Grammatical annoyances of the week

This one I heard two days ago on NPR; I can’t remember the exact word in quotes, but the announcer’s sentence went something like this:

“The evidence, quote, unquote.”

If you’re going to use verbal air quotes, please place them properly. In this case it’s, “The quote evidence, unquote.”

Is that so hard?

And I hate this one, which I heard today: the word “peeps” for people. That is a form not of virtue signaling, but of “I’m with it” signaling.  PEEPS ARE NOT PEOPLE; they are these! (I do love this confection, though!)

As always, use the comments to vent about your own language peeves.

220 Comments

  1. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Most hated: “lit”

    • Merilee
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      For literature??

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Ha! It used to mean drunk, but now seems to indicate something that is excellent or exciting.

      • Ann German
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        There was a story this a.m. on the BBC about the evolution of social media jargon and “lit” was an example of how black american lingo is disproportionately influential. I can’t remember the researcher’s name but shouldn’t be too hard to find.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          <blockquote<"… how black american lingo is disproportionately influential."

          ‘Twas ever thus — or at least since King Oliver and Louie Armstrong migrated north from the Storyville section of New Orleans and made jazz a thing.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          I’m guessing it came from a misguided attempt to find a short form of ‘enlightened’.
          Rather than ‘lit up’ as in ‘pissed out of his mind’.

          Either way, it’s pretty arcane IMO (isn’t that the point of much jargon, though? To be comprehended by the initiated and exclude the outsiders?)

          cr

          • Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            My guess is it’s what happens when you further shorten “legit”, which is what you get when you shorten “legitimate”, but it doesn’t actually mean legitimate, but good or great.

            -Ryan

        • Filippo
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          I wonder if that means that it is “over-represented”?

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Ha! I hate “lighted” as in she lighted the lamp” when the past tense is “lit”.

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        From U.S. Navy days, IICR, “Fires are lighted in Number Two Boiler.” (As opposed to “lit.”)

        • Filippo
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          Which is to say, according to the Navy: “There are three ways to do something – the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Navy Way.”

  2. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey, those look like my peeps! 🙂

  3. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    The pronunciation of “integral” as “in TEG rul” rather than “IN te grul.” According to the dictionary they’re both allowed, but not by me!

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      I’ve acquired the notion that /IN te grul/ is the mathematical sense and /in TEG rul/ is the “essential” sense.

      Odd that. Maybe because I learnt the first sense from British teachers and the latter from American colleagues … ?

      /@

      • rickflick
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        No, it appears that way in my brain too. I learned them both on Sesame Street.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          They did integrals on Sesame Street?? Musta been the Count.

          • Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            “continuum many dxes, ah ah ah ah!”

            • Merilee
              Posted September 27, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

              😹

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I use INtegral for both cases (yank who lives in Canada and has lived in London).

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I’ve noticed that Dawkins says “a-MY-no” acid, not “a-MEE-no.”

  4. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    “Go ahead and … ”

    This drives me nuts when someone is giving instructions.

    “Add the nuts to the batter. Now go ahead and add the vanilla, too.”

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      You should see the movie Office Space. It makes good fun of “go ahead and …”

      • John R. Vokey
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        “try and …”

        • Filippo
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

          I remember hearing someone say (in the southern Appalachians), “take and (do whatever it was that one was doing). Which is right out of the Bible, as in, from The Lord’s Supper, “take and eat.” (Which I take to mean, pick it up with your hand, as opposed to trying to pick it up with your mouth.)

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

            It’s helpful to be specific with instructions.

    • RossR
      Posted September 28, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Even worse I find tightly woven recipes that go “add these, this and that, blend in those, stir well and THEN QUICKLY ADD THE STIFFLY BEATEN EGG-WHITES” – which have not been mentioned before! Nothing to do with grammar, but a very good way to ruin anyone’s day!

