A Writer's Pet Peeves

I recently got a rather…hm, how shall I put this…Let’s say a rather “brusque” comment here on the Other Stuff blog.  It seems that in sharing my desire to spend a holiday in/on Maui, I managed to annoy the ever-living daylights out of one of my readers.  Apparently, she lives IN Hawaii (which I’ve been assured is OK to say because it’s a group of islands, not just one) and she says “my skin crawls” when someone says they are interested in being “in” Maui, rather than being “on” Maui.  It seemed a little odd to get bent out of shape enough to post about the issue, but to each their own, right?

That got me to thinking about the little grammatical issues that bug the heck out of me, and I thought I’d share a few of them here.  I’d love for you all to add your two-cents’ worth.

  • When people say they’re “humbled” by an experience when they really mean that they’re “flattered.”  Saying you’re humble when you mean you’re flattered is incredibly un-humble.
  • Misusing the word “literally.”  If you don’t know what it means, don’t say it at all.
  • People who leave comments on blogs that should actually be sent as private emails.  (This isn’t a pot-shot at the commentator, but she did remind me of it.)  I once had a guy publicly (online) point out a mistake I made and then ask me to hire him to do marketing for my company.  Um, no.
  • Using random, commas, because you think, maybe one should go, here and better safe, than sorry.
  • When people hold up signs at political rallies that are misspelled.  I know not everyone is a great speller, but if you’re going to all the work of making a sign to publicly espouse your views, use a dictionary.
  • Using “then” when you mean “than” and vice versa.  I’m as guilty as the next person of making these kinds of mistakes from time to time, but this one really annoys me for some reason.

So, what do you have for me, Internet?  I know that you writers out there probably have a laundry list of these things, and I want to read every last one of them so I can either stop making that mistake or feel smug because I don’t.

Comments

  1. One of my pet peeves, and something I see all the time: “loose” when they mean “lose”. (I particularly like it when they say, “Your such a looser”.)

  2. Lorna Doone Brewer says:

    @Bill – I KNOW. I actually wrote a post in September called “Speling is for Loosers” that talks about that very thing. (Oh, and I was publicly called out on Twitter for misspelling it…apparently the Tweeter didn’t get the joke.)

  3. Haaaa, “humbled”… meaning… “I saw this the other day from this unbelievable egotistical arschloch, bang on point!

  4. I CANNOT stand it when people use “u” in place of “you” in texts, social media, or, God forbid, even formal writing. It’s a difference of two letters, people. Suck it up.

  5. Exclamation marks! They can easily be overused! I’m a teacher, for heaven sakes! Don’t pepper your formal writing papers with exclamation marks! ;-)
    Homophone/homonym errors are also annoyingly common, to, because their sew easy to make if your knot paying attention.

  6. Joyous McCluskey~Crabb says:

    Your post caught my eye and I thought that I’d add MY “two cents’ worth” to this “conversation”…I want to TEAR MY HAIR OUT BY THE ROOTS when people say that they “went to ‘there’ daughters play”…what the? PUH-LEEZE get out your dictionary and look up “there, their, and they’re”!!! They ALL mean different things…for Heaven’s sake!!!

    ***Thank you…I feel MUCH better now ;D***

  7. Your post, literally, humbled me.

  8. Overuse of ellipses…. or using four (or five or fifty) dots instead of three.

  9. Misuse of apostrophes. I have a friend who will send out an invitation to “Girl’s Night” when there are a bunch of us going out. I hate that this bothers me, but it does.

  10. king wayne says:

    dont care much for exclamations if you write it i can read it and udestand it then its fine with me it dont have to have a bunch of dots and comas in it in enjoy the challenge of figureing out what your trying to say

  11. king wayne says:

    i just invented a new word udestand

  12. king wayne says:

    am not good with prounouciations and gramar but i value $20,000 and growing i will tell you when i reach a million see wath you think aboutme then a man thats rich and cant pronounciate or have proper gramar i can read and write who care about prounouciation yet am the great up comeing writer to be discovered how am i gona pull this off you whatch and see why gramartise and pronouciate when you can just cut to the chase?.

  13. king wayne says:

    invented another new word wath

  14. Lorna Doone Brewer says:

    “am not good with prounouciations and gramar but i value $20,000 and growing i will tell you when i reach a million see wath you think aboutme then a man thats rich and cant pronounciate or have proper gramar i can read and write who care about prounouciation yet am the great up comeing writer to be discovered how am i gona pull this off you whatch and see why gramartise and pronouciate when you can just cut to the chase?.”

    @King Wayne – I don’t mean to be a giant jerk here, but it took me several readings of this comment to try and figure out what you were attempting to say. I assume that English isn’t your first language, and I’m therefore impressed with your ability to put words together in a foreign tongue well enough for someone to be able to figure out what you mean. ON THE OTHER HAND, I’m a little worried that you believe you’re “the great up comeing writer to be discovered,” when you still have quite a bit to learn about how to spell, use real words, and “grammartize.” The answer to the question about why worry about those things when you can just cut to the chase is that you really haven’t cut to the chase at all.

    Best of luck to you, however. If you make a million dollars writing in English, then that’s awesome for you. Maybe not for your clients, but it’s great for you.

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