Your Turn: What’s Your Grammar Gripe?

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Let's have a conversation!


I received a good suggestion for getting more comments from a commenter on my recent post about…well…getting more comments. She suggested that I ask open ended questions to solicit input from my faithful readers. (Should that be reader? Hello? Anyone out there?)

It’s a good point. Who wants to respond to a monologue? So, I figured I’d just make the whole post today an unabashed solicitation for comments. If folks participate, maybe I’ll even make this a regular feature. Ready? Here goes:

Today’s discussion question:

What’s your greatest grammar gripe?

What’s the grammatical goof that grates most grievously? That gets your goat? Gives you grief? (I hope it’s not excessive-alliteration!)

It can be something you hear at home, on the street, or in popular media. Go ahead and get if off your chest in the comments below!


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About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. JoAnn Summers
    JoAnn Summers02-17-2013

    My favorite gripe is when people say, “these ones” instead of just “these”. I used to cringe when hearing this, now it makes me smile and reminds me of a dear friend.

  2. Rebekah

    The thing that makes me cringe is when people are speaking and at an extra “at”, “it” or “to” at the end of their sentence (for example: “Where it is at?” or “Where’s he going to?”). Don’t they know it makes them sound uneducated? Why not just say “Where is it?” or “Where is he going?” Ahh!

  3. Julie Venglarcik
    Julie Venglarcik12-16-2011

    A fellow teacher uses/misuses the term “incentatives”, using it for the term “incentives”. I have heard her use this term with parents in IEP meetings. It makes me cringe.

  4. Lindsey

    Folks confusing ‘your’ and ‘you’re’. If you can replace the contraction with “you are” then it should be ‘you’re’! One is pronounced ‘yor’- belonging to, the other should still hear the ‘you’ clearly when said aloud. (allowing of course for accents 🙂 ) 🙂

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-19-2011

      That’s definitely a common problem among young writers. Although we don’t distinguish the pronunciation here in the States. They are both pronounced “yore” here. I wonder if we pronounced it “yoo-er,” we’d see less confusion.

  5. Lois

    Along with all the others mentioned, I particularly cringe when I hear someone, usually a speaker, say something like, “If you have any questions, please ask Tom or myself.”

    I talk to myself, you talk to yourself, but I talk to you, and you talk to me. If I have a question, I will ask YOU, if YOU have a question, don’t ask myself, ask ME.

    Another one was chronically from a local newscaster, the misuse of subjective/objective pronouns. He was so consistently wrong, that I wrote him a letter with a grammar lesson. He actually wrote me back, thanking me for keeping him alert. He would say things like, “After the commercial, we will see how the new utility rates affect you and I.”

    I believe people speak that way, not because it sounds more uppity (it does) but because the other sounds wrong, even though it’s not. What do you think? When I get a call and they ask, “May I speak to Lois please?” I usually say, “This is she.” That makes me sound affected with something, so now I say, “Lo, it is I!” {snort**}


    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-16-2011

      Hi Lois.

      Good explanation of me/you vs. myself/yourself.

      Here’s a link to a video I did on the nominative/objective pronoun issue. Maybe you could forward it to your local newscaster! 🙂

  6. CFloyd

    Is this a grammar or vocabulary issue: W00t. I brought it up yesterday, but I’ll reiterate since it’s my only issue – I’m the person most of you people have a problem with. I never remember the difference between further and farther, I tried a project on affect and effect – probably 85% accurate to date, and I have been known to mix up loose and lose on more than one recent occasion. I’m just super proud of myself for finally understanding passive voice.

    But I can’t abide w00t. It’s not even spelled with LETTERS – those are ZEROS.

    I always have to add at this point my ulitmate concern of turnng into the society of Weena. You know, from The Time Machine?

    I just can’t stand it that the Dictionary dignified it by adding it as a word! It doesn’t belong in a dictionary, it’s spelled with digits! It doesn’t belong in a math book, it’s not a number.