  5. freiner
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Just heard one on the radio a few minutes ago. We have a cold front coming through soon. The reporter warned that thunderstorms and high winds are “in the offering.”

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I would hate to be the usher collecting that offering!

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Per an old joke: Someone, speaking in an southern Appalachian dialect/accent, called the florist and asked that flowers (“flares”) be delivered to a church for a wedding ceremony at a church. The florist replied, “Why-is the bride making an emergency landing down the aisle?”

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Nautical metaphors are lost on landlubbers.

      /@

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of wet things, I don’t like when people write ‘pour over my notes’ when they really want to pore over them.

  6. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Peeps rule quote unquote

    • Larry Smith
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Orson Welles would agree.

  7. Ann German
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I think the speaker probably meant “peops” not “peeps.”

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Not sure if you are serious, but peeps has been around for a while as cool-talk for people.

      • Ann German
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Not serious.

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Is “home girls” every used?

  8. JezGrove
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    First heard “peeps” as shorthand for “people” when Harry Enfield used it in sketches involving his ‘Stavros’ Greek kebab shop persona back in the ’80s on Channel 4 in the UK. Not sure anyone using “peeps” now would want to be associated with that – or who’s guilty of cultural appropriation here!

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      yup, me too. And that’s still what comes to mind.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I hadn’t realised that. But I’ve certainly been aware of it for a couple of decades – and used it – before I knew of those marshmallow chicks.

      Of course, there is something that will make Jerry’s toes really curl: On Twitter my peeps are my “tweeps”! 😁

      /@

  9. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I noticed that on the package for Peeps they have “always gluten free, fat free,” whereas both should be hyphenated: “gluten-free, fat-free.” Hyphens are among the most abused punctuation marks on the planet, second only to semi-colons (and, of course, exclamation points!!!!).

    • JezGrove
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I think that should be apostrophe’s at number one. ;o)

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s a forgivable error, I think, as hyphenation varies from some adjectival compounds.

      “This coat is ochre coloured.”

      “This is an ochre-coloured coat.”

      /@

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        * varies for

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        There’s a world of difference between a man eating chicken and a man-eating chicken. 🙂

  10. Ned
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “maybe, just maybe, …”

    which is grammatically fine I suppose, but carries the condescending implication that what follows is obviously true to anyone who thinks about it. I find it passive aggressive and annoying; just say “maybe …” if that’s what you mean, and if you think what you are claiming is obviously correct, then just come out and say that.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Maybe just use maybe? 🙂

  11. Ed Collins
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    “The quote evidence, unquote.” is also incorrect and an abomination!

    To say it properly…
    ” The quote evidence end of quote.”

    “unquote” – Orwellian Newspeak.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Agreed.

      • Robb McAllister
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        “endquote” is also acceptable.

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          I’d also suggest that the “quote, unquote” needs to be together or the initial “quote” before the word or phrase would puzzle your listener.

          I tend to use it before, rather than after: “So, regulations often state a requirement for, quote, unquote, ‘two-factor authentication’, but rarely define what that means.”

          (And the “So,” tick is another thing that annoys Jerry, iirc. But really, it’s a verbal new-paragraph indicator.)

          /@

          • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            Yep.

          • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

            And you use it only when speaking. When you do, you use other means to indicate the phrase at issue, usually tone of voice but sometimes gestures. The quote unquote is not the delimiter of the phrase, it is an explanation for the different tone used.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        I kind of like, “Kkk kew”…”Kew kkk”. Like Victor Borge.
        But you have to be careful not to fling saliva.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          How I miss old Victor, from my bottom to my heart.

          • Diane G
            Posted September 27, 2018 at 4:51 am | Permalink

            Thanks for that! 🙂 I’d forgotten it.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          What am I missing with the kkk kew?

          • Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

            I was wondering about that myself. Out of left field?

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          ?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t “quote _____ close quote” be even better?

  12. Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I HATE PEEPS! Both as a way to say “people” and the marshmallows!

