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Usage and Diction Pet Peeves


EmCatlyn
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4 minutes ago, FundieFarmer said:

The word exists for things that someone did to themselves. So like, it would be "You cut yourself". Or, "You dressed yourself!" But not, "Business experts such as yourselves." They didn't make themselves business experts. Blechhhhh. 

Reflexive verbs!I DO SO remember some of my grammar lessons! (It's easier in French - that nice little 's' before the verb tells you it is reflexive - no such hint in English!)

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4 hours ago, FundieFarmer said:

The word exists for things that someone did to themselves. So like, it would be "You cut yourself". Or, "You dressed yourself!" But not, "Business experts such as yourselves." They didn't make themselves business experts. Blechhhhh. 

Totally agree that "yourselves" is technically misused in phrases like this one. And it is indeed a frequent error.  However, the error can easily be fixed by separating the two words. "Business experts such as yourselves" is wrong.  "Business experts such as your selves," is not.  

"Yourselves" is a reflexive pronoun, but "your selves" (two words) is a noun, "self," modified by a possessive pronoun ("your").  A parallel phrase would be, "business experts such as your friends."

What is happening here is that two words that shouldn't be joined are being joined.  This is reinforced by idioms that seem parallel but where the single word is accepted such as, "Speak for yourself" and "Think for yourself."

It is a lot like "anyone" and "any one,  or "all together" and "altogether," or similar words.  Depending on your meaning, either can be correct.  

"Is there anyone who agrees with these ideas?" vs "Is there any one idea we can agree on?"

"You are altogether mistaken," vs "You are all, together, mistaken."

"When they were all together they were altogether happy."

English has a fair number of word pairings which, when the words are joined mean one thing that they do not mean apart, and we have the tendency to join words that should be kept separate.

"All ready" is not the same as "already" and "alright" is all wrong, because the only correct form for pedants is "all right" (two words).   :wink-kitty:

The error with "yourselves" is, I believe, part of the same problem.

Edited by EmCatlyn
Insane spell checker again
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On 3/9/2016 at 2:30 AM, laPapessaGiovanna said:

This thread is very informative. Thank you all.

I don't understand this though. Yourself is a reflective pronoun right?  My grammar says that in English reflective pronouns are used when the subject and the object of the sentence are the same (ie "I cut myself with the kitchen knife") or to emphasise that someone did something all by her/himself. In Italian "yourselves" corresponds to "voi stessi" in this case and if I translate your example "Sono molto contento di presentare questo lancio a voi stessi", that "voi stessi" isn't a senseless redundancy but a serious mistake. So I am curious to understand why you consider it an annoying habit instead of an error. I am not saying that it must be an error, I am most assuredly not an expert in English grammar, I only want to understand why it can be accepted.

It is also a dialectical thing. Appalachian dialect uses reflexive pronouns much more frequently and also tends to use them in ways that are not grammatically correct or at least bug the rest of us in terms of syntax. My father and his Appalachian family often use "hisself" rather than "himself", too. 

It is actually kind of fascinating to me how many things that are technically grammatical errors are structures common to dialects and sometimes originated or are related to the syntax or structure of the native languages predominant to the area--even though the speakers have little or no knowledge of the languages their immigrant predecessors spoke. The different ways English developed are fascinating. 

That said...as a former English teacher, I certainly have my list of pet peeves. Many have been mentioned here such as "would of" et al. My biggest ones as a teacher were spelling related. None of my students could spell "lose" it was always "loose" and often, the completely ungrammatical, "loosed". As in "our team loosed in the first round of the tournament". Another odd one was that they all used "begging' in place of the word "beginning". So I would often read in an essay "in the begging of the story...". I could not fix that one no matter how many times I taught a mini lesson on the word "begin" and its proper forms. And at my last school, I swear not a single student had ever been taught how to properly use apostrophes. They did not use them for possessives or contractions and frequently used them to make words plural. The result would be sentences like "Martins dog's wouldnt come in when he called them". 

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1 hour ago, louisa05 said:

I swear not a single student had ever been taught how to properly use apostrophes. They did not use them for possessives or contractions and frequently used them to make words plural.

THIS is what will send me to an early grave.  This offense is worse than nails on a chalkboard IMHO...

