Things that shouldn’t bother me but do because I’m ridiculously obsessive

  • Thankyou
    Printed sign first spotted at our local pizza (Indian, fish) takeaway, then for sale in B&Q. Fuck, what’s happened to the world when the BRITISH, home of the Queen’s English, aren’t aware that Thank You is made up of two words?
  • That doesn’t phase me
    What, are you normally broken into stages? It’s ‘faze’, for God’s sake. It’s even got fewer letters!
  • A friend of mine
    We can normally assume that if you mention ‘a friend’, they are usually one of yours. ‘Of mine’ is totally redundant in a highly irritating way.
  • [N between 1 and 12]am in the morning / [N between 1 and 12]pm at night
    I would hazard a guess that most of us know what am and pm mean with respect to understanding the 24-hour day. Once again, a redundancy that makes me twitch in annoyance.
  • (Time for the geek) Post a blog
    You don’t post a blog, you post a blog entry. Unless you start a new weblog every time you write something.

Am I alone in finding silly language infractions distressing enough to complain about them? The reflex is to say yes (just to piss me off), but I know everyone must have some sort of bugbear about the things other people say.

37 thoughts on “Things that shouldn’t bother me but do because I’m ridiculously obsessive

  1. My irksome is the difference between rein (as a horse) and reign (as a king) and sometimes even rain (as in precipitation). If you're talking about the rein of some king, you've really labelled yourself immediately as ignorant.

    I also find the phrase "to the manor/manner born" annoying, because it makes sense either way, and I've never been able to figure out which is correct. I think Agatha Christie preferred "manor born" but I've seen other equally British-expert-type persons using "manner born" so it remains a puzzlement.

  2. Sometimes extra words aren't redundant because they give you time to think of what you're going to say next without breaking the flow of speech or resorting to "ummm". Hence "friend of mine" can be useful if you're still forming the next words in the sentence.

    It should never be used in writing though, except transliterated speech of course.

  3. Along with "post a blog" I find myself annoyed by people referring to comments as "posts."

    The blogger creates an entry/post. Commenters merely make comments on the aforementioned entry/post.

  4. This sounds like more stuff white people like, but I must admit that (as I am white) misuse of the language irritates me to no end.

  5. How about the people who mistake the difference between "take" and "bring". Aargh. I also hate the way that people pronounce jewelry as "jewlery".

  6. Regarding: "A friend of mine"

    We can normally assume that if you mention ‘a friend’, they are usually one of yours. ‘Of mine’ is totally redundant in a highly irritating way.

    Not here in "Doity Joisey" where the distinction is vitally important. "Of mine" means you better not talk "business" in front of them. "Of Ours" means you can.

    But then, we also have "Axe" in place of "Ask".

    Hummm, I just heard "continue on" on the news. What-the-hell….

  7. This is an excellent blog ENTRY :).

    Some additional peeves:

    "Shutter to think"

    "Turban engine" (LOL!)

    "OVER 100 billion sold"

    "Complete distain"

    Misuse of tenses; for example, "If I would have known she was coming, I would have stayed away."

  8. I read a great deal of student writing, and I've given up on many, many things that bother me. With grad students I'm still trying to get them to distinguish between proper usage of number and amount.

  9. Some pet peeves:

    1) People using 'uninterested' when they mean 'disinterested', and vice versa.

    2) 'Flaunt' vs. 'flout'.

    3) 'Blatant' vs. 'flagrant'.

    4) THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS 'IRREGARDLESS'. Scofflaws will be slapped around the face with a wet haddock.

    5) To 'pore over' vs. to 'pour over'.

    6) Those who are unable to distinguish between: a) there/their/they're; b) your/you're; c) its/it's should have their Internet privileges taken away.

    7) the wet haddock needs to be deployed once more for those malefactors who write 'allot' when a they mean 'a lot'

    8) 'Discrete' vs. 'discreet'.