  13. grasshopper
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    A good example of “I’m with it” signalling is google’s replacement of “OK” with “Got It”. It just doesn’t grok.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      For sure!

      /@

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      I have to disagree. The use of “OK” in computer dialogs has conditioned computer users to expect that some action will occur if the user clicks it, as opposed to “Cancel” which exits the dialog without performing the action. When a dialog exists solely to convey information to the user (ie, no action is implied), using “Ok” can be confusing. Does clicking Ok do something or not? If so, how do I cancel it? The “Got it” button or link doesn’t share that ambiguity.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        +1

        Everyone complains about bad interfaces. Google makes a small improvement, people complain.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Got it.

        /@

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        You have a good point there. It hadn’t occurred to me, but now you point it out, it’s obviously valid.

        cr

  14. John Conoboy
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I like Peeps. Disgustingly sweet and yummy.

    There are a large number of videos on youtube of people putting Peeps in the microwave. My favorite is one that uses Peeps in the microwave to determine the speed of light.

  15. Ken Pidcock
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    As always, using jealous for envious.

  16. alexandra Moffat
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Failing to use I and me as subject and object. “ A photo was taken of Sally and I”.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Does “it’s me” bug you?

      /@

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        No, it is I sounds pretentious but I sometimes use ‘tis I, sardonically. Recently a few people didn’t know what I was talking about when I said “This is she” on the phone…

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        No, it is I sounds pretentious but I sometimes use ‘tis I, sardonically. Recently a few people didn’t know what I was talking about when I said “This is she” on the phone…
        Maybe best just to sing “C’est moi!”

  17. Brujo Feo
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Something I spend a fair amount of time noticing, as I used to write a column, *The Language Police*, for the local bar-association monthly.

    You’re right–a lot of neologisms can’t pay their freight. (Keep in mind that in psychiatric terminology, a neologism is “a meaningless word used by a psychotic.”)

    But since I always bitch about such things, let me mention one that I really liked. A reporter, referring to the idea of getting a short “man-in-the-street” opinion about something, said: “I’ll vox pop him.”

    Lovely.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      That psychiatric sense, since when? I’d have though the idiomatic sense is much older.

      /@

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Vox pop — Hey, that’s a good one, though I think I’d italicize it in writing.

  18. Larry Smith
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Not really annoying, but I was able to call out a friend on the following minor grammatical issue this weekend.

    Our daughter just got engaged, and a friend emailed me thusly:

    “Congratulations! We heard that Wesley asked Nora to marry him on one knee!”

    My reply to her:

    “Actually, I suspect Wesley will be standing up when they get married. He’s already spotting her a good 1/2 a foot in height!”

    And, to rub it in, I followed up with this classic line from Captain Spaulding:

    “This morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know!”

  19. Mark Reaume
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Bae

  20. phil brown
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    However annoying, substituting “peeps” for “people” is not ungrammatical. Maybe it would be better described as a “lexical annoyance”.

  21. mfdempsey1946
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Veggies for vegetables — the galloping cutes — aaaaarrrrghhh!!!

    • Curt Nelson
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Galloping cutes, I like that.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      In our family we say /ve JET a bull/, based on how one of our kids used to say it.

      But “veggies” seems unobjectionable.

      /@

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        You say ve-JET-a-bull? My, but that’s re-GRET-a-bull.

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Just for humorous effect, if there were any confusion.

          /@

        • Merilee
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Poor bull didn’t ask to be jetted…

  22. Curt Nelson
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I was confused by that use of “quote, unquote” for a long time and finally asked someone what the deal was — shouldn’t it be “quote, the words conveyed, unquote” instead?
    Yes, I was told.

    It’s like hearing people say they “could care less.” It’s so commonly used that way that people who grow up hearing it need to stop and ask the question: Isn’t that illogical?

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I had never heard it used that way until I moved to the US, it seems to be universal here and remains irritating.

