Thursday, July 05, 2012

Pet grammatical peeves

I read a lot of email every day, a lot of posts on various listservs for authors--and you'd be amazed at the grammatical mistakes in them. How do these people think they can write a book? Sure, some are typos--but not all. Below is a list I've gathered recently--and not all are from professional writers.

There is unbelievable confusion over lay and lie. "My dogs were laying next to me." No,they weren't! They were lying next to you. "Laying on the beach was a good idea." Wrong! Lying on the beach might be a good idea. You lay an object down; you yourself lie down. Honest, this distinction is pretty straightforward and can be learned.

Another error that I find all the time, even in pubolished books, is the dangling modifier: "Sitting on my patio, a lovely red cardinal flew by." How could he fly by if he was sitting on your patio? The writer meant, "While I was sitting on my patio, a lovely ....." Or, "Tall, dressed in baggy chinos and a work shirt, his long graying hair was tied in a ponytail." Hmmm. How do you get chinos and a work shirt on a ponytail? Seems to me if you would read this aloud, you'd see it makes no sense.

Your, for you're, as in "Your welcome," in response to thank you. Or this one I found the other day, "If your in to dogs..." You're in to dogs? What does "in to dogs" mean  anyway? Into dogs? as in liking them?

Hope for our countries future--that robs me of a lot of hope.

Site the owners for animal abuse, instead of cite.

"The dog was unable to be caught." Wow! Talk about passive voice. Was he trying hard to be caught and unable to do it How about, "We couldn't catch the dog"?

I'm sicken tired. OKay, I'm sick and tired of syntax problems.

Site the owners, instead of cite the owners--for abuse of an animal.

To cast shadows and dispersions on something.... Don't think you can cast dispersions, but maybe aspersions? Why don't people check these things? As you type these days, if you're not sure about a word, it's really easy to just google it and get a meaning.

And there's always the time that I spoke to my granddaughter's first grade class. Her mom and the teacher had arranged this, but that day there was a substitute. She introduced me by saying, "Maddie's grandmother is here because she has wrote some books." No wonder I see these errors pop up--kids hear that kind of incorrect language in their early years.

I'll keep collecting. I know the English language isn't easy, but these are so blatantly wrong that, for me, it's like a fingrnail scratching on a blackboard. I admit there's one I never get right myself: bad and badly.  I keep saying, "I feel badly for someone," and both my English prof friend and my daughter jump on me. I feel badly means you don't feel well, or your fingers can't feel the person well. You feel bad for someone. Oh, help--get me out of this.


Anonymous said...

I guess we all make mistakes, even when writing a post about errors. Such as this one in your post:

"Another error that I find all the time, even in pubolished books, is the dangling modifier."

I'm sure you meant published.

Judy Alter said...

LOL. I knew I'd blow it on this post, but that definitely is a typo! Different from abusing the language.

Sally Jackson said...

Kathy swears that she and I are two of the few people who still use a possessive with a gerund!

One of the errors that I see and hear frequently is the "She and me" or "she and I" confusion. Then, too,. there is "alright" and "all right"

I could go on . . . but I won't.paoeuth

Anonymous said...

What about been and being? looked it up on the dictionary-gives the same definition. I have been kind of guessing about it all my life.