My top ten list of grammatical errors
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?
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'?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?'
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?
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.
If you like words, you'll like these
- Brits: Things not to say in the USA
They say that England and America are two countries divided by a common language. How true. After twenty years as a Brit in the USA, I have compiled this list of things not to say in the States.
- Cooking in a foreign language
When my friends in the UK knew I was moving to the USA, they said 'at least you won't have to learn a new language'. They were wrong. The differences between US & British English are many.
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