Mom the Grammar Nazi

You may be interested (or embarrassed) in this critique and response between me and a writer of a Newsweek article. The incorrect use of nonplussed (can one be plussed? no, there is no such verb). I was finally pushed over the edge in the wide-spread and flagrant misuse of this fine word. I am glad to see that I have enlightened at least one person, even though my objection was really directed to line editors, who should know better.

My last campaign was to correct CNN for their constant misuse of “to beg the question”……

My next campaign will be directed toward HGTV for everyone’s mispronunciation of realtor (they always say real-a-ter).

love, your mom, changing the world one word at a time

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    • 1.  May

      Hooray for a fellow Grammar Nazi!

      I want to write just about everyone on television and ask them to stop using the “there’s” contraction in front of plural nouns. There ARE plural nouns–not, there is plural nouns. I’ve heard it one nearly every channel, from HGTV to CNN.

      May 15, 2009 at 9:44 am

    • 2.  CT

      “The incorrect use of nonplussed (can one be plussed? no, there is no such verb).”

      I love when people complain about other people’s grammar or word usage and then ignore other basics of basic grammar, such as the use of a complete sentence.


      May 15, 2009 at 9:45 am

    • 3.  MRS MS

      Grammar Nazis leaves me nonplussed. I suppose everyone needs a hobby; but do they really think they can change the world or is it simply a way to feel superior to those around them?

      May 15, 2009 at 9:47 am

    • 4.  hayley

      Maybe mom needs some help of her own…should be “between a writer and me…”

      May 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

    • 5.  May

      It’s just something that has been so ingrained (by other Grammar Nazis) into our systems that we can’t help but feel a tiny twinge of pain whenever we hear a misuse.

      It’s not a matter of feeling superior, but being polite. If your writing and speech flow properly and make sense grammatically, then you’re doing everyone around you a favor. If you don’t know the basics or just refuse to follow them, you’re forcing everyone to translate your speech or writing. That risks miscommunication and frankly, makes you seem stupid whether you actually are or not.

      I don’t really care if some HGTV show host says something like, “there’s lots of plants,” but major news broadcasters and newspapers should know better. The amount of influence the media has on the population is ridiculous enough as it is. The least they could do is follow the rules of grammar and help the rest of us learn to speak properly.

      May 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    • 6.  Granny... So my Mom says!

      I’m sorry but i don’t see the need to go around correcting everyone and being nit-picky over every word said. Maybe it’s my southern background or my hatred for grammer in school, but I think as long as you get the gist (speaking of, is “gist” actually a word) of what someone is saying and you can understand them, then why critique what they say. i understand everyone has pet peeves, for example i hate when people say “you welcome” but i think it’s a little over kill to have bad grammer in general as your pet peeve. i mean seriously how do you even enjoy a conversation when you are too busy hearing all the mistakes instead of the meaning?

      P.S. feel free to correct all the mistakes you want in my statement. i’m sure you will have fun with all my lack of punctuation and run-on sentenses!

      May 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    • 7.  May

      Wow, calm down. First of all, I’m from the south, too. Second, did I say that I make a habit of correcting others or even looking for grammatical errors? No. My argument was that we have a language that our best tool for communication. In order for everyone to understand everyone else, it’s a good idea to standardize it. When someone does misuse this tool, it’s ok to let them know in order to prevent miscommunication.

      For instance, your run-on sentences and lack of punctuation make it difficult to read your response. Because of that, I can only assume which words and phrases you’re emphasizing. I could get an entirely different meaning from your response than that which you intended.

      I can also assume that you “don’t care” what I think of you or your writing. That’s just fine; if that’s the case, but I DO care what others think of me. I write as best as I can in order to make it easy on everyone else and in order to make sure that my point is made the way I want it to be made.

      May 15, 2009 at 10:12 am

    • 8.  KAB

      Hooray for you, May. I agree with everything you said in both posts.

      May 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

    • 9.  SallySweet

      I love this mom because we have the same ideas! A few weeks ago I had to tell the local TV news people that “unresponsible” was not a word. Maybe it’s my English degree, maybe it’s because my job is picking out typos and grammatical errors, but I think it’s important for people to understand (and generally use) good grammar and spelling. I’ll save my rant about misused apostrophes for another day, though.

      May 15, 2009 at 10:49 am

    • 10.  Libby

      I am a bit on the fence about Grammar Nazis. I suppose sometimes it is OK to let little things go. However, when there are words that the entire internet seems to use incorrectly, I don’t understand the harm in trying to point someone in the right direction.

