Wednesday, September 29, 2010

At Least I'm Not The Only One...

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I love grammar. I know, I know... it's unusual, but I really do. I love the rules of it, and it makes language flow so easily when they're followed. I have always had a relatively easy time figuring out how grammar works, whether because I read so much as a child or because I learned French at a young age which then translated well, I'm not sure. (I will admit that I'm nowhere near perfect, but I generally managed to avoid the most egregious errors!)

Not surprisingly, bad grammar has become a pet peeve of mine. I see it everywhere. In fact, I have a wedding coming up and chose the B&B where my husband and I will stay based on which one had the fewest grammatical errors on its site. "We except VISA and Mastercard" and " has seperete queen beds" being only two examples of what I saw.

It drives me most nuts when I see errors in newspapers and books. Books are edited repeatedly by multiple people. Simple errors just shouldn't happen, but I see spelling errors all the time. I see places where quotation marks were forgotten or words horribly misused and more. When I see these errors, I mentally cringe.

Apparently some people feel even more strongly than I do. I was recently reading a book (yeah yeah - it was a historical romance, my brain candy) and throughout, someone had let their feelings be known.

Who and whom are among the most difficult distinctions for people to make. This reader is correct that "whom" should be used here, but I have to admit that I generally give people a pass when they misuse these two words.

This was the one where I somewhat disagreed with the ahhhh editor.  While the sentence is more proper with "dancing with him made possible her difficult vow to avoid Magnus" than "dancing with him made her difficult vow to avoid Magnus possible," I don't have an issue with the way it's written. Ahhh, someone who's pickier than I. Finally.

This one is a pet peeve of mine, however. Between requires "her" without a doubt. I had a teacher once who explained it to the class this way: "Replace the word with I or me (as the case may be). It's much easier to see which one sounds better. Then be sure to use the corresponding form of the pronoun you want to use." Watch.  "transpired between I and Magnus" - ouch! Doesn't that hurt your ears? Let's try "transpired between me and Magnus" - ahhhh, much better!

Made up words are another pet peeve of mine. I'll never forget working on consulting and having a partner actually use the (non)word "orientated" in a presentation. Don't get me started on "irregardless." Apparently this reader felt the same way about "portraiturist."

Near the end of the book, I think this poor reader reached her limit. I love her display of frustration. (I assume it's a her both because of the type of book and by looking at the handwriting, but I could be wrong, I suppose.)

Seeing these little updates in the book made me giggle - even more than the book itself did. I've often dreamt of becoming an editor so that I could fix these types of errors (as well as so I could rewrite poorly written passages). It's always nice to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'll bet it was awfully satisfying to fix that pet peeve.


Pat September 29, 2010 at 1:24 PM  

"It's much easier to see which one sounds better." Unfortunately, the use of I in a prepositional phrase, as in, "to my wife and I" is so rampant that people think that sounds better than "to my wife and me." They don't stop to think, "Does 'to I' sound right?" Our pastor always uses I in prepostional phrases when the object is compound. Arggh. Both my husband and I have mentioned it to him once or twice, but it doesn't change his speaking habits! I've given up trying to correct people's spoken bad grammar because it doesn't seem to make any difference. At least our pastor lets me edit his written work!

I'm definitely on the same page as you. I'm pickier than you in "someone had let their feelings be known," as I'd say "someone had let his/her feelings be known." singular-singular....but I realize this is awkward, and if you say "someone had let his feelings be known," some women would be offended.

Great grammar post!

Pat September 29, 2010 at 1:27 PM  

Oops...prepositional, not prepostional!

I think "commentator" is a funny word because the reporter is not "commentating;" rather, he is "commenting."

septembermom September 30, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

Here's another area where I feel that we are kindred spirits. I'm a frustrated editor too.

Tara R. September 30, 2010 at 9:20 AM  

One of my grammar peeves is the misuse of "I" and "me." Drives me crazy.

Michelle September 30, 2010 at 12:57 PM  

Pat - That was another one... take out the other people when chosing between I and me. If you just say "to me" it's obvious that I doesn't work. And the their v his/her? I stick with just his or restructure the sentence :)

Kelly - Why does this not surprise me?

Tara - I'm right there with you. Or is that ... Me's right there with ya?

Beth September 30, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

I almost hate to point this out but you have a typo in your third sentence. I think you meant to say that you learned French at a young "age, not a young "at." It's not a grammar mistake, but I figured you'd want it to be correct. :-)

Michelle October 1, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

Beth - See, I told you I wasn't perfect! Yep, I definitely meant "young age" - that's what I get for typing and not proofreading repeatedly. And yes, I am vain enough to go change it now!

MaNiC MoMMy™ October 1, 2010 at 6:49 PM  

Michelle, I am sooo with you on this one! Typos DRIVE me crazy!!! Like the chicken pox or a yeast infection crazy!

My first job out of college I would CRAVE finding typos -- such a little joy! So I know EXACTLY what you mean!

I am currently editing a manuscript and having so much fun doing it. How funny that someone made comments in the book that you were reading! : )

Michelle October 2, 2010 at 1:45 PM  

Steph - I know you'd know what I meant. I would so love to edit a manuscript. Melisa and I were talking about that last night actually. I'm jealous! But the comments actually in the book - a library book no less - were priceless!

bettyl October 3, 2010 at 4:40 AM  

I'm always screaming the correct phrases at the telly, so I know what you mean! The rules don't seem terribly complicated, so I don't understand why they aren't followed. Sheesh.

Sherilin Riley October 3, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

i totally do the same thing! i love when my husband brings home books from his store that aren't quite published yet & i get to catch all the mistakes & typos that hopefully won't make it through the final edit.

Michelle October 4, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

Betty - I've given up on the spoken word. Mostly. I still can't stop cracking up over the woman who fixed the book though. I LOVE it.

Sherilin - Ooooo now that would be fun. If they're prior to final edit, I get it. I write things and know what I mean so miss the errors when I'm doing initial proofreading. But ... published work should have been viewed by others and fixed prior to then, in my opinion.

Angela October 5, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

I LOVE that someone field-edited this book! Hilarious! And wow, it was full of errors. Scary!

My personal pet peeve of the season has to be "trickeration." I can't even tell you that the spelling I used above is correct, because the word does not actually exist, but that is my best guess. Sadly, the word's nonexistence hasn't prevented its liberal usage by every football sportscaster from sea to shining sea. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

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