Any number of pet peeves that annoy literate people. See also spelling pet peeves!
  • your vs you're
    You're likely to break your leg with that stunt.
    You're gracious to lend me your jacket.
    Again, no possessive pronoun has an apostrophe. Think (you'are).
  • then vs than
    She went to the store, then to the carwash. It was hotter than Hades at the sauna.
    Funny thing, programmers never spell if-then wrong, but many don't know that than is a word.
  • affect vs effect
    His speech affected the audience, and effected discussion in the legislature.
    She turned the knob without knowing what it would affect; she decided she liked the new effect.
    To 'affect' something is to change it somehow. An 'effect' is indirect: the results of a change.
  • irony vs juxtaposition
    It was ironic that Ted Kaczinski was so against technology, but was only found when his manifesto was published on the Internet.
    It was a coincidence that it was Ted Kaczinski's own brother who turned him in.
    The word 'irony' implies unexpected opposites; two things together that make you go 'hmm' is just a meaningful juxtaposition.
Got a grammar pet peeve?
My pet grammar peeve: people who pedantically insist on correcting grammar when the correct use is currently ambiguous.

"Their vs. they're vs. there" - this type of correction is fine. The distinction between these words is for the sake of clarity and understanding.

"They is not singular. Trust me on this one." - okay, now in this case, there is historical precedent on one side, and wide current usage on the other. The historical precedents are based on the idea "when in doubt, use he", like in french, which english draws a fair bit of heritage from. The current usage is based on "hey.. why is male the damn default?", a sentiment I can sympathize with. There is no gender-neutral singular pronoun in english, none of the proposed new ones have caught on, and so they has been pressed in to service. Whether you like it or not, english is a living language.

"Dude, it's supposedly, not supposably" - this is cool too. English is alive, but it's based on consensus. If you make up new words, hey, maybe it'll one day become canon, but in the meantime you can expect to be snickered at if there's already a serviceable word in the lexicon in wide use.

"Actually, the correct plural of this obscure word is grandelfrözii, not grandlefrözes." - English is full of weird exceptions to general rules, but the natural tendency has been over the last hundreds of years is for words that are NOT in frequent use to align themselves more with the general rules. Very common words will keep their exception status - like the plural of child is the weird children, because everyone uses the word children constantly, so it's not likely to change much - but less common words will start to use common suffixes, because no one actually uses the weird exception spelling enough for everyone to know about it. Case in point: octopus. In and prior to the fifties, the plural was octopod. Have you ever heard someone say octopod? Of course not. Now, today some people will insist that the plural is octopii. That was pretty popular in the seventies, and it's an acceptable use because lots of people use it, but it doesn't have that spelling because that's the god-given official spelling, so get off your high horse and don't correct me when I say octopuses. Not enough people hear octopii these days either, because there aren't any more octopuses now than there were in the fifties, so once again the word is heading in the direction of a more common suffix.

Does everyone understand? Good children, I'll give you a children biscuit.
Use of innit.

Innit is a contraction of "isn't it?", and as such its use should be restricted to "That's cool, innit?" or "That dog is blue, innit?", and never "He's cool, innit?", or "That man is blue, innit?". Its increasing use as a general afirmative is bad too. I've recently seen a play entitled "Don't Look At My Sister, Innit" advertised. Shudder. I know innit is slang, but it drives me up the wall when it's used unsuitably. Some would argue that it's an acceptable substitute for the French "N'est-ce pas?" or Japanese "Ne-"; but I wouldn't.

Also, I don't like it when folks "try and" do something. Shouldn't that be "try to" in most cases?

Everyone should speak proper like what I do.

Wharfiner, although "They" isn't singular in general, I often use it as a neutral singular pronoun. In other words I'll say "they" instead of specifying a gender. It may not be conventional grammar usage, but there are plenty of exceptions in the English language, so perhaps we should make one more. I think we need a neutral singular third-person pronoun.

I happen to be a grammar nut myself, but my grammar pet peeve is when people take grammar rules too literally, and use it even when logic dictates otherwise.