      Which brings me to my biggest pet peeve. SUPPOSE vs. SUPPOSED. Why, oh why, does (what seems like) the entire world not understand the difference between these two words? I can suppose (imagine) that it is OK to let little things go. However, I am SUPPOSED to attend a party tonight. Or, I was supposeD to pick up my dry cleaning on the way home from work.

      OK. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. Please share with the world. Rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

      Oh, I am southern too. It is more than possible to be polite and guide others to speak properly at the same time.

      May 15, 2009 at 11:16 am

    • 11.  P

      I, for one, am not much for grammar. I am a mathematician. I still do not feel the need to correct people when they say “I minus this from that” or “You times it” because I understand what they want to do. They don’t need to feel stupid for trying to say “I subtracted this from that” or “You multiply it”.

      May 15, 2009 at 11:43 am

    • 12.  Blonde Savant

      I am a Grammar Nazi, but I always try to point out the correct use of words in the most polite and constructive way I can. My friends and coworkers often ask me the proper way to phrase their sentences. The point of grammar is to communicate effectively. If you do not care about grammar, that tells me that you do not care about the ideas you are expressing.
      I have had people become upset with me for correcting their grammar, most often my mother. I always point out to her that I am trying to help her sound like the educated and confident woman that she is.
      My biggest grammar peeve is mispronunciations. EXspecially, EXspresso, supposably, liberry; these are not words! If you use them, know that I (and others like me) will perceive you as uncouth.

      May 15, 2009 at 11:52 am

    • 13.  L

      Oh, Hayley, I raised you right you little mini grammar fiend.
      Re: mispronunciations–one of my pet peeves is nucular for nuclear.

      May 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    • 14.  May

      Thanks KAB and Blone Savant. Blonde, I agree wholeheartedly. Correcting others isn’t about making them feel stupid. P, It’s about helping them express themselves in the clearest way possible. Just because you understand what someone means in a mathmatical context doesn’t mean you’ll be able to understand someone else’s poor grammar in a completely different context. Besides, there’s a difference between poor grammar and a slight misuse of words–just like the difference between poor grammar and typos.

      May 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    • 15.  Andrea

      My pet peeve is “irregardless”, a non-word that means the exact opposite of its intended meaning. I also can’t stand the mispronunciation of “realtor” and “jewelry” (jewel-a-ry).

      May 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    • 16.  MRS MS

      Okay, I have to weigh back in here. It’s never okay to correct someone in public unless that someone is your child or your student. See Miss Manners! Your idea of “helping” people by correcting them (especially your mother, Blonde Savant) is simply rudeness blanketed in condescension.

      May 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    • 17.  May

      You really think so? I equate it with telling a friend that the dress she’s trying on really doesn’t flatter her (if it indeed does not) or letting her know if she goes a little heavy on the perfume one day. I count on my friends to tell me if I’m wearing an offensive amount of makeup or perfume, to let me know if my outfit makes my butt look huge, and to let me know when I’ve made a grammatical mistake. They’re saving me from embarrassing myself. I don’t take it personally. I get upset if they only tell me what they think I want to hear. You don’t spare someone’s feelings by witholding the truth.

      May 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    • 18.  MRS MS

      I really think that insisting on correcting people who haven’t asked for your assistance is rude and condescending. Blonde Savant says her mother is upset by her “corrections” yet she persists when it obviously embarasses her mom. Although she cloaks it with “I always point out to her that I am trying to help her sound like the educated and confident woman that she is,” Savant comes off sounding as if she is actually just enjoying the idea that she knows better than mom. She also said, “If you do not care about grammar, that tells me that you do not care about the ideas you are expressing.” That’s a nasty and wrong-headed assumption. Some people simply aren’t good with languages, even their native tongue. When you are in the middle of a conversation and someone interrupts to correct your grammar, you can easily lose the flow of the conversation. Essentially you’ve wrecked their train of thought and that’s rude.

      May 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    • 19.  Elizabeth

      I am so on Team Grammar Nazi.

      May 15, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    • 20.  cakeburnette


      Let’s contrast this sentence:
      “My argument was that we have a language that our best tool for communication.”

      with this one:
      “If your writing and speech flow properly and make sense grammatically, then you’re doing everyone around you a favor.”

