Beyond PR

Jan 21, 2013

Grammar & Writing Pet Peeves – What Are Yours?

A quick Google search for “grammar pet peeves” dredges up scads of blog posts, online rants and witty images.

And given the increasingly casual usage seen in all manner of e-messages – from texts to emails to posts on social networks – it appears that grammarians will have abundant fodder to critique, bemoan and rail against for years to come.

In addition to the most common crimes against grammar, such as misuse of apostrophes and confusion between your/you’re and their/there/they’re, what are your pet peeves?

As brands churn out ever more content, and as more and more of our employees represent our organizations in social channels, what sort of grammar and writing challenges are surfacing?   We want to see industry jargon gone bad and grammar gone asunder.    We’re building a new list of pet peeves, and we want to know what bugs you.

Author’s note:  We snickered ourselves silly at the grammar-themed buttons, stamps and magnets on FishcakesOBoy Etsy shop, images of which (including links to the products) are embedded in this post.   More hilarity ensues on the shop site.  Any writer, PR pro or teacher will enjoy a quick visit to that site. 

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.






13 Comments on Blog Post Title

Maria Perez 11:37 EST on Jan 21, 2013

I have so many! I guess I’m what you’d call a “grammudgeon.” My biggest pet peeve, though, is when people use apostrophes to pluralize words … or is that “word’s”? 😉

༄3BeautiesPR (@3beautiesPRP) 13:45 EST on Jan 21, 2013

The main ones are confusing “there” with “their” and “they’re”. Word processers sometimes don’t recoginize these errors.

Elizabeth Reed 14:29 EST on Jan 21, 2013

As though they think “me” is a dirty word, people will use “myself” in its place. “If you would like to sign up for the company picnic, please see Mary or myself.” I see this from high-level managers and executives all the time! It drives me insane!

Donald Bates 16:14 EST on Jan 21, 2013

One of my pet peeves is using hyphens instead of dashes to set off phrases for emphasis. Oddly, your website post is correct with dashes but your automated email replaced them with hyphens. Does anyone know if this is what happens to emails that mimic website posts?

Sarah Skerik 16:33 EST on Jan 21, 2013

Hi Donald – I can’t believe the automated email makes that change. I suspect it’s in the conversion program that turns the web text into the email. I’ll post a note to our blog provider’s service people. Thanks for the heads up on that, it’s a peeve of mine too! – S

Sarah Skerik 16:35 EST on Jan 21, 2013

Oh, Elizabeth, I couldn’t agree more. “Myself” can sound so ridiculous. The first person pronoun can be a real problem, though. My personal peeve – when a person starts every sentence with the pronoun “I.” In addition to underscoring simplistic and unimaginative sentence structure, it just makes a writer sound boorish (IMHO!)

Maria Perez 16:41 EST on Jan 21, 2013

Yes! Also: when people confuse “me” and “I” in phrases like, “She gave chocolates to John and me.”

Elizabeth Reed 16:42 EST on Jan 21, 2013

Yes! It makes the writer sound like a 4 year old writing to Santa.

Elizabeth Reed 16:44 EST on Jan 21, 2013

Or “She came over to John and I’s house.” AHHHHHH!!!!

Sarah Skerik 17:10 EST on Jan 21, 2013

I need a Like button for your comments, Elizabeth! 🙂

lauraannbrown 14:50 EST on Jan 22, 2013

I love this post! Right now my biggest peeve is using “of” instead of “have.” So “should have” is becoming “should of.” Ahhhhh, it’s so wrong!

Sarah Skerik 15:23 EST on Jan 22, 2013

Oh, good one Laura! That is an annoying mistake, I agree.

Steve Gosset 17:10 EST on Feb 1, 2013

Since we’re getting peevish…. As someone who was once called the “Grammar Nazi” by a client (a backhanded compliment, if ever there was one), I’ll weigh in on the misuse or non-use of the hyphen. The concept of a compound adjective is so elusive to so many. And, as long as I’m here, still a lot of slip-ups with complementary/complimentary.

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