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My top ten list of grammatical errors

Updated on June 12, 2015

My top ten grammar peeves

I imagine that you have them too - grammatical, usage or spelling errors that drive you nuts. Here's my collection. Do add your own in the comments section below.

A graphic designer's curse

I'm certainly not a member of the grammar police and I'm particularly prone to typos - my fingers and brain just don't seem to connect properly sometimes. But part of being a designer is the dreaded proofreading curse.

The menu minefield

Instead of choosing what to eat for dinner, when faced with a menu I instinctively reach for a pen and start circling words. Things like lion of pork and ceasar salad.

Are your favourites here?

I am guilty of several of these (especially numbers 5 and 6). Are you?

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Instructions:

1. This is a definite favourite and something I've come across so often. The problem is, how do you tell your client that it's wrong?

Say 'unless he was Hurricane Andrew, he didn't'?

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2. Unique, of course, means there's only one. It's one of a kind. Therefore there can't be degrees of uniqueness.

It can't be 'fairly unique' or 'very unique' or 'almost unique'. It either is or it isn't.

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3. This is probably the one that gets me the most.

When you get a takeout pizza (not a bring-out) you either go to the pizza place and take it home or you stay at home and the delivery guy brings it to you.

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4. Those who 'could care less' obviously care because it's possible for them to care less.

If you 'couldn't care less' then there's no lower you can go - you simply don't care. Phew.

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5. I've had so many arguments with clients who want 'RSVP please' on their invitations.

That's like the automatic teller machine machine or the personal identification number number.

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6. A dilemma is the choice between two things. It's not just a fancy name for 'problem'.

Similarly 'Hobson's choice' means 'no choice at all'. Don't you love the English language?

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7. Oh dear. I really don't know what to write about this except that it drives me nuts.

'Where's she at?' is guaranteed to start me off on a rant.

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8. I wonder who made up this word which is a mix of 'irrespective' and 'regardless'?

We once had a receptionist who used to ask callers 'what shall I tell him it's regarding about?'

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9. There are so many examples similar to 'meets with' and 'free gift'. For example, there's 'reverse back' or 'combine together'.

After all, what is non-free gift?

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10. Now this is a highly debatable one - even style guides can't agree. The serial (or Oxford) comma just seems wrong to me. I understand the 'my parents, God and Ayn Rand' argument but no-one's that daft surely? If in doubt, re-phrase.

Well, that was fun. But the important issue here is consistency. Most companies prepare their own style guides for their staff. (In the last one I developed, I included the sentence 'anyone using an apostrophe incorrectly will be taken out and shot at dawn'.)But a good style guide is invaluable. Whether you're a writer, a business or an individual who likes to write, then a good guide is a must.

Do you agree or disagree?

Grammar isn't fixed. Language grows and develops. There are words in dictionaries now that my grandmother (or even my mother) wouldn't understand. (What's a jpg? What do you mean by the cloud? Isn't 'green' just a colour? What does 'climate change' mean?)

The examples I have quoted above are just my own personal beefs.

Maybe you have others? Perhaps you disagree with many? This is what keeps our language alive. Please let me know your own opinions in the comments section below. This will be fascinating,

For example, how do you feel about textspeech? Is LOL really a word?We have to truncate our messages when we post to Twitter - is 'gr8' acceptable as an alterative to 'great'?

How is social media affecting our literacy? What effect does texting have? This is a fascinating.Dowe accept this? Do we fight against it? Let me know what you think.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson

Discuss!

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    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci - I don't worry too much about being grammatical (you've probably noticed!) but these are truly my pet peeves.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 2 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      What a great list! I have a hard time eliminating adjectives so these hit home. As I type now I wonder if I am saying it wrong. Paranoia seeping in.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      So true!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      So true!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm glad you stopped with 10. My blood pressure can't handle very many broken grammar rules at one time. We disagree on #10. I use that comma and have no idea why there's even an argument on the topic.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Colin323: Exactly! Just today, himself said 'reply back'. And he's a bugger for saying 'meet with'.

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      The 'general public', 'new beginning', 'past history', 'reduce down', 'true facts', 'protrude out'. Spot the wasted words. We don't believe in wasting 'owt in Yorkshire!

    • RichardMensies profile image

      RichardMensies 3 years ago

      @John Dyhouse: It is simply a matter of style. It is certainly not wrong.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @John Dyhouse: 'Comma and' is wrong to me but I sometimes think it's an English thing :)

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 3 years ago from UK

      I agree with most of these; but you are not suggesting that "comma and" is acceptable I hope? Surely this is never right?

    • yoursfoolie profile image

      yoursfoolie 3 years ago

      Cute!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I must look for that on YouTube! There was a word I kept seeing on the internet which puzzled me for ages. I'd see it most at the end of recipes or other instructions and I'd no idea what it meant. It took me ages to realise that 'walla' was actually 'voila'!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      funny, lol - reminded me of a routine by George Carlin, he came up with a similar ones (oxymoron - Jumbo Shrimp, or things you never hear 'please hand me that piano' (ha! my brother and I often quote these)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JohnTannahill: Ha! And you've reminded me of something wait staff say. When you thank them for your pizza / glass of red wine / latte you expect a 'you're welcome' or 'no problem' or even - in the case of pizza - 'prego'. (Or I do, anyway). What you often get is 'uh-huh'.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 3 years ago from Somewhere in England

      "Can I just get a latte?"