    9) 'Defuse' vs. 'diffuse'

    10) Eowyn is right: my all time least favourite grammatical no-no is the mock-subjunctive 'if I would have done something'. You might have an IQ of 190, but if you use this phrasing you sound stupider than Paris Hilton with a concussion. The conditional perfect exists for just these occasions, people, so please say, "if I had done something" rather than coming across as an anencephalic yokel.

    NahnCee: it's to the 'manner' born, as in effortlessly adopting a style or behaviour as if one acquired the skill congenitally. There may be some confusion because of the punning title of an old sitcom starring Penelope Keith called 'To the Manor Born' (in which destitute aristo Penelope is forced to sell her old family home to ghastly nouveau riche interloper, comic scenes ensue, love blossoms, etc..)

  10. I was in a sporting goods store around Christmas. One cashier said to the other, "We were so busy here yesterday, my legs were literally on fire".

    I immediately looked at her legs, because in that brief moment I believed that she understood the use of the word literally.

    I don't think she did – there was no evidence of fire from the day before. Maybe she heals quickly.

  11. Ah, David, you've hit on yet more peeves I, too, share.

    Especially "allot." Ugh! AND apostrophe abuse. I should probably see a dentist over all the gnashing of teeth I undergo when I see signs in front of houses saying "The Smith's." I've even seen "Barack O'Bama" in many places! (He's Irish? Who knew!)

    And can we add "descent" when what is intended is "dissent?"

  12. One of my pet peeves is the use of sight/site/cite. Such as: Emily has a great sight! Fred didn't site his source. I usually don't see cite used incorrectly, but the other two all the time.

  13. My pet peeve is "comprised of."

    Rule of thumb: Don't use the word "comprise."

    Second pet peeve: the use of "beg the question" to mean "raise the question."

  14. 1) The boss took me to lunch.

    2) The boss took a colleague to lunch.

    3) The boss took a colleague and I to lunch.

    Could someone help me grasp what non-command of grammar makes treating an object like a subject in the third example acceptable?

  15. You're not going to get me to "tow the line." This –

    "[N between 1 and 12]am in the morning / [N between 1 and 12]pm at night"

    is a clanger. Two noons in a 24-hour day? Who knew?

    I like to see N or M as they are unique and impossible to bungle; not so of 12:00. If I see 12:00 AM, I may know what it means, but does the writer? If we don't agree, then English as a tool of communication has failed. And I'm likely to be twelve hours late for whatever-it-is. Your smug self-satisfaction would hardly make up for that.

  16. Michael Medved is repeatedly guilty of the misuse of the word "blog". I've wanted to punch him every time I've heard him say, "I wrote a blog about this." No, good sir, you wrote a blog post about that.

    On another topic, did you know I can reduce your credit card bills by up to 80% or more? Well, I can't, really, but I hear plenty of people on the radio who claim they can. So, yes, that's one of my pet peeves, too.

    When it comes to written English, the one that's been driving me practically around-the-bend insane for the last several years has been the seeming inability of vast numbers of people to spell "lose" properly (instead spelling it "loose"). It's simply incredible how often that mistake is made. It seems to me it's skyrocketed in the last few years but perhaps I'm just more aware of it.

    And lately I'm starting to see more people using "lead" as the past tense of lead, instead of "led".

    "I lead the field trip last Friday." instead of "I led the field trip last Friday."

  17. I can't stand when people don't know how to use adverbs for example saying "He ran quick" instead of "He ran quickly."

    I can't stand how tweens use the word random incorrectly. It's like the 80's when every teenager used ignorant improperly.

  18. Ah yes, loose/lose and choose/chose.

    There's a commercial about credit repair. The owner says he can help "People like Maya who want to get their life's back on track." I've put in the apostrophe because I believe (not feel – another misuse) that the script must have been written that way. Otherwise spell check should have indicated a misspelling. He does say lifes instead of lives.

  19. What makes me grit my teeth is then/than, as in "my car is bigger then yours".

  20. First, as regards 12 am or 12 pm. There is no such thing as these two times. There is 12 noon and there is 12 midnight.

