Do my pet peeves make me sound petty?

Posted: 8 October, 2012 in Uncategorized

I just revisited one of my favourite books, “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynn Truss. While laughing to myself about her “urge to perpetrate an act of criminal damage with the aid of a permanent marker” whenever she sees a misplaced comma or apostrophe, I realised I’ve collected a few pet peeves myself over the years.

Although I’m usually able to bite my tongue when these crop up, I can understand the author’s need to vent the frustrations of her “inner stickler”. There are only so many times I can hear someone use the word “literally” before wanting to rip out their tongue and beat them to death with it (not literally, of course).

Or what about answering a question with the question, “Honestly?”

Example:                “How do you rate Mark’s chances of winning this year?”
                              “Honestly? I think he has a good chance.”

What’s the point of asking a question you wouldn’t want an honest answer to? Are there people out there who, when asking “Honestly?”, expect you to say, “No, I don’t want you to answer honestly. Please, lie to me. I love it.”

Another one that gets me is people writing “G-d” or “g-d” instead of “God” or “god”. What is that about? I could understand if it was a precaution against causing offence when using God’s name but not wanting to write the word god? I just don’t get it.

And don’t even get me started on people who don’t know how to use apostrophes. It’s not uncommon to see ads for “book’s” and “DVD’s” for sale. Don’t these people proofread their work?

What about people who don’t know the difference between to and too? I’ve known university graduates who still can’t get this one right and it drives me crazy.

In the age of spell check and SMS shorthand people aren’t as fastidious about their grammatical correctness as they were ten years ago, and I understand everyone makes mistakes, but I don’t see these as mistakes. They are very deliberate attempts to drive me crazy. And, obviously, they’re working.

I also understand that I commit some unforgivable (to some) grammatical gaffes, like starting sentences with “And”, which was once frowned upon (and probably still is in some circles). And I apologise sincerely to the person who wants to jam my keyboard down my throat for doing this.

We all have our pet peeves when it comes to syntax, spelling and style. I try (I really do try) to take in the message, not the mistakes, when I’m reading because I know these errors are often made out of habit or ignorance and I need to learn to be more understanding – if only because I need others to be as forgiving with my blunders.  🙂

  1. ericjbaker says:

    No, your pet peeves make you sound COOL. But then, I am biased toward word nerds.

    Look. I just started a sentence with “but.”

  2. Gavin How says:

    This is one of those comments that is added to instil even more humor into a very funny post. One of my pet dislikes are smiley faces at the end of a post. The content of the post however is absolutely first class and very well written. I’ll be back for more! ; )

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