks  (Read 42722 times)

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starry diadem

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Grammar quirks
« on: July 18, 2012, 03:22:29 AM »
Okay, I know that in the great scheme of things these don't really matter and they aren't real impediments to understanding, but there are a couple of grammar misuses that always have me wincing when I read them.  I don't care about split infinitives (a fairly late invention by 18th century grammarians trying to make English more like Latin) and the confusion between affect/effect merely has me sighing.  But there are a couple that - probably irrationally, given I can cope with other 'offences' - have me sucking in a sharp breath and dealing with a momentary flare of irritation. 


My two least favourites are:

 -    'per say', when that's just the way you pronounce the Latin tag, per se.   I've seen that on this site every day this week and it never fails to have me wanting to ask the OP why on earth they don't stick to English and avoid the problem of dead languages all together.

 -  the confusion between 'lay' and 'lie'.   Every time I read "I was laying there..."  I want to know what it was the poster was laying.  Eggs?  To lay, as a verb, is transitive and requires a direct object.  It shouldn't be "Come and lay down beside me"  but  "Come and lie down..."  It makes me twitch.  Every time. 


I get that this is my inner pedant having a conniption fit and I tell Pedant Annie to be quiet and get back inside her box.   I usually succeed and all is serene again until the next time.

What are the grammar misuses that press your buttons and have you wincing?  Or am I alone in my pedantry?!

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Erich L-ster

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 03:30:29 AM »
I'm saddened to see that we're losing the word "lose". Who loosed these losers upon the world who don't know the difference between "loose" and "lose"?

Forget about your you're their they're to too two.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 03:39:27 AM »
I feel your pain... And yes, I know, rearguard action and the rest, and sometimes it's not grammar so much as spelling. Affect/effect does annoy me, and my reaction to the lay/lie thing is usually, yes, to say 'you're not a chicken!'

Every time I see 'ect' for 'etc' I think of Molesworth.

Discreet/discrete puts my hackles up. Not the same word. And prostrate/prostate, although when people get that one wrong, it usually makes me giggle.

The blood pressure rising one, though, I think, is 'them' for 'those'. I was actually guilty of a major etiquette fail once while waiting to collect a child from school; somebody with an apple tree in their garden had set out a table with bags of apples for sale to benefit the PTA, and a parent beside me commented "ooh, I think I'll have some of them apples." At the time I was fighting this battle with one of my children, and my response was both loud and automatic: "THOSE apples!"

Loud, automatic and mortifying - and there's no way to apologise without making it worse.

Oh yes, and on a 'light blue touchpaper and run away' note, I give you...

Apostrophes!

AylaM

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 03:49:18 AM »
I am not great with grammar.  I failed most of my tests in school when it came to identifying things like adverbs, adjectives, and sentence structure.  What I do know of grammar I tend to have just picked up from reading.  I can look at something and say "It does not look right" and adjust accordingly.  However I never know if my grammar is quite right, but I think I have the basics down.  But because I am so bad with knowing what is technically wrong/right, I am rather lenient with grammar.  That leniency is reinforced by the fact that I think faster than I can type.  And by the fact that I can't type properly.  So, again, I give a lot of leeway.

But I do have my quirks.

I love the Oxford comma.

I do not like the common mistakes mentioned above: they're/their/there, to/too/two.

I can't stand the use of "they" for a gender-ambiguous person. (E.g. The person went into the store and they bought a drink).  Apparently the person with no gender can now replicate himself (or herself).  ;D

Capitalization.  It does not need to be perfect, but an attempt must be made.


ETA:

Apostrophes!

YES! POD! PODPODPODPODPOD! (...so much for good grammar.  I'm sure spaces aren't necessary.  Merely a courtesy, right?)




« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 03:58:25 AM by KayMarie »

Redsoil

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 05:05:04 AM »
Not actually grammar, but the use of the word "break" for "brake".

One may accidently break a vase.  One uses the brakes in one's car to reduce speed (abruptly or otherwise).

Every time I see the word used incorrectly (often here on E-hell) my teeth itch!
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Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 07:34:03 AM »
The one I forgot: I and me.

'Me and KayMarie are distressed by aberrant apostrophes.'

No, we aren't. 'KayMarie and I are distressed by aberrant apostrophes.'

It's not difficult: use the same one you would use if there were (subjunctive!) only you - so 'I am distressed', not 'me am distressed'. And you yourself always come last. That's easy to remember - this is an etiquette board, and etiquette says I should let KayMarie go first, right?