      Sentence #1 does not follow the guidelines set out in Sentence #2. Let’s look at another sample:
      “I can also assume that you ‘don’t care’ what I think of you or your writing. That’s just fine; if that’s the case, but I DO care what others think of me. I write as best as I can in order to make it easy on everyone else and in order to make sure that my point is made the way I want it to be made.”

      I guess that we are to assume that May meant to write:
      My argument was that we have a language that IS our best tool for communication.

      Apparently she doesn’t “care enough” to proof-read what she has written before posting. Which further makes me assume that the point she wants to make is to condescend and feel superior.

      Yes, this is nit-picky and petty–just like pointing out incorrect grammar in everyday conversations–and my assumption is not necessarily reality. However, my point is that if you are THAT consumed with proper grammar, maybe you should at least learn to proof-read your posts. Additionally, the fact that the term is Grammar NAZI should be a clue…I, personally, don’t want to be lumped in with Nazis, no matter what the context might be. And as a Southerner, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”?

      May 15, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    • 21.  Belle

      I believe that many have missed the important point that Grammar Nazi Mom was correcting professional publications and television reporters – both of which certainly should be concerned with their language being correct. As to correcting others, I always say that I don’t give “freebies” – unless you are my child or student, I won’t correct you. But you should realize that many times you will be judged on your ability to communicate well. As soon as you speak, or submit your writing, others will form an opinion of you. Why not strive to present your best self at all times?

      May 15, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    • 22.  MRS MS

      Belle, you are correct that mom was targeting professionals. You are also correct that it is about judging people. When you can judge someone to be inferior due to their grammer, you can feel better about yourself. However, we shouldn’t be behaving in such a shameful manner. I have a loved one with chemo-head who sometimes has problems with things like we’ve been discussing. She’s extraordinarily intelligent, but slipping due to the poisons she’s given to control her cancer. Others may have disabilities you aren’t aware of when you sit in judgement of them. Just because you don’t speak well does not mean you are stupid; however, when you judge someone on grammer, you set yourself up as condescending.

      May 16, 2009 at 8:57 am

    • 23.  kat

      Yes! Realtor. Also “incedences.” How do you spell a word that’s not really a word?

      May 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    • 24.  Belle

      My point isn’t whether it is right or wrong to judge others by their use of language- but that it IS a fact. Everyone has to judge – and often we have only a small part of the whole person to base an opinion on, be it when we meet someone, go to a job interview, or get an e-mail. One argument that has been put forward here is that language shouldn’t matter – but often it is all someone has with which to judge you . You’ve probably made a judgment about me – based solely on my postings. It’s not wrong – it’s simply all you have right now.

      As an English professor I am paid to judge the writing of students. I make a point of telling my students that I am judging their writing – not their worth as human beings. That is, I think, an important distinction to make. Please don’t think I run around looking down my educated nose at those who aren’t as educated or careful with their language. While I might not hire them to write for me, I wouldn’t think less of them as a person. (I do expect those who have been hired to use language to do so well, however)

      I would hope that anyone who knows of a situation like the one your loved one is suffering would take that into account – just as I judge my autistic nephew differently than I do my own sons.

      May 16, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    • 25.  Sika

      First of all, nonplussed may not have an affirmative form (because it was derived from a Latin term), but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a word. Check your dictionary.

      Even if something really isn’t a word, general usage can make it one. If you are complaining that EVERYONE uses something wrong, guess what, it’s not wrong anymore. If the point of language is for everyone to be able to understand each other, and everyone can understand it, even if it is the wrong usage, then it’s not bad language anymore. If something is being used widely in the media, sorry, but it’s over. General usage means proper usage.

      Second, when you consistently point out grammatical mistakes, you show people that you care more about their grammar than what they actually have to say. This says it all:

      “My friends and coworkers often ask me the proper way to phrase their sentences. The point of grammar is to communicate effectively.”

      I agree with MRS MS that when the focus becomes all about the grammar, or the conversation is interrupted for the sake of grammar, then not only is it is rude, but it defeats the purpose of communicating. When I’m trying on cloths with my friends, I want them to tell me when my ass looks big. When I meet them at a restaurant for lunch, it would be rude for them to mention it.

      May 17, 2009 at 1:22 am

    • 26.  Little Lemon

      Could you get your mother to look into 100%. There is no such thing as 101% etc. It drives me mad.

      May 17, 2009 at 11:42 am

    • 27.  kelE

      Percentages can be expressed in numbers higher than 100. You can say 200% of 30 is 60. (for example)

      May 17, 2009 at 11:57 am

    • 28.  Hmm


      In the UK we spell it jewellery, and pronounce it as such.

