If You Have to Have Grammar Peeves, at Least Get Them Right
I don’t know who created this meme, but it’s all over the internet. I don’t get it. Why does this kind of griping go viral so easily? Why do so many people relate to it? Why do we even have “grammar peeves”? In other words, why does it bother us that other people have language habits that are different from our own? Even if they are clearly and recognizably incorrect, why should it bother me at all?
But this curmudgeonly little list isn’t just pompous, it’s also sloppy. Half of these confident assertions range from questionable to downright wrong. Numbers 4-6 are correct, but vague and rather unhelpful. Number 7 is just odd. The only one I have no issue with is number 9.
Let’s take a look:
Number 1: This expression is common and clearly understood either way. “I could care less” could intend sarcasm, implying that it would be be very difficult to care less. It still works.
Number 2: Not true. You use apostrophes when indicating the plural of lowercase letters: “Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.” “Mind your p’s and q’s.” It’s a rare situation, admittedly, but rarely and never are not the same thing.
Number 3: Literally is often used figuratively to add emphasis. This decades-old use has led to a new definition recognized by all major dictionaries. All three of mine do: Merriam-Webster, American-Heritage, and Oxford American. I don’t happen to like this myself. I wish literally just literally meant literally. But I don’t get to vote.
Number 7: Actually, it means exactly what I think it means. I looked it up to be sure. Honestly, this one’s weird. I can’t recall ever seeing nonplus misused.
Number 8: In fact, affect has a noun use. Effect has a verb use. Look it up.
Number 10: Of course irregardless is a word by every definition of word I’ve ever seen. It’s an old and understandable confusion of two similar pre-existing words (irrespective and regardless) and isn’t widely accepted in some circles. You might not like it. You might consider it a bad word, a dumb word, even an ignorant word, but it’s a word.
If you want to be snarky and peevish, I won’t try to stop you. I don’t know why you’d want to, but be my guest. Just do some research before you spout off.
Comments are welcome below!