Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I'm driving to work this morning, listening to NPR, and a reporter noted that "the writing has been on the wall literally for 15 years."

Unless there's a wall somewhere with writing on it, the writing hasn't LITERALLY been on the wall!


Literally is used incorrectly so often, I'm beginning to wonder if people know the meaning of the word.

While I'm on the subject of pet peeves, let me throw out a few others....
Irregardless is not a word. The word is regardless.

Orientated is not a word. You can be oriented, or attend orientation. You can not be orientated.

To say that the meeting is at "9 a.m. in the morning" is redundant.

"Consensus of opinion" is redundant. A consensus is a gathering of opinions.

And would someone please tell me when disrespect became a verb??? I can treat you with disrespect, show you disrespect, be treated disrespectfully....it's an adverb. Not a verb. To say that you're disrespecting me is nonsense.

So, now that I have that off my chest....what are your pet peeves? What language mixups drive you crazy?


Anonymous DBF said...

Amen to all of your peeves. Let me add to your list "importantly", a word misused more often than not. The word most people mean is "important". Example: "More important, we must strive for accuracy." The correct use of "importantly" is to mean with a sense of importance, as in: "The President walked importantly toward the lectern." This error is everywhere. We could also dissect the distinctions between anxious and eager, or imply and infer, but that way lies madness....(Which, come to think of it, could explain so much.)

9:23 AM  
Anonymous SusanV said...

What language mixups make me crazy?? Where do I even START?!?

1. "Myriad" is an adjective. You have "myriad options" NOT "a myriad of options." The latter is like saying "a green of grass."

2. Only countries have "citizens," states, counties, cities, etc. have "residents." So when some politician stands up there bloviating about the "fine citizens of Suchandsuch County," ask yourself -- do you carry a COUNTY passport?

3. "Utilize" is not an acceptable alternative for "use." If you "utilize" something, you put it to something other than its intended use. For example, if you are locked in grammar jail (it exists in my fantasy world), and you dig out of your cell with a spoon (rather than the preferred shovel), you have "utilized" the spoon. If you use a shovel, you "use" a shovel.

4. "Its" and "it's." Not the same. Learn the difference. "It's" means "it is," NOT "belonging to "it."

5. While I'm on apostrophes.... oh dear, I'd better get my own blog on this one. They have a specific purpose, and it is NOT to make a singular item plural. True story -- the community college has a tutoring center that has "walk-in's welcome." I just hope they're not tutoring these poor kids in the finer points of punctuation. Check out the Apostrophe Protection Society at http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk/.

MB - I suspect you knew this rant would set me off as well. ;)

9:31 AM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Apostrophes? I didn't even head down that path. Another pet peeve is "your" instead of "you're." Drives me absolutely nuts. And not infrequently, this mistake is made by people who are educated and should know better.

And then there's the there/their/they're problem.

It's never-ending.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous SailorAlphaCentauri said...

Another word that I'm sick of hearing and reading is "anyways". The word is "anyway", but people use the former constantly.

Also, the misuse of to, two, and too has driven me crazy!

12:23 PM  
Blogger rubybeth said...

Pet peeve of mine: incorrect usage of the word "hopefully." As in, "hopefully, this will get done on time!" when what the person means is "I hope this will get done on time!" Ugh. And your pet peeve with the use of "literally" makes me think you need to hear David Cross's rant on the same topic on his comedy album, "Shut Up You Fucking Baby." Inappropriate language most certainly involved, but hilarious.

9:08 PM  
Blogger parkdalian said...

At the risk of being a quibbler I feel I must point out that orientated is indeed a word.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Hmmm. I stand corrected. I check with Oxford at AskOxford.com:

Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the correct spelling: 'oriented' or 'orientated'?

It really doesn't matter: it's a matter of personal taste. Orientated is currently preferred use in general British use. Oriented is prevalent in technical use, and in the US.

I guess you can consider me a true American. :)

10:19 AM  

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