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Agree completely with everything posted already (could/should/would "of" is one of my pet peeves).

Supposably instead of supposedly.

It may be a regional thing but we have a subset who say anythink, somethink, nothink. They don't write that way. It's just a pronounciation error. Drives me batty.

 

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

One thing that drives me nuts is when people use "everyday" instead of "every day."

As in, "I go there everyday." No.

"That's an everyday occurrence." Yes!

Also, add me to the list of people who hate the misuse of "myself." I think people think it sounds more formal or something, but it's just wrong. "If you have any questions, talk to myself or so-and-so." I'm sorry, but I can't talk to yourself! Only you can do that.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is another: "Drove up onto the medium."  It is a MEDIAN.  It is the thing with trees and grass that separates traffic flowing in opposite directions.

 

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i got this email at work today:  someone asked about some missed insurance deductions on a couple of her paychecks, so she asked about her "payments in the rears."  

she meant "arrears," and i nearly choked on my diet coke.

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  • 3 months later...

I'm reviving this topic, because we all need to improve are language skills.  Child versus kid and rear versus raise are my pet peeves.  You rear a child, and raise a kid (baby goat).

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I can't stand it when people say "I could care less." That expression makes no sense. It's supposed to be "I couldn't care less." That's not really a grammar issues, but it annoys me anyway. 

I also know someone who says "may you please," instead of "will you please." For example, if she wants me to pass her the salt, instead of saying, "will you please pass the salt," she says, "may you please pass the salt." 

 

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@Maggie Mae, thanks for the article! I still hate "I could care less", but that was really interesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never heard an adult say "spaded" instead of "spayed". Where I come from, the word "fixed" is used to mean spaying or neutering

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Another one is "tow the line."  It's "toe," as in, put your toe on the line.

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I think I've found my people! LOL

You guys have already named many of my pet peeves. But one thing I don't think I've seen mentioned in this thread is when people write "ya'll" instead of "y'all." What would that even mean? Drives me nucking futs!

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I hate the "would of" and "could of" stuff too.

A weird thing that bothers me way too much is when people use "woman" as an adjective. As in, "The woman doctor operated on the boy." If you need to specify gender, please use the designated adjective, "female." I don't know why it bothers me so much; it's not because it's ideologically offensive, the sound just grates on my nerves.

The apostrophes for plurals thing is obnoxious as well; the worst is when people misspell their own last names. I saw a pre-printed Christmas card once that read:

"Merry Christmas from the Smith's!" 

I just stood there in grammar bitch shock for a solid ten seconds.

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I see "the Smith's" all the time and it drives me batty; I saw that once on a fancy wood plaque next to the front door of a house once.  even if they meant that the house was owned by the Smiths, it's wrong (the Smiths' house). 

I also get annoyed with "suppose to," which should be "supposed to."

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My husband sent out Christmas cards from the Ourlastname's one year. :pb_redface:  We had already had a disagreement about the photo and the " 's " was on the picture we had finally agreed upon. It drove me nuts and embarrassed me to send them out like that, but it just wasn't worth extending our argument by that point. Hmm. Maybe he's trying to get me to take over the task of sending out the Christmas cards? :pb_rollseyes:

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@Chickenbutt, every time after I post about proper usage or punctuation I get very self-conscious about my posts for awhile. :my_biggrin:

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On 9/15/2016 at 0:01 AM, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

 

@Chickenbutt, every time after I post about proper usage or punctuation I get very self-conscious about my posts for awhile. :my_biggrin:

If it makes you feel better, I used the wrong "your/you're" in a post making fun of Rodrigues grammar. Karma is a bitch.

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Well, "karma" may be a bitch, but @Karma is certainly not! :pb_lol: (Sorry! I think of her username most times that I see "karma" used in the general sense. Plus, I'm childish. :my_biggrin: )

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Lol, I'm not on this thread so was curious when @WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? mentioned me.   I try not to be a bitch, but it serves me right for not thinking my user name through!  I'll have to have a look back through the pages.  Maybe I've been here ages ago but was too nervous to post in case I didn't tow the line ;) 

Nice to know that you think of me when you see my name, my virtual friend, @WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?:)

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