Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Language Rules I Hate

Word I Hate*: Persons. Just say people, ok? I don't care that there's a slightly different usage. 'People' usually does the trick. Use it.

Rule I Hate: To not split infinitives. Splitting's more natural.

What word do you hate?
What grammar rule?
Up with what sort of errant pedantry will you not put?

*Hate is so far beyond the mild annoyance I actually have for these things, but it's more fun to pretend one hates things for conversation. Feel free to scream away about your hated grammar points.


pjd said...

That's it. You want to step outside? You infinitive wrecker, you.

Word I hate: Actually, there are lots since I work in a world of buzzwords. But the one that comes to mind is "moneys." I work in a bank, which means sometimes people talk about moneys. Holding the moneys in a trust account. Moving the moneys to a different account. Makes me think of Gollum. We wishes we had moneys to buy those eggses from those persons.

I don't hate any grammar rules, though I often ignore many of them (including, though it pains me when I do, the split infinitive rule). Ending a sentence with a preposition. Beginning a sentence with a conjunction.

I agree that communication is the goal, but I often find that if I try to obey the rules, I can find a better, clearer way to say what I mean by rearranging things.

Precie said...

Ooh. Overall, I'm a grammar snob. Which is ironic because I tend to be flexible about grammar when writing fiction. Fragments? Beginning with a conjunction? Sure! But only because I'm using those things to specific effect. Because I know the rules and know I'm breaking them deliberately.

A friend pointed out to me that the split infinitive thing was established by stuffy Victorians attempting to apply obsolete Latin language rules and structures to English.

But I don't think there are any grammar rules I dislike. Instead, I have many, many, many grammar pet peeves that people should NOT do. (Using 's for simple pluralization, for example. Kills me.)

And thanks, pjd, for that most excellent Gollum impression. I'll be thinking that all darn day.

Ello said...

Persons of interest needs moneys for using's in funnest ways and means.

Now that I know you hate it, I shall use persons often. Oh that is ofTen not ofhen! He he

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

I am not sure this is technically grammar, but I hate putting ending punctuation inside of quotes, even when the rules say you should. I also hate not capitalizing some words in the title of my legal documents, as in "Motion and Order for a Rehearing." See, both my pet peeves at once!

fairyhedgehog said...

Word I hate: leverage used as a verb. Mainly because I have absolutely no idea what it means.

Rule I hate: not starting a sentence with a conjunction. Because I always do.

Not that it's a clearer or better way of writing it's just a bad habit I've got.

Emily B said...

I think I have stronger feelings about words than grammar rules.

Words I hate:

Ooh, once I started the list with that, the rest of 'em didn't seem so bad!

writtenwyrdd said...

Isn't it "monies" Peter? *ducks and runs*

Seeing as English grammar rules were pasted together rather arbitrarily by the guys who wrote them down and tried to shove them down everyone's throat, I figure that they aren't inflexible. Little about our language is frozen in time in actual usage, just on the page. And even then the language evolves. The debate is louder, though! :0

What rules I hate include the ones about splitting infinitives, dangling modifiers and ending sentences with prepositions. Because sometimes (frequently) it makes more sense to break all of those rules. I'm with you, paca: if it makes more sense to break the damned rule, then break away!

What rule I hate the most to see broken is failure to use paired commas around parenthetical clauses, phrases, whatevers. Skip them both, fine. But don't use just one!! I hate that!!

ChrisEldin said...

Here Here on the split infinitive! "To boldly go where no man has gone before" just would not be the same....

I hate the word "ain't" especially when coupled with "got"

OOOO! A bakery truck in our neighborhood continues to bother me. "Fresh Baked Bread" I want to grafitti the 'ly' on there.

writtenwyrdd said...

Actually, I believe "fresh baked bread" is correct. It's an adjective here, modifying bread; whereas with "the bread was freshly baked" is actually is an adverb and should take the adverbial ending of -ly. But I could be wrong. I'm a bit rusty.

ChrisEldin said...

WW, Since you picked on a pet peeve I've had for two decades, I couldn't let your analysis go by without further debate.


Fresh, Baked Bread


writtenwyrdd said...

Actually, chris, check your usage books. Omitting commas for two and sometimes three adjectives is considered okay and even more appropriate than using them in many cases. Clarity trumps all in that arena, though. So just do what makes it clear. If you feel it isn't clear, use the comma! :)