Monday, January 02, 2012

Pet Peeves: English Language Edition



Occasionally, even the most relentlessly goofy old maid will feel a few too many little annoyances and end up crabby as hell.  So here, as a sort of pressure valve, I shall share, in no particular order, things -- usually written, but sometimes spoken -- that bug me. 
  • Disregarding punctuation is not freeing us from tyrannical constraints.  It is making it very difficult to understand the most simple written communications.  I'm thinking, specifically, of the apostrophe, which in certain instances can help me to understand if you possess something, if someone else possesses something, or if there are more than one of something.  "My nephews," "my nephew's," and "my nephews'," for instance, do not all mean the same thing.
  • "Ironic" does not mean "funny and intellectual."  So if I don't laugh at your joke, saying "I was being ironic" will not convince me that the joke was sophisticated and therefore hilarious.  Ironically.
  • "Mantel" and "mantle" are not variant spellings of the same word.  So if I read "I lit four big candles on my mantle" I think "that's got to hurt."  Because in my mind, you're wearing your mantle; however, I suppose you could have put it on the ground and then lit the candles.  (See?  I feel better already.)
  • "Flair" and "flare" are not variant spellings of the same word, either.  Of course, if you write that you lit candles on your mantle to give it some flare, and then go on to tell me about the cute firefighter you met during the ensuing blaze, it all makes sense.
  • The phrase "I'm a positive person" does not mean the same thing as "I'm a better person [than you are]."  No really, it doesn't.  Look it up.

6 comments:

rkbsnana said...

Well, alrighty then. Although your thoughts may have been crabby,they did not seem crabby when written. Seriously, the apostrophe, or lack thereof, is a pet peeve of mine as well. The commas are sometimes hard to place and I often fear I use them too much.

rkbsnana said...

Sorry, one more word. I read your comment on my diet posting about your weight loss through life crisis plan. You are such a hoot!! (Down here, a hoot is not a derogatory term.)

Maria said...

Re: apostrophes: I'm glad it's not just me. And I also feel like I overuse the comma. I often go back and eliminate a few.

Re: "Hoot": No worries, I take that as a lovely compliment! :)

Laura said...

"Alot" bugs me. I see that turn up too many times in otherwise fairly well written sites.

Rachel said...

So since you are cranky, this would NOT be a good time to bring up that you have too many commas in your paragraph about apostrophes?

Maria said...

Rachel: No, I don't. :D