I constantly run into mistakes in English here and elsewhere that you'd think people would have got right eventually simply by listening or reading. Following are some examples. Got some examples that drive you nuts?

I use to drink too much.
In this sentence, "use" needs a final "d." This mistake is most likely made by people who learn their English from tweets or chats, not from reading actual literature, much less paying attention in class.

I would of helped, but I was pressed for time.
It should be "have" not "of." Otherwise, same speculation as before.

My intervention had the desired affect.
His unplaceable accent and hesitant way of walking gave him a strange effect.
They are somewhat confusing in that both "effect" and "affect" can be used as verbs as well as nouns, but the difference isn't all that hard to learn.

The city gave Mary many kudos for her efforts.
The Greek word "kudos" is singular, not plural. "The city gave Mary kudos for her efforts" is correct. Maybe it's simply best to use words that are familiar rather than going beyond your everyday vocabulary into the dark territory of foreign words, and Greek is much further into that dark territory than, say, Spanish or German.

If you want a price, ask the manager or myself.
Only use "myself" when you've already used "I." Otherwise, plain old "me" will do.

Me and Jeff are going to the concert together.
I typically remember that "me" needs a preposition: with me, for me, to me. In the example sentence, "me" should have been "I." "I and Jeff are going to the concert together " sounds wrong, you say. Well, it is, but only because of poor sentence construction. "Jeff and I are going to the concert together" or, better yet, "I am going to the concert with Jeff" are both correct in every way and won't have literate people wishing they could unhear what you just said.

Sign at cash register: Ten items or less.
When talking about a count or enumeration of things, it should be "fewer" not "less." "Less" is for a gross quantity not an enumeration. "Less sugar in my coffee next time" is an example of how to use "less."

Purple is different than/to violet.
We talked about this here recently. If "Purple is different from violet" sounds wrong to you, you need to go back to school and take English over again.

He returned to the scene continually.
The term "continually" refers to something done without interruption. When expressing that something happens repeatedly, "continuously" is the word to use.

Tags: English, grammar, usage

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I've always wondered if people ever stand back and examine "I could care less" in a literal way. When one says "I could care less" it implies that they care a lot, leaving a lot of room for caring less.

Another one is that when someone is tossed in a fashion wherein they flip over and over we say he was tossed "head over heels." I don't know about you, but my head is normally over my heels. It's the normal state of affairs.

The Brits say "arse over teakettle."  If the teakettle is the noggin, that works.

I agree with "I could care less"

Here's another one:  "I wouldn't do X much less [or: let alone] Y" and instead of Y being more ridiculous than X as it should be, it's less so.

We say, "arse over tit".  The 'teakettle' is a last-minute catch if you're in polite company.

Hah!  I guess I have people fooled as I've never heard "arse over tit"

A week or two ago I heard a news anchor prounounce the "wonton" in "wonton violence" the way it's pronounced in "wonton soup." I was floored. I could only imagine how many people were laughing their asses off upon hearing that. And then she did it again a day or two later. What? Nobody corrected her? Or did she do it again on a dare?

Hey, how come no one's started a Grammarologists group here at TA, yet?

(I'm just asking, as a Grammaratarianologist.)

Because we need bad grammar to bitch at?

Bitch about.  Unless you plan to complain to the bad grammar itself!

(Yeah, I am pretty certain you did that deliberately!)

(...and here's a shoutout to the world's more lukewarm, Grammaratismishologistarians.)

Re: the "language evolves" argument...

It just bugs me when language evolves due to misunderstood speech, laziness, apathy, naivete, and willful ignorance. "Could of" is a prime example of this.

I am more than happy to support language that evolves through creativity, culture clashes, the influence of new technology, and other such means. Urban slang, cheezburger meme-speak, adopting British sayings...all that sort of stuff is fine and legitimate because it's at least partially intentional, rather than simply the propagation of common errors.

Well, ya gotta admit, Stutz, that "could've" sounds a lot like "could of" - granted, opening a book once in a while in grade school could of headed that off.

Geez...is this thread still going on?

I wish I had time to play but I bought a new Triumph Street Triple R and I has ta (he-he) go break in da motor, ya'll have funs I'lls be checking in later. :)

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