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

Views: 1682

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

(No, wait... did I already use that material back about a year or so ago?)

RE: "I'm notorious for joking a little TOO MUCH." - for what it's worth, I can verify that --!

What gets me disheartened is when an individual's comments make it sound like the only barrier is their attitude of apathy or indifference.

I used to skype a lot with a group one of whom couldn't be bothered to enunciate, he'd mumble all the time.  (He was capable of it when pressed, so it's not a disability.)  Which was a shame because when I could read what he had to say he was very articulate.

This thread isn't devoted just to chat room or discussion board posts, though some mistakes even in an informal setting are still stomach-turning. It's more general than that.

I hear misuses of English by supposedly educated people on TV very frequently. And their misuse is made against a background of having probably heard correct usage many a time. It makes me wonder why.

Yeah, I care too. Maybe it's more of a personal thing for me. I find it very distracting because the errors stick out like a sore thumb as I'm trying to read and follow along with someone's train of thought. I also generally take poorly written comments less seriously and have a lower opinion of the author. Is that fair? Not always, but I definitely think there's a loose correlation between the quality of a person's analysis and how comfortable they are as a writer, even in casual settings. I don't even think it's a question of effort; the reason I don't misspell things or make a lot of grammar errors is not that I'm trying harder, it's simply that I know correct spelling and grammar and use it naturally in all situations. I bothered to learn it in school, and I read a lot, so I don't exactly find it difficult.

Obviously, the disclaimer is that I'm not referring to people with disabilities or non-native speakers. That said, when people do find spelling/grammar difficult, it indicates to me that they didn't bother to learn it very well, probably don't read much, and maybe are lazy and apathetic about other, more important things, too.

So the real question is, in the context of an online forum, what serves the greater good of interaction and conversation - overlooking grammatical error and focusing on the actual content of the message or getting sidetracked with mundane issues of syntax?

And please don't reply with corrections to my statement. I could care less. When dealing with myself (or is it -me?) and other 'good ole' boys' the mantra of "keep it simple stupid" is very effective and appreciated. 

A philosophy of "keep it stupid, stupid" doesn't help much, though.

One gets to content through the medium of a language that is as universally well-understood as possible, and that is promoted by accepting standardization. Standard English, in other words. Inventive uses, mistakes, blunders, and jargon only understood by a portion of the audience all conspire to impeded understanding rather than increasing it.

all conspire to impeded understanding rather than increasing it.

Wait... is this grammatically inconsistent, or am I just analyzing it too much? I keep wanting to see "increased understanding". Or maybe "...impede rather than increase understanding.".

I'm sorry, these things just, you know, get to me, sometimes.

I think 'impeding' would do the trick.

Given Unseen's general level of erudition, I would guess that "impeded" was a typo and that he intended "impede."  Being a typo, it's not an example of what he is griping about.

True. I should hire a proofreader one of these days. LOL

This thread is about ignorance not simple mistakes.

This thread is about ignorance not simple mistakes.

I understand this, but I'd clarify it as "intentional" ignorance that bothers me. As I've mentioned before, in your favor (I think), I won't even bother reading posts from people who continually lower the levels of positive communication. When in doubt, try to add humor instead of invective to an emotional response. (I'm not saying I'm perfect at this, either.)



Blog Posts

My Purity Ring

Posted by Michelle Varni on July 5, 2015 at 7:18pm 5 Comments

Services we love!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2015   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service