One of the ones that makes my skin crawl is when people use "of" instead of the contraction of "have." For example, "My plants died. I should of watered them before visiting my family for a week."


What are some of yours?

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  • 'good' as an adverb (except when reflecting idiomatic speech)
  • comma splicing
  • people lecturing others for ending sentences with prepositions
  • mute point
  • subject-verb disagreement where a singular subject that expresses a plural idea is confused for a plural subject (and thus assigned a plural verb): e.g. "The panel of judges are deliberating on a pageant winner."
  • he/ she, et al. (with the possible exception of supposed 'legalese')
  • expresso
  • sentences that don't work in the clause 'because Kris Feenstra is the greatest person who ever lived'. (I am exempt from this one)
  • Homo sapien


This one steps beyond English abusage, but it bothers me when people borderline personify evolution: e.g. "Evolution gave Homo sapiens opposable thumbs to facilitate tool usage."  

I think there is a difference between British English and American English when it comes to the subject-verb disagreement.  The sample sentence you gave might be correct for them.  It's been confusing for me.  

I think they would refer to a panel as plural because it is understood that there is more than one person on a panel.  One of my English friends says things like, "England are losing in the cricket." 

He's a highly educated, very smart guy.  I've been wondering if somehow over the years I've become confused about this issue or if they're really different.

I don't know why that would be the case.  I grew up under the Canadian education system which tends to fall more in line with British English, at least where formal grammar is concerned.  I can't rule out the possibility that there is a distinction, but I'd wager that your friend's usage is idiomatic and informal, unless he's actually referencing the players on the team as opposed the team as a whole.

How to handle sports teams and pop bands is a difficult area. For example, The Blue Jays is a baseball team. A singular noun. It is strictly correct to say "The Blue Jays is playing in Philadelphia on Sunday," but nobody in their right mind would say that. Even a grammarian would probably swallow his academic pride and say "The Blue Jays are playing in Philadelphia on Sunday."

The Rolling Stones is the name of a group. A singular noun. Would you say "The Rolling Stones is playing in Birmingham next week" or "The Rolling Stones is playing in Birmingham next week"?

I think you mean "moot point" not "mute point."

Moot means "Open to discussion or debate; debatable; doubtful: a moot point;  of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic."

Mute means "Silent; refraining from speech or utterance;  not emitting or having sound of  any kind."

I don't mean 'moot point' because moot point is correct.  Why would I be driven crazy by the correct form?

The single quotes are used to indicate that I am talking about the word itself, not to indicate a colloquialism.  What is incorrect is using this convention in one instance, but not the second.

I see. I glossed over that link.  I've mostly switched to the British convention on quotation marks, not the American.  

"I also follow the 'British convention,' however, I don't usually quote needlessly within my quotes.  This is solely for the 'pleasure' of our resident 'grammarians.'"  :-*  I thought that it is standard American English.  It's what I learned in school...but then again, I did have to beg my English teachers for extra grammar lessons ( which I taught myself from a decrepit, fifty year old book), since grammer is not measured by standardized testing and obviously unimportant. 

"It's a moo point.  It's like a cow's just doesn't matter."



Anyone else watch Friends reruns?  No?  Alright, then.

I can't recall who the news editor was who would respond to the question "Are there any news?"  with "No, not a new".

I hate it when people use the word 'massive' to describe stuff that does not have mass.  For example, "I have massive respect for those who died in war," or, "It'll be a massive shame to see this fall apart."


Oh, and also when people use apostrophes when pluralizing: car's, train's, etc.


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