      Another phrase that lost something mid-Atlantic is the English usage “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” which makes sense, vs. “the proof is in the pudding” which sounds as though someone made a dessert from the first copy of a book.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Or proofed some whiskey in the pudding?

        • Simon Hayward
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          That’s clearly a better option 🙂

  23. Mark
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    “graduated” vs “graduated from”

    I hear things like “I graduated high school in 19xx” instead of “I graduated from high school in 19xx”. Schools graduate students. Students graduate FROM schools. I’ve heard anchor-persons on the national evening news use the FROM-less version, more than once.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      That really bugs me, too!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      To be old-school proper, it should be stated in the passive voice of “was graduated from,” since it’s the board of trustees that does the graduating. See here.

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        You can graduate a cylinder.

  24. John R. Vokey
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    “decimated” to mean total destruction.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      That ship has long since sailed.

      Many words have current meanings that are totally different from their etymology.

      How many dashboards on computer systems stop mud being dashed up into your face by horses’ hooves?

      /@

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Is that where it came from? I thought it just meant ‘instrument panel’. (Of course it was the obvious place to install the switches and dials).

        cr

        • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes! Exactly that, since early cars were literally horseless carriages.

          /@

          • Diane G
            Posted September 27, 2018 at 4:58 am | Permalink

            Thanks, that’s fun to know. 🙂

  25. Geoff Toscano
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    The way in which ‘proof’ and ‘evidence’ are used as though they mean the same thing.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Also ‘refute’ for ‘deny’. ‘Refute’ implies that the denial has been substantiated.

      cr

      • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        I blame Nixon for that.

        /@

      • Christopher
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I cannot refudiate that.

  26. Andrew
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Irregardless, the Peeps are so addicting!

  27. Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Using “peeps” as a direct substitute for “people” seems pointless and wrong. However, when used with a personal pronoun, as with “my peeps”, it becomes a handy shorthand for “my friends and associates”. Of course, “my people” might work as well but using a new word allows the meanings to diverge. “My people” has been used in business for quite a while. “My peeps” would never be used in a business context but to describe your friends and family group.

    All that said, I would probably never use “peeps” but I’m old.

  28. Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I have no problem with “quote, unquote” used properly. It reduces the cognitive load while parsing a sentence relative to its alternative.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      And when spoken, as it always is, tone delimits the phrase, the “quote unquote” only confirms it was meant that way, not as demarcation of the extent.

  29. John Yarzagaray
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I hate it when “theory” is used to mean scientific fact as in the theory of evolution, quote unquote. Go ahead and check out one of my favorite peeps, Ken Ham. Read his books and maybe, just maybe you’ll see the supposably solid proof of evolution for what it is. His books are lit!

    Kidding

  30. Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I cringe when people say “at the end of the day” I have heard people say it 3-4 times in one of their statements on tv. In the past, no one said “at the end of the day.” Now, everyone does, except me.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      And me. As soon as I hear it, I tune out whatever the person is talking about. ‘Cause, at the end of the day, I don’t care anymore.

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I hate that phrase too.

      Years ago, I heard a male client on a decorating show say “if you will” dozens to times. It was an affectation. He sounded snooty and wanted to convey what good taste he had, and said things like, “I abhor knotty pine”.

  31. Roger
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Semicolons. Everyone knows they are supposed to use them, but nobody knows when. They are always a shot in the dark with your fingers crossed hoping you got it right. They should be abolished for causing everyone too much anxiety.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Not so; educated writers use them properly.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • Roger
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Not everyone is a literarial black belt. Think of the children!

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, semicolons are to phrases as commas are to words.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Semi-colons are great; I use them all the time.

      They’re perfect for delimiting lists, especially when items in the list are complex and would contain commas by themselves.

      But some peeps cant’ even use apostrophes properly; its’ no wonder they struggle with the subtleties of semi-colons.