    It belongs in People Magazine in the baby-daddy section.

    There, I feel much better. Thanks for having a comment section for pevish grammar – or, vocabulary. We’re allowed to modify right?

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-16-2011

      Mz C,

      I am happy to inform you that, after a thorough seven minutes of Googling, I have been able to verify that w00t does not, in fact, appear in any official dictionary. It appears in several slang dictionaries and was voted the 2007 Word of the Year in a Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary poll. It is included in their “open dictionary” which is only online, and seems to be a Wikipedia-type site.

      “Woot” with regular o’s, was added this year to the Oxford Concise Dictionary. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. 🙂

  7. Nora A. Kitchens
    Nora A. Kitchens12-16-2011

    Something I have a big problem with is the distinction between affect and effect. Please enlighten….

  8. Nora A. Kitchens
    Nora A. Kitchens12-16-2011

    My number one pet peeve of all time is the misuse of the you are contraction. That, and the misuse of there, their and they’re. There is a noun (person, place or thing) their is used to show possession and they’re is a contraction of they are. It’s not hard. It just requires a little thought while writing.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-16-2011

      Great to hear from you, Nora!

      First, what is the misuse of the “you are” contraction that bugs you? I’m not sure what you mean.

      Second, there, their, and they’re are certainly a problem, especially with young writers, but actually “there” is a pronoun, not a noun (You got the rest of it right!).

      • Nora A. Kitchens
        Nora A. Kitchens01-03-2012

        Thanks, I enjoy reading your blogs. The misuse of the you are contraction that bugs me is when people do not use it properly. Like when they just say “your” when they really needed to say you’re. Or the other way around. I knew I would stick my foot in my mouth somehow. My bad on the pronoun, noun thing for there. That’s why you were my favorite english teacher of all time! 🙂 Also, thanks for the you tube link for the affect, effect thing. Troubles me to this day! Hopefully the video will help. Continue blogging and I will continue reading!!!

  9. Alana

    OK, you wanted grammar gripes. I found it hard to limit to just one.

    a lot is TWO words not one
    et cetera NOT EXcetera
    Especially NOT EXspecially
    There, their and they’re dilemma for people
    Farther or further problem for people
    The whole a, an, usage thing for people…

    Dare I go on?
    Thanks for your blog!

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-16-2011

      Thanks Alana! You were the first to break the ice!

      I could never remember whether it was alot or a lot when I was a kid, so I always just wrote “much” or “many.” Turns out, that improved my writing anyway. 🙂

      I may write on further and farther soon. The distinction isn’t as clear as we’ve been led to believe. (Just think, it might be one thing to scratch off your worry list!)

  10. Rick Venglarcik
    Rick Venglarcik12-16-2011

    The use of “loose” when the correct word is “lose.” It seems as if it’s a recent thing. I never used to see it so much. Now I see it all the time.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-16-2011

      Yeah, that’s a spelling mistake that never gets caught by spell checkers. And it makes sense. It’s a crazy, arbitrary spelling anyway. Think about it. You add an “o” but you pronounce the vowel the same way in both words (oo). What changes is the sound of the final consonant. (s or z).

      Plus, -ose is NEVER pronounced (oo). Think about: arose, close, chose, dose, hose, jocose, morose, nose, pose, prose, rose, those, varicose

      On the other hand, these are both very common words, and it’s not asking much for moderately educated people to memorize their unusual spellings.

      • Jill Richards
        Jill Richards01-01-2012

        “whole-nuther”, the combination of “whole” and “another,” as in “That’s a whole-nuther story.” I don’t think we actually see this in print much , but it’s sure heard a lot! Exception to my pet peeve: when used by anyone under the age of 6! Then, it’s just cute! 😉

        • Brian Wasko
          Brian Wasko01-02-2012

          Yup. I actually did a post on that not too long ago, Jill. Here’s the link: whole nuther. You might find it interesting.

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