Grammar & Writing Pet Peeves – What Are Yours?

A quick Google search for “grammar pet peeves” dredges up scads of blog posts, online rants and witty images.

And given the increasingly casual usage seen in all manner of e-messages – from texts to emails to posts on social networks – it appears that grammarians will have abundant fodder to critique, bemoan and rail against for years to come.

In addition to the most common crimes against grammar, such as misuse of apostrophes and confusion between your/you’re and their/there/they’re, what are your pet peeves?

As brands churn out ever more content, and as more and more of our employees represent our organizations in social channels, what sort of grammar and writing challenges are surfacing?   We want to see industry jargon gone bad and grammar gone asunder.    We’re building a new list of pet peeves, and we want to know what bugs you.

Author’s note:  We snickered ourselves silly at the grammar-themed buttons, stamps and magnets on FishcakesOBoy Etsy shop, images of which (including links to the products) are embedded in this post.   More hilarity ensues on the shop site.  Any writer, PR pro or teacher will enjoy a quick visit to that site. 

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.






15 responses to “Grammar & Writing Pet Peeves – What Are Yours?

  1. I have so many! I guess I’m what you’d call a “grammudgeon.” My biggest pet peeve, though, is when people use apostrophes to pluralize words … or is that “word’s”? ;-)

  2. The main ones are confusing “there” with “their” and “they’re”. Word processers sometimes don’t recoginize these errors.

  3. As though they think “me” is a dirty word, people will use “myself” in its place. “If you would like to sign up for the company picnic, please see Mary or myself.” I see this from high-level managers and executives all the time! It drives me insane!

    • Oh, Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more. “Myself” can sound so ridiculous. The first person pronoun can be a real problem, though. My personal peeve – when a person starts every sentence with the pronoun “I.” In addition to underscoring simplistic and unimaginative sentence structure, it just makes a writer sound boorish (IMHO!)

    • Yes! Also: when people confuse “me” and “I” in phrases like, “She gave chocolates to John and me.”

  4. One of my pet peeves is using hyphens instead of dashes to set off phrases for emphasis. Oddly, your website post is correct with dashes but your automated email replaced them with hyphens. Does anyone know if this is what happens to emails that mimic website posts?

    • Hi Donald – I can’t believe the automated email makes that change. I suspect it’s in the conversion program that turns the web text into the email. I’ll post a note to our blog provider’s service people. Thanks for the heads up on that, it’s a peeve of mine too! – S

  5. I love this post! Right now my biggest peeve is using “of” instead of “have.” So “should have” is becoming “should of.” Ahhhhh, it’s so wrong!

  6. Since we’re getting peevish….
    As someone who was once called the “Grammar Nazi” by a client (a backhanded compliment, if ever there was one), I’ll weigh in on the misuse or non-use of the hyphen. The concept of a compound adjective is so elusive to so many. And, as long as I’m here, still a lot of slip-ups with complementary/complimentary.

  7. Pingback: I Feel Your Pet Peeve Pain - Barb Best

  8. Pingback: 12 writing mistakes to avoid | the whole-y grail

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