      /@

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

        The primary use for semicolons (no hyphenation needed) is to separate independent clauses in a compound sentence (although they have other uses, as you’ve noted).

        I like ’em, even though they have a slightly musty 18th-century feel. (The text of the US Constitution is lousy with them.)

        Some people, however, don’t like ’em at all. I recall Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., referring to them as the “hermaphrodites” of the punctuation world (which would probably get him in Dutch with the PC crowd now — as might my use of “Dutch,” for all I know).

        • Merilee
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Hey, Ken,
          Just outta curiosity, how do you pronounce your last name? Kyuketch? For some reason I’ve been saying Kyuseck in my head and I realize that’s clearly backwards…

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            Koo-kek.

            It was pronounced Koo-kets in the old country, and my grandparents maintained that pronunciation over here. But my dad Americanized it some — during WW2 I believe, when he threw in the towel from trying to get southern Chief Petty Officers to pronounce it right, is my understanding. 🙂

            The “ec” ending is pretty common in Slovenian names, and some Slovenian-Americans of my dad’s generation changed the spelling of the last syllable to “ets” to preserve the original pronunciation. One way or the other, the old-country names were bound to give way to American tongues.

            • Merilee
              Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

              Thanks.
              Dare I ask if you’re any relation to Melania?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

                None that I know of. Her peeps and my peeps come from towns about a hundred klicks apart. (When in Slovenia, measure as the Slovenians do, I always say.) 🙂

              • Merilee
                Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

                LOL

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          The important word here is “independent.” The general rule is that if one of the clauses is dependent on the other, use a comma. If each of them could stand as an independent sentence, use a semi-colon. Using a comma makes the dreaded “run-on sentence.”

          This is in English. In Spanish, independent clauses are regularly joined by commas–a good way to spot an otherwise fluent foreigner. But then, they also put periods and commas outside of quotation marks. Philistines.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        Moving swiftly on to colons: I’ve noticed that US writers often start the rest of the sentence after a colon with a capital letter, whereas we Brits almost never do. Another minor cultural divergence!

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          A Yank here who doesn’t capitalize after the colon. Unless, of course, what follows is a quotation or something else that logically requires the capital letter.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            I think those are stylistic differences and various places have different house styles so it depends on what style guide you follow or who taught you.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

          My understanding of approved practice is, if what follows the colon is not a complete sentence, do not to capitalize. If it is a complete sentence, capitalization is optional, I believe.

  32. Caldwell
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I’m “looking to” write my pet peeve.

  33. Caldwell
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Using “meme” to mean some stupid internet thing that popped up for a few seconds.

    • Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Memes (sense lolcatz) are a meme (sense Dawkins).

      /@

      • Kevin
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        The Internet is a meme.

  34. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    “Wow factor”. Nearly as common (and as badly misused) as “awesome”.

    cr

    • rickflick
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      I wince when I hear that something awesome is jaw-dropping, or jaw-droppingly awesome. My impulse is to see if the floor is clean.

  35. Christopher
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I always enjoy a bit of Peeves and Wooster, but after a beer and a bump (a phrase that both annoys and amuses) I can’t be arsed to be upset with wurds and such. However, I do very much agree with the post.

  36. Paul Matthews
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    People saying that “they’re humbled” when a great honour has just been bestowed on them. What’s up with that?

    • rickflick
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      We’re seeing that much less often since the inauguration.

      • Paul Matthews
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Good one!

  37. Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Peeps. The Soylent Green of candies.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      🙂

  38. Posted September 26, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    The one verbal that aggravates me the most is the pronunciation of jewelry as jool-er-ee.

    The textual issue I want settled now and forever though, is the use of bring vs. take. I was taught that bring implies movement towards you, take is moving away. I have heard the words interchanged for so long now I’m not even sure there still exists a correct way of using them.

