Our readers share their pet peeves
Wow, many of you are as tough as our own grammar police at The Vindicator.
Here are some of the many replies from last week’s column honoring “National Grammar Day.”
Your article struck a chord (or is it cord?) with me. You asked for some grammar pet peeves.
In my world, one of the abuses that comes up aplenty is the confusion using the words “take” and “bring.”
“Take” is from here to there and “bring” is from there to here. My family and friends seem to always want to bring something when we go somewhere. I have been so exposed to these two words used in error that I find myself violating the rules sometimes myself.
My favorite word issue is the adding of the word “up” to almost every other word in the English language. We “open up” and “close up”; we “fix up” and we tear up”; the sky “clears up” and it “clouds up”; and we “speak up” and we shut up.”
“Etcetera” is such a useful word, but I cringe when I hear it pronounced “eckcetera” — like fingernails scraping a blackboard.
I might be dating myself with that comment. Do we still use blackboards?
Please help your colleagues at TV news. The word is “fifth,” not “fith” as seems to be the pervasive use in the broadcast industry. And how about using “less” when in fact it should be “fewer.”
Ordinarily, with everyday people, it’s probably not much of an issue. But these [broadcast] people are educated specifically for knowing correct language usability. But apparently not. I’ve even heard broadcasters use these words inappropriately on national television.
I believe the fight for literacy is worth it. You asked for pet peeves so I’m offering two of mine:
Eager/anxious: Even some newer usage guides now claim these can be interchangeable but I say no, no, no! I am eager to drink a hot chocolate after coming inside on a cold day, not anxious! Why would there be an element of fear in drinking it? We are anxious about going to our physician because of the element of apprehension. He might tell us to stay away from chocolate.
Less/fewer: I don’t understand why this seems so difficult. If one can count it, like apples, one can have fewer. If you can’t count it, like sugar, one can have less.
Oh well, perhaps these are losing battles, but I intend to go down fighting.
Most people in this area say “re-la-tor” instead of re-al-tor!
Many say “pitcher” instead of “picture.”
My (current) pet peeve is the use of the word “out,” as in paint out (a room, for instance), remove out (items one no longer wants in his garage), and change out (one’s outfit). When did it become abnormal to just “paint,” “remove” or “change”?
Thanks for letting me air this and commiserate with you over the sad state of grammar nowadays.
A use that drives me nuts is when people pronounce the word “strong” as if it’s spelled with “sh” at the beginning — making it sound like “shtrong.” I caught Beyonce in a recent television interview saying “shtrong.”
“The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White is the biggest little gem on grammar, punctuation and style you will find anywhere.
As Casey Stengel said: “You could look it up.”
Those were all good insights.
Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.