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What are your pet peeves re English usage?

 
 
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Apr, 2004 07:53 pm
shepaints wrote:
Thanks for the support Clary......here's another.....
"Drive decent" in stead of "Drive decently"

The list of adjectives for adverbs is endless - he done good, they drive bad, BUT I don't like the new overcorrection (well comparatively new) of MOST IMPORTANTLY instead of MOST IMPORTANT. It used to be fine to say
Most important, the door will be locked at 12 tonight. Now we have to use Most importantly....
Which used to mean, in a pompous and self-important manner, as in He rose ponderously and made his way most importantly to the podium.

I've come to the conclusion I hate hypercorrection much more than just bad honest-to-goodness ignorance. I don't really mind 'Joe and me's going down the shops.' But I hate 'He told Joe and I that he was totally disinterested in politics.'
Oh and how about less and fewer? I think it's rather nice that one of our British supermarkets correctly has a lane for '9 items or fewer' but most of them go with 'less'.
There's some Easter beefs for youse!
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 10:35 am
This is a very common one...
This is very common but the correct way sounds awkward:

"Everyone does their own work." everyone is singular, but if you were to say/write, "Everyone does his/her own work," it really sounds awkward. So far, I don't know of a way to keep it grammatical but not have it sound strange.

Also, I often see receive misspelled as "recieve," weird misspelled as "wierd," and supersede misspelled as "supercede." I'm not saying English spelling is easy-- far from it-- just that dictionaries are there for a purpose! And people often say officious, thinking it means "official" or something close. It means "meddlesome," according to my dictionary.

Speaking of dictionaries, I have noticed that some are changing definitions/pronunciations of certain words to conform to what much of the populace is saying. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I thought dictionaries were supposed to set people straight on what's correct, not concede to those who get it wrong. Strange!! Here's an example:

FEBRUARY (from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)

Dissimiliations may occur when a word contains two identical or closely related sounds, resulting in the change or loss of one of them. This happens in February, which is more often pronounced "feb-u-ary" than "feb-ru-ary," though all of these variants are in frequent and acceptable use. The \y\ heard from many speakers is not an intrusion but rather an alternative pronounciation of the unstressed vowel "u" after a consonant...


ailsa
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 10:50 am
Can't "their" be used as a singular possessive? (I'm really reaching here, this is definitely not my subject)
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 02:23 pm
Can't "their" be used as a singular possessive?
Hi Wilso,

I don't believe so. According to the book Woe is I, page 11:

"Their, the possessive form of they, is often used mistakenly for his or her, as in: No one in their right mind pays retail. Ouch! No one is singular, and the possessive that goes with it should be singular, too: No one in her right mind pays retail.

"I suspect many people are reluctant to use his or her when they aren't referring to anyone in particular. But until our language has a sex-neutral possessive to use instead, we are stuck with his, or her, or the clumsy compound his or her. To substitute their may be politically correct, but it's grammatically impaired."

ailsa
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darbyshaw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 05:08 pm
My peeve is farther and further - totally abused and misused even by professionals.

When was the last time you threw a ball "fur"?

The second one is lay and lie. Eeek!
0 Replies
 
SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 05:32 pm
Re: Can't "their" be used as a singular possessive
ailsagirl wrote:
Hi Wilso,

I don't believe so. According to the book Woe is I, page 11:

"Their, the possessive form of they, is often used mistakenly for his or her, as in: No one in their right mind pays retail. Ouch! No one is singular, and the possessive that goes with it should be singular, too: No one in her right mind pays retail.

"I suspect many people are reluctant to use his or her when they aren't referring to anyone in particular. But until our language has a sex-neutral possessive to use instead, we are stuck with his, or her, or the clumsy compound his or her. To substitute their may be politically correct, but it's grammatically impaired."

ailsa


Which brings up one of my pet peeves. I can't stand the correct grammar in this case, especially when "her" is used, since "his" is a more acceptable neuter.
0 Replies
 
ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:22 pm
I know what you mean...
SCoates,

Yes, I know what you mean. Such is our language!

I always thought it sounded odd to say, "The building, whose fire-escape is loose, is not the model of safety." Using the word "whose" in terms of an inanimate object sounds very strange indeed! But we have no other word that could replace it. Way back when, someone should have invented one!!

ailsa
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ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:24 pm
Can of worms...
I see I have opened up a veritable can of worms with my original question, "What is your pet peeve...?" We could go on for years! Confused

ailsa
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:26 pm
Usage of singular-plural words like was and were always gets me into trouble.
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shepaints
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:29 pm
ailsaqirl:

Surely it should read, "The building, which has a loose fire-escape, is not the model of safety."
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:32 pm
Oh! And let's start on the alphabet! Get rid of C, Q, X.... any others? Also we need to make letters for th, ch, sh, and zh.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 06:33 pm
As a lexicographer and writer of English teaching books, I can now say that at least in Britain, it is considered acceptable (because more natural and less cumbersome) to say 'they' instead of 'he or she'. Maybe 'ungrammatical' but since we have done away with ONE (which is regarded as too queenly and archaic) we have no word equivalent to French 'on' and German 'man'. In Chinese, there is no sex differentiation for this pronoun! How much better!
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 06:22 am
Re: Can't "their" be used as a singular possessive
ailsagirl wrote:
Hi Wilso,

I don't believe so. According to the book Woe is I, page 11:

"Their, the possessive form of they, is often used mistakenly for his or her, as in: No one in their right mind pays retail. Ouch! No one is singular, and the possessive that goes with it should be singular, too: No one in her right mind pays retail.

"I suspect many people are reluctant to use his or her when they aren't referring to anyone in particular. But until our language has a sex-neutral possessive to use instead, we are stuck with his, or her, or the clumsy compound his or her. To substitute their may be politically correct, but it's grammatically impaired."

ailsa


Thanks for the lesson. :wink:
0 Replies
 
soserene
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 01:42 pm
darbyshaw wrote:
My peeve is farther and further - totally abused and misused even by professionals.

When was the last time you threw a ball "fur"?

The second one is lay and lie. Eeek!


LOL!!!... wait.. come to think of it, people in St. Louis throw the ball fur, way over thur.

I think the "reench" or "wrench" is most common in the south?

Anyways...
Quitchyer bellyakin, thur ain't nothin wrong or WIERD about this here English language. Now run long downna the crick and fetch me some worter to reench these dishes.
Smile


OH!! that's another one, I had an aunt and cousin (ironically the same ones that said reench.... said worter instead of water.. very annoying
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 01:43 pm
some a them things really tick me off, its just that i disremember which . . .
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Thalion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 05:30 pm
I've almost never seen this one used CORRECTLY.

"Your invited."
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 05:51 pm
Thalion wrote:
I've almost never seen this one used CORRECTLY.

"Your invited."


I'd have to agree with that . . . try "You're invited." You're is a contraction of "you are," your is a possessive pronoun.
0 Replies
 
oristarA
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 06:18 pm
Setanta wrote:
Thalion wrote:
I've almost never seen this one used CORRECTLY.

"Your invited."


I'd have to agree with that . . . try "You're invited." You're is a contraction of "you are," your is a possessive pronoun.


For those lazy bones, your = you're is their cup of tea.
So don't disrupt them, dear mister. Razz
0 Replies
 
ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Apr, 2004 07:34 pm
That would fix it
Hi She,

Yes, that rewording would fix it. Cool

I hate it when people refer to things that aren't of the canine persuasion as "puppies." Sounds really stupid. I don't even know where that expression comes from! Makes no sense.

ailsa
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Apr, 2004 01:57 am
Example, Aislagirl? I can't imagine when anyone would do that!
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