My Head Exploded. Literally!

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.

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Annoying Footnote
And now I have to ask it, much as it pains me. Who’s worse: the person who talks sorta wrong, or the know-it-all? Hmmmm. . .

7 Responses to My Head Exploded. Literally!

  1. Paul Anater says:

    Brava! The misuse of literally makes me crazy too. You are not alone.

    • I think it comes from our overuse of hyperbole that people feel now they need to say “literally crying.” I suppose before they’d been caught not crying when they said they were.


  2. Angel says:

    This this this this THIS! You hit a couple of my biggest, hairiest grammar/usage peeves. So glad I’m not alone!

  3. @dogwalkblog says:

    What about premiere as in the premiere performance of the artist? How redundant again. Isn’t a premiere a premier event. Literally.

  4. Joe Freenor says:

    Well, as Paul and I were commenting on his Blog Off entry, you make no friends when you correct people’s grammar. I think the only people who were more steamed at me were the doctors when I told them they had clearly misdiagnosed certain medical problems on a couple of occasions. Man, those guys really don’t people telling them how to do their jobs! And when people make a hash of grammar, I have long since learned to look the other way.

  5. L says:

    Ah, yes, “literally!” Do we have some of the same friends on facebook?

    Great post! I love your clever replies.

  6. patz1 says:

    Oh, music to my ears! I so hate “would of”, etc.

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