Tag Archives: Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves – II

Here’s round 2.  Buckle up.

Most Americans speak only one language.  I don’t have a problem with that.  That fact, by itself, does not mean we are lazy or stupid.  But the fact that so many speak it poorly surely does.  Here are a just few of this Grammar-Nazi’s language Pet Peeves.

  1. Me, Myself and I.  These all serve different purposes and CANNOT be used interchangeably.

    How to console the Grammar Nazi

    “Me” is an object.  Something must be done “to me” or “for me”.  People can talk about me, complain about me, kick me and disparage me.  But “Pete and me” cannot go to the store, or go out drinking.

    What is being done to me? Nothing! Therefore, the proper pronoun to go with Pete, above, is “I”.  This pronoun “I” is the nominative case.  As such, it gets to do things. Like go to the store. “Pete and I go to the store.”

    Further, “myself” cannot be used in place of either “I” or “me.”  The pronoun “myself” is reflexive, which means it is used when you do something to yourself.  I can bathe myself; I feed myself, I cut myself; I educate myself, I monitor myself, and I gratify myself.  In each case the word “I” must also appear in order for “myself” to correctly appear.

    We do not say “Myself and Pete went to the store, then went drinking”; where is the “I”??  “Myself” does not DO things. And we do not say, “If you have any questions, please address them to myself.”

    What?  It’s “Please address questions to ME.”

    Advanced users: “myself” can also be used for emphsis. “I wrote the code myself.”

2. Your, You’re and Ur.  OK, I get that when typing quickly this is an easy mistake to make.  We sometimes type “your” when we mean “you’re”; or the other way around. But “Ur” is a total collapse, effectively giving up on a nice bike ride or a hike after the first drop of drizzle.

“Oh, it’s so hard, I’ll just type Ur.”  Use of Ur and repeated Your/You’re errors just show laziness.

3. Their, They’re and There.  Occasional such typing errors are expected, even when proofed.  Repeated errors?  Lazy.

4. Affect/Effect.  This one really bugs me.  One simple rule will get you the right answer 99% of the time.  “Effect” is a noun.  As in: “What was the effect of your efforts?”  Effect is a thing.

Affect is a verb.  “Do you see how your word choice affects me?”

Rarely “effect” can be a verb.  But if you get that far, you’re already an English expert.

5.  Who/Whom and prepositional phrases.
Like “I”, the pronoun “who” is nominative.  That means it gets to do things.  Who is doing that?  Who is singing?  Who pinched me?  Who is there?  Who won the race?

See? Who is doing, who is singing, who is pinching, who is winning and who “is” existing. Substitute a name and it works the same: Joe is doing that, Joe is singing (badly), Joe is pinching, Joe is there.  And, happily, Joe won the race.

Like “me”, the pronoun “whom” is an object.  That means it gets things done to it, for it, about it.  “To whom are you speaking?” or “For whom is this gift intended?”

Whoever and whomever follow the same rules.  Whoever is nominative and does things.  Whomever is objective and gets things done to it, things done for it and things done about it. “Will whoever is farting please stop?” And …  “We will hire whomever you recommend.”  In the first, “whoever” is doing something … namely farting.  In the second “whomever” is getting something done to them … namely recommended.

A reasonable exception is that an entire clause can make up the object.  So: “I will give the award to who deserves it most.”

A particularly sharp Pet Peeve is trying too hard and missing this last rule.  “I will give the award to whom deserves it most” is so painful; because it is an equivalent error to “me deserve the prize.”  As is “Will whomever is farting please stop?”  Ewwwww.

6.  Last and most Peevish: Apostrophes.
6a) There is not a single case where an apostrophe should be used with the possessive pronouns: my, mine, ours, yours, his, hers, theirs, its.  These are clearly possessive and need NO apostrophes … ever.  “That book is her’s  ….”  “That is it’s nature … ”  ewwwwwww. Just … don’t … do it. Then there the doubly erroneous “That is its’ nature.”  Holy moley.  An apostrophe AFTER the “s” in possessive “its.”

6b) Apostrophes should only be used for plurals in very rare cases.  “The decade’s went rolling by …”   “All of her T-shirt’s were too small…”    ewwwwwwwwww.  Not necessary, not acceptable. It is a waste of a character.

The exceptions are few, but understandable.  See below.  Plus, many people accept things like “There are no if’s, and’s or but’s on those posts”; although most style manuals recommend against it.

6b) Acronyms and apostrophes.  What is the plural of CD?  You might answer CD’s.  But then what is the possessive of CD?  It is also CD’s.  So what’s the difference?  The fact is, like above, that the apostrophe for plural is redundant.  Using “CDs” (no apostrophe) is just fine for the plural of CD.  DVDs is the plural of DVD and STDs is the plural of STD.  (Yes, there are more than one).

