Pet Peeves

When writing her thesis – many a year ago now – my daughter thanked me for having been a stickler over English grammar throughout her childhood. I cannot deny that I was surprised – in fact, you could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather – for all my persistent corrections to her speech had been greeted with a decidedly teenage roll of the eyes.

I’m not sure exactly how my being an English grammar stickler came about as, in truth, I missed that period of schooling when you’re taught the varying aspects of English grammar. Verbs, nouns, adverbs and adjectives are pretty much the limit of my learning as a result. But I’ve always read voraciously – junk & classics, lightweight & heavyweight, slang & Shakespearean English – and I think that did a decent job of filling in the gaps.

I was roomed with Spanish students in boarding school, not to help me develop my Spanish but to improve their English. Unfortunately, as I didn’t know the rules of English grammar, I could only tell them what I knew was right (or what was wrong) and not why. For I work from an instinct derived from all that reading – things either sound and look right, or vice versa. Despite this, during the year we roomed together, their English improved in leaps & bounds (and my Spanish made a little progress too).

Later I learned that being the only one of my family and friends who cared about the subject of grammar made me stick out, so I tended to hide my pet peeves away – until it came time to teach my daughter that is.

Much, much later in life, I found my people – and was able to fully embrace my inner grammar nerd. Sitting around a table in a pub, many glasses bottles later, some wag decided we each had to select just one grammar pet peeve. I’ve never seen so many tipsy people struggle with a decision. Eventually I came up with mine … instead of saying “John and I”, it’s the saying of “me-and John” (or me-and anyone in all truth), especially when the first two words are rolled together to sound like one. I don’t know why, but me-and has always been like chalk on a blackboard to me.

Of course, mis-use of they’re, there & their, and where, wear and we’re, are also way up there in the irritation stakes, but they’re written rather than spoken. So me-and is mine – and it still makes me shudder inside.

What would be yours? Or are you rolling your eyes at me right now? πŸ˜€


Β© Debra Carey, 2020

13 comments

  1. Misuse of pronouns: her/ she, me/I, him/he.
    Example: Do you want to come to the movies with Elizabeth and I?
    I is used because “using ‘me’ is bad grammar”.
    Um…no.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Myself thinks that …’ Myself and .. or any other misuse of the reflexive. There is nothing wrong in saying ‘I’ (except of course when it is the only topic of conversation! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have some peeves. Fortunately or un they are all of the feral variety. The major benefit being there is no trouble re-licensing them each year. And they are a crime to truly keep. So I just let them run free with little care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mine is when people say “this is her” rather than “this is she.” The first is wrong, the second is correct. Of course, 98% of the people I know say it wrong, thereby giving me the gift of a peeve.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alan, I believe I’d quite literally cringe if someone said that, even if in their presence …
    πŸ™‚

    Like

  6. Oh good call Ally. My peeves are ever so common in comparison with yours πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Like

  7. Debs, ‘Myself’ was actually misused in ‘The Times’ on-line (fortunately by somebody commentating below the line and not by a staffer) the other day. i always thought that it was an uneducated use: now it appears that it may be on the over-educated wing as well. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alan, the comments sections of newspapers offer far too many such examples (shudder).

    Like

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