    Also, how about the oft-asked question, "Where are you at?" What's with the "at" in this statement? What does it add that, "Where are you?" doesn't say completely?

    And here's one for us engineers: those dolts in baseball games that describe a pitch's velocity. It's "speed," damn it! Speed is how fast an object moves (a scalar quantity). Velocity describes its speed and its direction (a vector quantity). Who ever heard of a police velocity trap testing drivers' obeyance to the posted velocity limits? So, when that ninny Joe Morgan says "velocity and placement" it's even worse, because now he's being not just ignorant, but redundant. More syllables rarely make you sound more intelligent when a more appropriate word of fewer syllables will do just fine, thank you.

  21. I'll tell you what ticks me off to no end: the substitution of "your" for "you're". Seriously, I've had issues with this for a long time, and then I see it pop up everywhere on the web. One is a possessive noun, one is a contraction for "you are". If nothing else comes of the lessons in these comments, please do this. It's screwing up my reading.

  22. People in the corrugated green region where I live are forever "honing in on" ideas for sermons, open slots in their schedules, names for their offspring, things of every conceivable nature. Damned if they ever home in on any of those things.

    Things of every conceivable nature also "impact" them all the time. Which explains why colorectal surgeons hereabouts are so damn happy. All the time.

    They commit these egregious and annoying usage errors irregardless of the fact that almost every one of them is someone whom has attended at least some public schools.


  23. People who can't spell lose. I see loose more times than I can imagine. Drives me nuts.

  24. Excellents points made and earned in this post. Thanks to Frank Wilson for his link to it. Many of the above-cited, natch, bug this commentarian's bum; but, one worth noting, IMO? The way in which an apostrophe dis/graces items such as the 1960's (when it ought to read "the 1960s"). Another niggle? The way in which otherwise brilliant writers put the period outside the closing parens in those instances where it belongs before it. (Then, of course, there are the Safirical no-nos.)

  25. Oo-er. Hehe, I tend to write stuff not as an English freak but just a freak!

    Um, I did not realise Glenn would be linking to this and exposing my non-English teacher-ness to the wider world.


    I am really guilty of saying 'okay' way more than necessary, and loads of other language infractions. I actually think it's a massively irritating character quirk more than trying to be clever… but that only applies to me, of course. Everyone else is just not speaking English correctly. Haha again!

  26. "Those who are unable to distinguish between: . . . c) its/it’s should have their Internet privileges taken away."

    Indeed, the "its/it's" confusion gets worse than that. More times than I care to think of, I've seen the possessive "its" rendered as "its'". Yes; with the poor apostrophe hanging useless and forlorn from the word's caboose.

    We could all avoid the "x AM/PM in the morning/evening" tautology if we used the sensible European 24-hour clock. Having learned it perforce when the Army claimed me, I eventually realized its superiority. The aviation community standardized on it long ago; you don't want any ambiguity when you communicate with Air Traffic Control.

    Finally, I recall someone's report of a luncheon meeting being addressed by VP Dick Cheney, whose wife also attended. He began by saying "Thank you all for your kindness to my wife and me." Whereupon one woman, at the table of the person reporting this, sneered "That idiot! He doesn't even know enough to say, "My wife and I."

  27. I know it’s old, but I’m so relieved to find this. I was beginning to think no one cared but me.

    Some people don’t seem to know the difference between a question and a statement as in “I asked her if she wanted to go with me?” I see this all the time. Once I got so annoyed I asked the person if he was stupid? Teehee.

  28. Ocean, I unfortunately am guilty of trailing off a sentence so it sounds like a question, although it is completely unintentional!

  29. Andrea – I was referring to the written, not the spoken statement. I'm guilty of the same thing but it's just our way of inviting someone into a dialogue I think. Inflection carries a lot of weight in spoken conversations, but that's a different thing than knowing, or not knowing the difference between a question and a statement (and their corresponding punctuation). :)

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