Example: I had this English teacher who claimed that when you compare things you must always use the word "other." Like "The Ford Excursion is bigger than all other cars." So I asked her if the following example "New York is bigger than all the cities in Amsterdam." So she insisted that you need to say "New York is bigger than all the other cities in Holland." I persisted and pointed out that that sentence implies that New York is in Amsterdam. So she said you must say "New York, which is in the U.S., is bigger than all the other cities in Amsterdam." if you want to avoid confusion about where New York is. Clearly this woman is off her rocker. Logic tells me that the only time you need to use the word "other" is when the thing you're comparing is part of the set it's being compared to. This is because something cannot be bigger/better/smarter than itself. Example: "The Ford Excursion is bigger than all cars" is grammatically flawed because the Ford Excursion is a car and cannot be bigger than itself. Unfortunately, my English teacher is still listening to whatever the teacher's manual tells her, so that point is lost on her.

Will Smith, supposedly is also really nutty about grammar. He has said this himself. Well I noticed that he misused the rule about putting "an", instead of "a", before a word that starts with a vowel. In his song Just the Two of Us theres a part that he says "or even a M.C." The trouble is that although "M.C. starts with a consonant, its pronounced with a vowel: "emcee." That rule of grammar exists only to avoid awkwardness in verbalization. Will Smith took it too literally and thought he was being clever.

special thanks to peej

To the above list I add whose vs who's
"Whose shoes did I trip over in the hallway and who's going to pick them up?"
The first is the possessive, the second the contraction of "who is".

as in: "He literally laughed his head off."
No, he bloody didn't! Or if he did, he must be the first person in history whose head was rolling on the floor detached from his body after a joke -- without some outside intervention.

With regard to they, them and their used as a gender-neutral singular pronoun, the matter does have historical literary precedent -- Jane Austen certainly used the convention. It seems acceptable to me, especially now, when, with the increasing use of gender-neutral nicknames, to presuppose a gender could be misleading, but to use 'it' is blatantly incorrect. S/he, him/her, his/hers is cumbersome, and sie, hir, and kir contrived and artificial. "They" is, if not perfect, certainly the least troublesome way to indicate that the person being referred to is of an unknown gender.

  • Who vs whom - Yes, this is picky, but, strictly speaking: "The man to whom I was speaking" should be used instead of "The man who I was speaking to".
  • "James and I went to the shops" is much, much better than "James and me went to the shops".
  • "Aswell"
  • "Awhile" used incorrectly: it means 'for a short time', so should never be preceded by a preposition. If you want a preposition before it, you have to use the two-word form 'a while'. Conversely, "stay a while" is incorrect1, while "stay for a while" and "stay awhile" are correct.
  • 'That' being used as a relative pronoun when 'which' is much better. Microsoft's grammar checkers suggest this because it makes things more readable.
  • 'Grammer' - yes it's a spelling mistake, but it's appropriate, don't you think?

  • 1. TenMinJoe and think this is correct. Looking at it again, they might be right.

Improper formation of the subjunctive! The subjunctive is the verbal mood1 used to express possible or contrary to fact statements.
"I am healthy"
"If I were healthy, I would climb Mt. Everest."

These sentences clearly express different verbal moods, and people do recognize a difference, but most of the time, when people want to express the second sentence, they say
"If I was healthy, I would climb Mt. Everest.

rrrr. The simple past tense active or passive voice subjunctive of the verb to be is WERE.
For all other verbs the simple past tense active or passive voice subjunctive is the same as the indicative, as in
"If he ran, he would get there on time.

Ok… but this is only the beginning.

How about this:
"He is here"
"It is essential that he be here."

These sentences are simple present tense, and the latter is, of course the subjunctive form, and people recognize that. The simple present tense active or passive voice subjunctive is just the infinitive stem of the verb. But people will also say things like:

"It is essential that he runs all the way"

If you put the verb to be in the subjunctive, why don't you realize the need to do it with other verbs? The last sentence should be:
"It is essential that he run all the way"

Enough of this selective proper subjunctiving!

On the topic of using object pronouns as subjects which InfiniteVoid brings up, as in "Me and him went to the mall"... many people have realized how grating this is on the ears and of late there has been an equally revolting trend in the other direction! Now people say things like "He gave those reports to Steve and I." rrrrr. So let's get this straight.

Subject pronouns:

Object pronouns:

1 Yes, the subjunctive is a mood, not a tense. This is another GPP of mine.

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