Pioneer

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 07:43:55 AM »
Less versus Fewer.  (I know, a capitalization violation. >:D)

I find it especially cringe-worthy when I see it by vendors as "20 items or less."  Items in a cart is quantifiable, not a mass.  Use fewer.
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gmama

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 08:00:16 AM »
Should have, would have, could have.  NOT should of, would of, could of.  I get stabby when I see the latter.

Venus193

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 08:16:06 AM »
I agree with all the previous posts and will add the following, which I think also fall into generation-speak:

"Why are you hating on her?"

"I want to hit that" (as in "I want to boink her")

I also hate that I feel bad about this because I don't want to be laughed at as an old fogey (which I'm technically too young to be) but the poor grammar of the first (along with the previous examples) contributes to the debasement of our language and the misogyny of the second riles me up.

squeakers

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 08:17:48 AM »
Less versus Fewer.  (I know, a capitalization violation. >:D)

I find it especially cringe-worthy when I see it by vendors as "20 items or less."  Items in a cart is quantifiable, not a mass.  Use fewer.


http://www.cracked.com/blog/7-commonly-corrected-grammar-errors-that-arent-mistakes/ item #5 (cracked.com has some Adult wording.. and imagery that had the perpetual kid in me snickering.)

And from that article a link to http://motivatedgrammar.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/10-items-or-less-is-just-fine/
"I feel sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." "It is so low, in fact, that Miss Manners feels sure you would not want to resort to it yourself, even in your own defense. We do not believe in retaliatory rudeness." Judith Martin

Giggity

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 08:22:33 AM »
One I see all the time on this site:

"To no end" DOES NOT MEAN "no end." The former means "pointlessly." The latter means "to the Nth degree."

"People popping their gum bother me no end." That is correct.

I am pretty prescriptive in my grammar. I don't like using verbs as nouns, and I use the word when others would use a phrase. I buy things; I don't purchase them. Those things in my window are curtains, not drapes. I don't have a look; I look.

And for the love of God, there's no such thing as a chester drawer.

Homonym abuse is a big one for me too. A king reigns. That thing you steer a horse with, that's reins. What's coming out of the sky, that's rain.

For awhile, I'm not sure why, when referring to a king-making ceremony, the trend was to refer to the process as "coronating." Crowning, people, crowning! The ceremony is a coronation. You don't get to form a verb from that.

And there's another one that's gotten me of late: people using "foundational" when I think they mean "fundamental."
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 08:24:36 AM by The Revenant »
Words mean things.

Redsoil

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 08:32:40 AM »
"Coronating"?  Really?

*faints*
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Venus193

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2012, 08:43:26 AM »
Quote
For awhile, I'm not sure why, when referring to a king-making ceremony, the trend was to refer to the process as "coronating." Crowning, people, crowning! The ceremony is a coronation. You don't get to form a verb from that.

Back in my reenactment days there was someone who would refer to a coronet as a "cornet".  Since he was a person who generally speaking was generally speaking (not unlike myself) I never had the opportunity to correct him, but as I type this I have the feeling that he knew he was using the incorrect word and was doing so deliberately to insult the intelligence of his audience.

guihong

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2012, 08:50:19 AM »
"Like", meaning "said"  >:( >:( "So she's like blah blah blah, and I'm like blah blah blah".   

"Basically".  "So basically I was like, blah blah blah".

Calvary was where Jesus was crucified.  Cavalry means soldiers on horseback.   But even I mess that up.

"Axs" for "ask".  I don't know if that's a kind of dialect, and it's controversial here because it seems mostly connected to race.  It still makes me cringe, though.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 08:53:05 AM by guihong »



Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Grammar quirks
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2012, 09:05:55 AM »
Me again - off of. Just no. I got off the horse, I did not get off of it. After all, I didn't get on of it so why would I get off of it?


And for the love of God, there's no such thing as a chester drawer.


Drawers? You get drawers? You lucky... person. My local Freegle regularly has people asking for a chest of draws.

Also off Freegle, the man who had to come back to  the list and post his request a second time. He had asked for a three piece suit and was bewildered when a member offered him clothing, rather than furniture.

Houses for sale: that bathroom opening off the main bedroom? En suite, not on suite.

Oh yes, and I'm in favour of the death penalty for people who misuse 'literally', as in 'I was literally dead with exhaustion...'

I sound like a right curmudgeonly old bat here, don't I?





You're supposed to say No.