And years don’t use apostrophes for plural either.  The decade from 1930-1939 is correctly called “the 1930s” … and  not “the 1930s’. ”  Using the apostrophe indicates possessive: “The 1930’s characteristic events include the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, Social Engineering and the outbreak of World War II.”

[An exception is the plural of lower case letters (“mind your p’s and q’s”) and plural of abbreviations with mixed lower and upper case letters (“she had already earned two PhD’s”).  But these are rare and well beyond any reasonable Pet Peeve.]

7) That pesky “s”.  What started this latest Pet Peeve rant?  Well this week Daylight Saving Time ended.  I’m not a big fan, but — as they say — “It is what it is.”  Deal with it. But it is not Daylight Savings Time; it is Daylight Saving Time … because we are “saving time”; we are not “savings time.”

Attention to details shows that we Americans — we who are generally assumed world-wide to be lazy and parochial — have at least shown a modicum of mastery of at least one single language: our own one mother tongue.

Self Control is paramount for any Grammar Nazi wishing to be accepted socially

Ok.  That bug is crawling out of my orifice now. Have a wonderful week.  As for me, “It is what it is” — I will have to deal with this with a smile on face indefinitely.  I can do it.  Yes I can.  But silently, internally … every day … all day long … I am correcting grammar.

Peace and happy speaking

Joe Girard © 2017

Pet Peeves – I

The most important thing about Pet Peeves is that everyone has them. Things that bug us. A careful thing to remember about Pet Peeves is that it’s everyone’s Pet Peeve when they encounter someone who has a lot of griping to get off their chest. So I’ll keep this short — for now. That’s why it’s Pet Peeves – I.

ARGGGG. Pet Peeves.

Warning: Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire took up six volumes.  Euclid’s Elements, thirteen.

The potty.  The restroom.  The powder room.  The necessary room. The Loo.  Room 100.  The WC.  The toilet. Or, as Americans call it: The Bathroom.

Why do we do that?  We certainly don’t intend to bathe there, unless you include a little splashing at the sink.

  1. People — especially men — who don’t wash their hands after using the convenience.  Really? You are the reason I don’t touch restroom door handles.
  2. Toilet Paper Over or under.  Can we get it over with? The free end goes over the roll; it should not come from underneath. Why? You can find the end easier.  You can tear off the paper easier.  You don’t have to risk scraping your knuckles on the wall behind the paper. And that’s what the inventor, Seth Wheeler, had in mind when he patented the perforated paper roll dispenser in 1891.  See for yourself.  Here it is.

    Inventor Wheeler says: “Over”

    However, if you have a cat (or two, or more! — you crazy cat people) I get why under appeals to you: it’s more difficult to get the roll spinning and unraveling if the free end is behind.  But I don’t have cats.

    And cats can’t explain “under” in offices, restaurants, and other public places. [1]

  3. Men. Seat up or Seat down?  I don’t care.  Just do the right thing.  Not doing the right thing is a daily double of Pet Peeves for me.
    a) If you’re gonna put the seat up, fine.  Just put it down when you’re done.  Men, I know it’s hard to believe, but there are women in this world who hate to have to put the seat down (that means touching it — ewwww).  Get over it.  I grew up in a house with two sisters who came marching down the birth canal right behind me (ok, 15 months and 36 months younger).  If I can do it, so can you.
    b) If you’re gonna pee with the seat down, then by gawd please sit.  Your aim is not good enough to completely miss where the next sorry soul will have to sit.  You lazy bastard. Honest to Pete, guys. Don’t ruin our delicate balance of the sexes by being stupid.
  4. Still on hygiene, but no more potty talk.  Cold and flu season is approaching.  Time to address some PPs there as well.
    a) Covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing.  My Pet Peeve is when people do this directly into their hand.  Particularly the palm of their hand.  Well, isn’t that just dandy?  Hi! Nice to meet you, too.  What else are you gonna touch besides my hand?  Please, please, please use a tissue, hankie or the crook of your elbow.
    b) That quick-and-dirty, sneaky, casual nose wipe.  Don’t think no one saw you. And even if no one did, do you think that nasty slimy mess your sniffer was trying to get rid of cares where it goes next?

That’s enough ewwww and gross for now.  I don’t want to be your new Pet Peeve.

Stay careful and healthy out there.

Oh! The moral to the post??  Cat people shouldn’t marry dog people.  Corollary: Over people shouldn’t marry under people.

Feel free to comment below or Email Joe with your own Pet Peeves.  Or to just berate me.

Joe Girard © 2017

[1] There is a lot (I mean a LOT) of internet based discussion on this topic.  Surveys nearly all fall in the range of 65-80% prefer OVER, and much of the remainder don’t really care.