      I’m with Sika on this.
      The English language is contently evolving and changing. Usage of words change, even from generation to generation. Think about the words that your Grandma used, I’d wager there are some there that you either don’t use or use differently.
      While I agree with keeping to regular grammar and spelling is vital, we need to give the language room to change to fit it’s surroundings.

      May 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    • 29.  Belle

      I call a logical fallacy – “either/or”. One need not care ONLY for grammar, or ONLY for communicating. The two work hand in hand.

      The point of proper grammar is to facilitate effective communication. We have rules to clarify – so we are all playing on a level playing field.

      Does language evolve? Yes. But it does so at a slow enough pace that it really isn’t hard to keep abreast. I personally think that given the awkward nature of “his/hers” that using the plural “they” should be allowed. It isn’t yet, and until an authoritative source tells me it is okay I will continue to write his/hers – but mark my words, someday it will be accepted.

      As to the idea of Grammar Nazis running around rudely telling everyone his/her grammar is incorrect – in my experience (which is heavily weighted with English majors) that isn’t what they do. Telling publications of an error is different then telling your friend “Ha! Ha! You have a dangling participle.” I have a sister-in-law who has the WORST grammar you can imagine. I have never said a word to her – I don’t think it would change anything, and it would only make her feel belittled. If, however, my niece (9) says “Ain’t”, I will let her know that it is not an accepted usage, and she should say “am not”. You do have to know the proper time and place for correcting grammar, just as you, to use the example Sika did, need to know when it is appropriate to tell her that some clothing makes her ass look big. The rule I was always taught was that you don’t bring a problem to someone’s attention if he/she cannot do anything about it. So – spinach in the teeth? Tell – he/she can go to the bathroom and remove the offending vegetable. Run in her pantyhose? Don’t tell – she’d only worry about it.

      May 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    • 30.  Kathy

      My mom was an English teacher, so I have an excuse for cringing when I hear bad grammar. It really gets to me when it’s coming from a teacher, a newspaper, or a TV reporter! And why hasn’t anyone mentioned my pet peeve – the fact that no one says they are going to ‘lie’ down any more. It’s always, “I’m going to lay down.” You lay something else down. You lie down.

      May 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    • 31.  Granny... So my Mom says!

      Going back to defend myself from the attack of “May” on my previous post.
      First of all, I do care about my ideas. I posted it of course. Common sense would tell you that if I did not care, I would not post it. Unfortunately, common sense is not very common. Just to reiterate what “cakeburnette” said, I also can assume that you do not care about your ideas because you did not take the time to go back and proof read your statement.
      Secondly, I did not say that you made a habit of going around and correcting others. Although you did make it sound like that in your first posting, I do not know you and would have no clue as to how often you correct others. What I do know is that you have the self-given title of “Grammar Nazi”. Come on, if you are calling yourself “Grammar Nazi” I can only suppose what others are calling you.
      Third, I do agree that those in the media should have better grammar and speak properly, but the media is also imperfect. The main goal of the media, and probably the reason you watch or pay attention to it, is either to get news and information out to the public or to entertain. If you watched the news and understood what was passed, then the goal was met.
      Thank you for assuming that I “do not care about my ideas” and for judging me as a person by my statement. The response that I got from you was, well with a little more anger, what I expected. I am sure that you probably have judged me to be a poorly educated, stubborn, or ignorant person.
      I am well educated, although I only have military training and VERY LIMITED college after high school. I know proper grammar and practice it commonly because I am a lower ranking enlisted member, but I work with members of much higher rank and officers. My post was written the way it was to make a point. Although you claim to hate grammar mistakes and I did write horribly, you understood what I was trying to say. My precise meaning or emphasis was irrelevant. Even if I had been verbally speaking to you and you heard my emphasis, you still could have understood what I was saying differently or chose to interpret it differently. Grammar helps, but it is not the definitive factor of how others comprehend what we have said to him/her. Precisely why I believe that you should focus on what is being said, rather than the grammar used to say it.

