March 13, 2012 7 Comments
It’s Let’s Blog Off Day, a bi-weekly event in which bloggers post essays on a predetermined topic. It’s possible that when I saw today’s topic, What’s your grammar pet peeve?, I rubbed my hands together, like Snidely over there. (There also may have been some gleeful cackling, but I admit to nothing.) Before I go on, a caveat: I can’t think of grammar aggravations without running smack into punctuation and usage. Love and marriage, soup and sandwich, blah, blah, blah, etc. Here we go:
1. Use of “literally” as an intensifier
Chances are my head did not literally explode. Perhaps I only felt as if it did when I heard someone say, “I literally ran out of cereal this morning.” I’ve no doubt that person did run out of cereal this morning, but “literally” implies a world in which one might only figuratively run out of cereal. Here’s another one: “I was literally crying.” As opposed to what? Some sort of virtual crying? Pretend crying while making air quotes? Either you were crying, or you weren’t. “I literally have to have that.” “It was literally huge.” “He literally looked terrible.” “Literally” has become the Monsanto of speech and must be stopped.
2. Comma before “however”
“We’re here to serve you, however there may be a long wait.”
I’ll take that with a side of semi-colon, please. (There is this exception to no-comma-before-however, however.)
3. Mistaking “regime” for “regimen”
If I were the head of a regime, I would put all citizens on a daily regimen of vocabulary study.
4. Of Abuse
Poor “of,” overused and abused, gets a special entry. Wantonly, callously inserted where it doesn’t belong, “of” pushes out “have” when all it wants to do is what it was meant to do. End “of” abuse!
A) “Not that big of a deal”
Inserting “of” where it doesn’t belong is that big a deal.
B) “I wish I would of” or “If I could of”
• Peeve the first: It’s would (or could or should) have, do you hear me? Would. Should. Could. HAVE. As in, “my head would have exploded.”
• Peeve the second: Not only is it not “would of” or “could of,” it’s not even “I wish I would have,” or “If I could have.” It’s “I wish I had,” or “If I had.” HAD! HAD!! I WISH I HAD!! IF I HAD!! HAAAAAD!!!!!
There. I feel a lot better now.
Full Disclosure Footnote
In preparing this post I learned that it is not exactly incorrect to use “myriad” as a noun. I don’t mind admitting I’m wrong about something, but this is a bitter pill, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never get used to accepting a myriad of myriads used as nouns.