    But being an old stick in the mud nitpicker true to my 7th grade English teacher, bring means moving towards you and take is moving away dammit!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      I take your meaning. Bring it on man.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Strongly agree on bring vs. take, but would probably disappoint you in my pronunciation of jewelry…
      Another thing I hate is “Did you do it yet” rather than “Have you done it yet.”

    • Matt
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Joolery always gets me, too. Also real-a-tor instead of realtor.

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        Febu-airy.

        And the winner is…newk-ular.

      • Matt
        Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

        Another writer I worked with said “template” as templAte with long a instead of “templit”. Drove me nuts.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          I think we Yanks may say templATe? I know that I do.

          • Steve Pollard
            Posted September 27, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Well, so do some of we Brits (us Brits?)! Indeed I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say “templit”.

          • Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            As software engineers, me and my associates use “template” quite often. In my lengthy experience, most say “templit”. Occasionally I hear “tem-plate”, but I have no recollection of any correlation with the ethnicity of the speaker.

          • Diane G
            Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:50 am | Permalink

            Me too.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 28, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

              I say templATE I think but perhaps shift between the two.

            • Merilee
              Posted September 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

              Canucks might say templet. Diana??

              • Merilee
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

                Whoops, Diana. Missed your earlier comment.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

                I usually say templATE but I’ve heard the other pronunciation and I’ve probably said it too. I think both pronunciations are used. It’s the same with process. I say it Praw but others say the British Proh. I hear both in Canada.

              • Merilee
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

                I tend to hear prohcess and prohject more here in Canada. When I was first dating my C@nadian ex in California, he was always talking about his prohject (dissertation). Not sure Brits always say proh, do they?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

                Yes, “Proh” is British. What I’ve personally seen in Ontario (since there are regional differences across provinces) is that in the GTA it is “Praw” but in South Western Ontario (Guelph, KW, etc) it is “Proh”. When I worked in Waterloo people thought it weird that I said “Praw” and all the Americans that worked for the company thought all Canadians (from their small sampling of one company in one area in Waterloo) said “Proh”.

              • Merilee
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

                My ex grew up near Brantford so thus, probably, the proh.

              • Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

                I think a lot of Americans say “prohject” but most do not.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

                This site thinks it’s ATE for UK and IT for US. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/template

              • Merilee
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                Never heard templit in US…

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

                That’s my point about regional differences. The US and Canada are big places. Pronunciations can change for some words from city to city not just state to state or province to province.

              • Diane G
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

                I just wish Dawkins would quit saying, evilution. 😉

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 28, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

                Lol me too. But I bet Dawkins wishes people would stop writing lol. I know he hates it when people begin a sentence with “so” and he thinks only Americans do it but Canadians do it all the time.

  39. Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    “Call out” to mean criticize. For the first 65 years of my life, to call out meant to say something aloud. That seems right to me.

    Suddenly that two-word phrase changed to mean something else entirely. And in this age of coarseness and insensitivity, everybody is always calling out someone or something. I wish we could just criticize them, or point out their error, or say whatever we used to say up until 4 or 5 years ago.

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:37 am | Permalink

      I have to challenge you on that.
      Or simply:
      I disagree with you on that.

      Can’t you just disagree with people anymore or is that rude now?

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks for calling that out!

      /@

  40. Matt
    Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Trump says “I feel badly”. Wrong. Should be “I feel bad.” Just as you would not say “I feel happily”, you’d say “I feel happy.” This is even more annoying because he actually corrected Cindy Lauper on Celebrity Apprentice for saying “I feel bad.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/living/ct-xpm-2012-10-10-ct-tribu-words-work-adverbs-20121010-story.html

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      If we’re descending into Drumpfisms, we gwine be here a LONG time.

      • Matt
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        Poor grammar is the least of my many complaints about him.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      No, Trump’s right. He feels, badly. He feels women, badly. ‘You grab them by the pussy…’

      [Sorry, couldn’t resist]

      cr

      • Filippo
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        I wonder if there a difference between “grab” and “grab by.”