      May 18, 2009 at 10:28 am

    • 32.  Jill D

      I think some people are kind of underestimating the importance of grammar, spelling, pronunciation etc. I try not to be a total Nazi about it, but these things are important in communicating effectively. When I read a statement like “I defiantly like the original better then the sequel”, my understanding is that the writer feels pretty rebellious about saying that, and that he/she places the sequel immediately after the original in order of preference. Of course, when I get to the end I usually realise what the writer actually meant, but if I am skimming I sometimes miss the intended meaning. And a sign like “Great gifts for Mom’s” just leaves me thinking, “gifts for Mom’s WHAT?” (and it really ticks me off, too). So even for the people who say that these things are not important because your meaning can still be understood, keep in mind that sometimes even a small error can actually change the meaning of a message (anyone familiar with the TV show Ed will know about this).

      Interesting fact for the Grammar Nazis: after years of cringing when I read the phrase “Mother’s Day” (as opposed to “Mothers’ Day”), I recently found out that the official name of the holiday IS Mother’s Day. The idea is that it isn’t a day to celebrate all mothers, but a day for each person to celebrate his or her own mother – i.e. it is your mother’s very own special day. Thanks Wikipedia!

      May 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    • 33.  JanL

      I’ve been a copy editor for a quarter century (makes it sound longer than 25 years, eh?). I’ve been married to an electrical engineer for 22 years–an electrical engineer who’s a native-English speaker, but has a talent for misusing words and mangling their spelling. I think grammar and spelling must be genetic traits because he passed his capabilities in those areas along to our children.
      Yet, I have managed to maintain my sanity all these years. I am proud to say that I have controlled my murderous Grammar Nazi tendencies and have not shot a single one of them. How do I do it?
      After intense practice, I’ve learned to keep silent, choosing to restructure their sentences in my head instead of correcting them out loud. This new talent has helped me in other situations, particularly in church where I disagree with almost everything the minister says–but I digress.
      I should probably be bludgeoned for not doing my duty as wife and mother and correcting their grammar, but I’d prefer they listen to the important motherly/wifely advice I occasionally dole out and not block out whatever I’m trying to say, thinking, “Here comes another grammar lecture!”
      I have my doubts that correcting anyone’s grammar/usage helps much. They probably forget what you’ve told them about 2 seconds after you’ve said it if they even listened to you at all. Let’s face it: There are those of us who care about language and those (the majority, I fear) who do not.
      Sometimes you just have to let go to maintain your sanity. I hear and read mispronunciations and grammar mistakes frequently. Sometimes they’re even (perish the thought) coming out of my own mouth. You can bet that as soon as I’ve corrected someone else’s grammar, I’m going to make a mistake myself! My advice: Unless you never make mistakes, don’t point others’ out to them except when they’ve specifically asked for your guidance.

      May 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    • 34.  Team Grammar

      May, “as best as I can” is not proper grammar. You could say, “the best I can,” or “as best I can.” This is why being a “grammar Nazi” is not a good thing. Even when we try to explain ourselves, we make mistakes. I agree that those people who have influence on society should try harder to speak properly. Criticizing loved ones, however, will only alienate them.

      My TV news “pet peeve”: “The victim, she was a resident of Nevada.” “The police, they say two other neighborhood homes were also vandalized.” Truly frustrating.

      May 18, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    • 35.  Embee

      JanL – you crack me up!

      May 20, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    • 36.  Megan

      Your grammar nazi mom is my hero.

      May 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    • 37.  Belle

      JanL – I’m happy to say that my children have absorbed both my grammar instruction (eldest just made her second A in college English during her freshman year) and motherly advice. Again, it’s not either/or. You may in fact speak properly AND have your advice listened to by spouse and offspring! Hooray!

      May 20, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    • 38.  anon

      “nonplussed” is an adjective. and if “plussed” were a word, it would be, too.

      May 20, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    • 39.  Hum

      I agree with Embee because JanL cracks me up too. JanL you should seriously think of writing a humour column in the newspaper. Dave Barry comes to mind. Love your sense of timing.

      May 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    • 40.  BX

      I have often corrected members of the media on their mispronunciation and mangling of the English language. But I never correct anyone over the age of 10 in public. Why? Because I was and still am someone who woefully mispronounces things due to the regional midwestern-isms I unfortunately picked up as a child.

      Also, my husband happens to be a bit clueless. Hearing a mispronounced word for him makes him cringe or an overused word. I used to say literally all the time. Even when it wasn’t necessary at all. I couldn’t hear it- I didn’t even know I was doing it. He pointed it out. Over and over again in private, in public, loudly, softly… until I told his royal jacka** to shut the F**k up and to never correct me mid-sentence or in public ever again. (he has a tendency to refrain from subtleties and would embarrass both me and the people who we were with)

      Hearing real-a-tor and nuc-u-lar and melk and I’d've… well they make me scream inside my head. But I am not douche-baggy enough to correct the person. Unless of course it is someone I am close to and they have mispronounced or misused the word repeatedly to it is not a mistake but a misunderstanding.

