Monday, October 02, 2006

Gramer 'n' Punc-you-ay-shun 'n' Stuff

A week ago, over at Starfish and Coffee, comebacknikki vented her frustration at the following grammatical practice:
Exactly when did it become acceptable to add an extra s to a name already ending in s in order to make it possessive?
I had a different perspective--but that is not, of course, the point of this post.

The point of this post is to express my own frustration, as a former teacher, a current TA, and a student who has to read way too much, with certain writing practices (the verbal doesn't bother me so much--unless people are giving a professional presentation or are onTV or something!) and to find out some of your pet peeves. I hate the following:

1) The mixing up of your and you're. It happens to the best of us but, honestly, I don't know how. I was always taught these words are not pronounced the same. Your is "yore" and You're is "yoor." Is that a Louisiana thing?

2) Subject and verb disagreement. Possibly my biggest pet peeve, even in verbal conversations, especially involving the incorrect use of "do" and "does."

3) "Try and" and"Go and." Most of the time, the "and" should be "to." I hear, quite often, "She's going to try and do it" or "I'm going to go and ask her."

4) The usage of personal pronouns instead of possessive ones before certain phrases. For example, "The problem is him coming home late" instead of "The problem is his coming home late."

5) Subjects that don't agree with clauses. Like, "Extending the length of the house, she sat on the porch" or "Wearing the little doggie sweater, the man took his puppy to the show." Okay, I drew a blank while trying to type this, but you know what I mean.

6) Run on sentences, especially ones that people connect with a comma rather than a semi-colon.

7) My own indiscriminate use of commas, -ly adverbs, too long sentences, and my hatred of using the same not-so-common word too often. I have had to break myself from spending an hour searching for a synonym or similar word.

Et tu?


Virginia Pickel said...

Ugh. There is a woman at work who apparently does not understand the basic concept of a professional email. (Is it email or e-mail or does it matter?) Example:

Ms Smith

We rec. Your correspondence. You'll be hereing from us soon.

[employee's name]

No punctuation, abbreviations that should not be used, improper capitalization, misspellings, no closing, etc. I'm sure you get the point. It drives me insane!

Gwyneth Bolton said...

You would think that a person with a Ph.D. in English would have more pet peeves. I think my pet peeves are more the verbal ones than the written. For example, when I see Vivica Fox on an awards show and she pronounces the word athlete, a-the-lete, my skin crawls and I want to smack her. Or when people say "ideal" and they mean "idea" -- that really works my nerves. "I have an ideal." I guess as a writing teacher, I see it as my job to help people get the written part right. So I correct it and point it out and move on. But I feel less inclined to correct someone's speech, (a sister is not trying to get cussed out) and that not being able to correct it might be what makes me want to scream... Just a thought...

elle said...

gin- that can't be for real! nuh-uh!

g- you know, i am so cautious of pronouncing words incorrectly that there are many I write but I've never said aloud? but a-the-lete? why do people do that?!!

Courtney said...

on that note, "nukular." I'm horrified that people can be elected president who do not pronounce nuclear correctly. It should be part of the entrance exam.

elle said...

but he says turr-ists for terrorists and "Saddam" for "Osama"...

Virginia Pickel said...

I am NOT lying! I got another doozy today! :-)

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...