I love grammar. I know, I know… it’s unusual, but I really do. I love the rules of it, and it makes language flow so easily when they’re followed. I have always had a relatively easy time figuring out how grammar works, whether because I read so much as a child or because I learned French at a young age which then translated well, I’m not sure. (I will admit that I’m nowhere near perfect, but I generally managed to avoid the most egregious errors!)
Not surprisingly, bad grammar has become a pet peeve of mine. I see it everywhere. In fact, I have a wedding coming up and chose the B&B where my husband and I will stay based on which one had the fewest grammatical errors on its site. “We except VISA and Mastercard” and “…room has seperete queen beds” being only two examples of what I saw.
It drives me most nuts when I see errors in newspapers and books. Books are edited repeatedly by multiple people. Simple errors just shouldn’t happen, but I see spelling errors all the time. I see places where quotation marks were forgotten or words horribly misused and more. When I see these errors, I mentally cringe.
Apparently some people feel even more strongly than I do. I was recently reading a book (yeah yeah – it was a historical romance, my brain candy) and throughout, someone had let their feelings be known.
Who and whom are among the most difficult distinctions for people to make. This reader is correct that “whom” should be used here, but I have to admit that I generally give people a pass when they misuse these two words.
This was the one where I somewhat disagreed with the ahhhh editor. While the sentence is more proper with “dancing with him made possible her difficult vow to avoid Magnus” than “dancing with him made her difficult vow to avoid Magnus possible,” I don’t have an issue with the way it’s written. Ahhh, someone who’s pickier than I. Finally.
This one is a pet peeve of mine, however. Between requires “her” without a doubt. I had a teacher once who explained it to the class this way: “Replace the word with I or me (as the case may be). It’s much easier to see which one sounds better. Then be sure to use the corresponding form of the pronoun you want to use.” Watch. “transpired between I and Magnus” – ouch! Doesn’t that hurt your ears? Let’s try “transpired between me and Magnus” – ahhhh, much better!
Made up words are another pet peeve of mine. I’ll never forget working on consulting and having a partner actually use the (non)word “orientated” in a presentation. Don’t get me started on “irregardless.” Apparently this reader felt the same way about “portraiturist.”
Near the end of the book, I think this poor reader reached her limit. I love her display of frustration. (I assume it’s a her both because of the type of book and by looking at the handwriting, but I could be wrong, I suppose.)
Seeing these little updates in the book made me giggle – even more than the book itself did. I’ve often dreamt of becoming an editor so that I could fix these types of errors (as well as so I could rewrite poorly written passages). It’s always nice to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ll bet it was awfully satisfying to fix that pet peeve.