      May 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    • 41.  CHECK IT

      Correcting grammar, grammar usage, pronunciation (not pronoun-ciation ) , enunciation, etc. I think is completely fine and fair.

      The language is very quickly becoming diluted with internet lingo that previously was contained online (LOL, ROFL, and such) and quick and easy spellings of words via text messaging (removing vowels like “whn” “knw”, “tht”)

      Although the removal of vowels is very similar to languages such as arabic and hebrew (where there are no vowels, and you take interpret via the accents and the context of the word), English is not like that.

      While all languages do and must evolve, I feel that currently, with the advent of internet lingo and the like, that the language is devolving at a rather alarming rate.

      Language evolution MUST occur, but I feel that currently it is moving in the completely wrong direction. Quiz the average youth today about vocabulary knowledge, usage, etc. and you will be severely disappointed.

      Rather, those that learn English as a second language (not as the mother tongue), are much more adapt at using the fundamentals of the English language.

      I think its VERY unfortunate…. what would writers such as Coetzee and Joyce think of this?? (although perhaps writers such as Kerouac would LOVE it, but as much as his writing danced in the light of modern grammatical structure, his vocabulary was still quite high and often times his innovations were still well within the ranks of the English Language)

      May 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    • 42.  By George » Blog Archive » To whom it may concern …

      [...] think the Grammar Nazi posting was my favourite, simply because I could relate to it. My own mother (died September 1 [...]

      May 30, 2009 at 11:05 am

    • 43.  Rakaryan

      Does she work as an editor? Lmao…changing the world one word at a time! She rules

      June 9, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    • 44.  Language lover

      This exchange reminds me of a greeting card I once read.

      On the front of the card, two women are sitting together and one says to the other: “Where’s the party at?”
      Woman two says: “Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.”
      Woman one answers: “Where’s the party at, b–ch?”

      I’m a professional writer, but I’m not perfect. And, I would not hold myself out to be a grammar expert. Even those of us who are educated — and strive to use proper grammar and correct spelling and punctuation — make mistakes. In fact, nearly every post on this site (including this one) contains spelling, grammmatical and/or punctuation errors, even those posts made by self-proclaimed grammar experts.

      I recently met a Harvard English professor at a dinner party. I asked him what he thought of our language becoming bastardized by the incorrect use of words. He asked for an example. I offered “conversating.” He replied, “I’ve never heard it before, but I love that word. I can appreciate how it came to be. Conversating implies a nuanced meaning lacking in synonyms such as discussing and talking.”

      I appreciated the professor’s reaction as it gave me a new perspective. I am much more inclined to accept, and even embrace, mistakes. He demonstrated a true love of language.

      July 31, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    • 45.  Mark Pennington

      Top 40 Grammar Pet Peeves
      If you are grammatically challenged, or let’s face it, a grammatical snob who will catch the grammatical error in the title of this blog, you owe it to yourself to check out these grammatical pet peeves and tips at Top 40 Grammar Pet Peeves

      August 7, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    • 46.  Lostinthezoo

      Of all the submissions to the sight, this one certainly seems to have generated the most passionate of responses. I must confess that I am guilty of correcting my children on their misuse of words. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts or perhaps to spite me, the grown up monsters still use words incorrectly. Then again, most of the people we know use the words in the same context as my children. Grammar nazis are merely candles in the wind…

      August 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    • 47.  Lostinthezoo

      PS, the use of “sight” instead of “site” WAS intentional. I just couldn’t resist.

      August 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

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      My favorite peeve on HGTV is the overuse of “guys”, and the plural “guyzes”! I cringe whenever I hear that ! The main offender was Lee Snijders, but I’ve even heard David Bromstadt using it!

      January 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      • 49.1  Brian

        I can’t stand it when grown men and women (not even teenagers sometimes) use the words “you guys”’s gender biased. Try using You All, Everybody, All Of You or YOU (it’s a plural as well as singular).

        July 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

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      • 50.1  Trixie

        That is hilarious. What is even funnier is that it probably wasn’t even Richler’s fault but the fault of either the typesetter or the editor at the time. Being from Montreal, Richler would certainly have known to put accents on that word, but funny nonetheless.

        March 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm

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