Things People Say – My 5 Pet Peeves

As a writer, I realize not everyone is an expert on grammar – heck, I often fall foul of grammatical rules in my enthusiasm to say something in a certain way, or to elicit a specific emotion in my reader. There are a few things people say and write however, that drive me crazy, so I thought I’d share them with you. Some are not even grammatically incorrect, they have over time become a North American cultural norm, but still they irk me!

  1. When someone says, “I could care less.” My question to them is, “Ah okay, how much less could you care?” What they really mean is, “I couldn’t care less.”
  2. People often say, “I wish I could get off of this mailing list.” While its usage has become fairly common, I find, “I wish I could get off this mailing list” less grating, and certainly more concise.
  3. Here is something one sees in newspapers, magazines and books all the time, “I said that there should be no flowers on the table” instead of, “I said there should be no flowers on the table.” I have to admit for the longest time I peppered my articles with superfluous “that’s” until a friend edited my work and removed dozens and dozens of them from a single article!
  4. Now, just to show this all about my particular preferences, my next pet peeve is when a superfluous word is missed out. It has become common to say, “I wrote Mike to say he should stop worrying about how people say stuff” but my English upbringing makes me cringe. To me it should be, “I wrote to Mike …”
  5. Lastly, I really hate it when people incorrectly use the words, there, their, and they’re. Let’s look at them:
    • First the easy one; “they’re” means “they are.”
    • “Their” shows possession as in, “It was their table.”
    • And “there” is the opposite of “here” as in “Their table is over there.”

This is not a definitive list and I am sure I say and write things that tick people off, but it does feel good to get it off my chest (not off of my chest).