    • freiner
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Here’s Kirk Douglas on that one (it’s from Letter to Three Wives)

      • Matt
        Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Off topic: If you haven’t seen Dana Carvey’s bit on Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster as gay lovers you owe it to yourself to watch it. One of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      But a Trump does in fact feel badly. He doesn’t feel at all…

  41. Posted September 26, 2018 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I must have heard something recently that offended me, but can’t think of it right now.
    So, instead, I’ll send Wikipedia references to two of my favorite humorous abuses of language:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoonerism
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

  42. Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else know the difference in few and less? Drives me nuts.

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      I meant fewer and less.

    • freiner
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      My wife sure does. And the less said about that (or the fewer things) the better.

      • Posted September 27, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        I am just glad you did not say the less comments the better. I might have had an anxiety attack.

  43. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Nothing whatsoever to do with grammar, but how’s this for a headline: Seal slaps kayaker in face with octopus

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12132621

    cr

  44. drawingbusiness
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The American habit of dropping the “of” from “a couple of” drives me nuts.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Didn’t know that was American. I always leave the “of” in but, come to think of it, the people I know who leave it out our Yanks.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Are Yanks…

  45. Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    While very different language appears to evolve . As such a vibrant champion of biological evolution, I am surprised at your reaction to an evolution of a word. I also note your earlier use use of the word beeb which I assume refers to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

    • Posted September 27, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Ah, the Pecksniffs have appeared, unable to resist equating biological with linguistic evolution. These people cannot help themselves. . . .

  46. paablo
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Sorry if already posted above, but mine is “moving forward,” as in, “What are your plans moving forward?”. It’s superfluous.

  47. Posted September 27, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    With you Jerry: I too hate, hate, hate “peeps” for people. Cringe-worthy.

    • Filippo
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      One hears, “My bad.” One never hears, “My good.”

      • Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Unsurprisingly, people are more verbose when they take credit for something.

  48. Daniel
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Overusing or misusing “in terms of”. E.g. “In terms of finance, they are losing money”. Or “this is bad in terms of the environment”.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I’ll see your Eg. and raise you one one re.

  49. Filippo
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve recently noticed people saying (primarily in podcasts, from my limited experience) that someone “kinda” (less frequently “sorta”) did something, as opposed to simply saying that someone did it. (Did they “slightly” or “moderately” or “significantly” do it?) While it may not happen often, one does, or does not, actually fully do something. (IICR, “kinda” like “jumps” in atomic orbitals/energy levels, again IIRC, without taking the time to document/reconfirm every jot and tittle of my inadequate understanding of things atomic.)

  50. Matt
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    People who say “an historic”. Wrong, should be “a historic”. The h is not silent therefore it’s “a historic” just like “a human”. Nobody says “an human”. Everyone says “an hour” because the h is silent.

  51. Merilee
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Another gripe: calling houses “homes” and townhouses “townhomes”. Realtors (not reALtors) are especially guilty of this. It’s a house, dammit, and I make it my home (off my lawn, while we’re at it). And, btw, this Yank does not capitalize after a colon…

    • Posted October 1, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Estate Agents!

      • Merilee
        Posted October 1, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        And I guess you’d say estate wagon for station wagon, Dominic😊
        Vive(nt) tous les anglais!

        • Posted October 1, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Estate CAR!

          Or, a generation ago, a shooting brake.

          /@

          • Merilee
            Posted October 1, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            Brake?? Shooting??
            Like stripping the clutch?

            • Posted October 1, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

              Ha! No — “brake” as in “an open, horse-drawn, four-wheeled carriage”; a shooting brake was such a carriage with the space for your guns and dogs, with estate cars fulfilling this role among motor vehicles.

              /@

              • Merilee
                Posted October 1, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

                I see (said the blind woman)🙀

  52. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    How do you feel about someone who “poors” over they notes? 🤓😝

  53. Merilee
    Posted September 27, 2018 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    More Victor B.


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