Archive for the 'Pet Peeves' Category
Here’s my second official rant
As in: She sidled past the group Joe was talking to.
I read a lot, at least two books a week, and I see this horror in almost every tome I open. What is with today’s writers? And our educators? Doesn’t anyone teach proper English usage anymore? The worst part of it – after the fact that the writer hasn’t actually learned his or her craft – is that we’ve become so used to seeing and hearing this egregious usage, it feels right. It sounds right. We no longer see it as a total grammatical snafu. And writing (or saying) it properly sounds awkward and wrong: She sidled past the group to whom Joe was talking. No one talks like that anymore; we’re way too indolent.
I think this whole thing started because people were too lazy to figure out the whole who-whom thing. So they simply did an end run around it by sticking the preposition at the end of the sentence. I ask you, how much intelligence does this show? How many English classes did someone have to skip before this brilliant epiphany struck? Let me state this clearly: Two wrongs do not make a right, no matter how many people take up the preposition-at-the-end chant.
Okay, I can hear you saying, “Yeah, but if we start writing it right, readers will say, ‘Huh?’ We’ll confuse the heck out of them. They’ll hate it. They’ll hate us and our writing.” Well, I could say, “So what?” But I won’t. As much as I hate to admit it, you would have a valid point – valid in our lazy-daisy, instant gratification, you-expect-me-to-actually-think? society. (Which doesn’t at all make it a truly valid point, but at least it’s worth a line or two of ink.)
But following the incredibly dumb madding crowd isn’t the answer. Trading your principles (I’m assuming we all have some, right?) for readership isn’t, either. But a little creativity is. Some judicious re-phrasing – She saw Joe talking to the group of investors. She sidled past them, hoping they wouldn’t see her. – and you have depth and interest and mystery instead of an addlepated, grammatically incorrect sentence.
So, no more laziness. No more bowing to dumber-than-a-doornail convention. You can write it right and still please your audience. Still be read. Still be lauded. And even maybe get paid for good writing! And I’m still waiting to hear your writing peeves. Email them to me: firstname.lastname@example.org and spout off!No comments
Official Pet Peeves (OPP)
By: The Official Self-Appointed Pet Peeve Judge
(and no, you can’t have my job!)
My First Official Pet Peeve
TRY AND: as in, “He will try and make it to the meeting on time.”
Okay, this one tops my list. I see red whenever I encounter it. My blood pressure rises. I have trouble breathing. Smoke shoots out my ears.
An overreaction? I don’t think so. This is an egregious error. As writers, we have the responsibility to know our own language. And we should be smart enough to use it properly, especially if we can figure out how to use today’s technology to crank out our … opuses? Opi? Well, you get my drift. It’s not like the old days when anyone with a pencil sharpener could jot down a few hundred thousand words or so. I mean, if we can figure out not only how to open the box the computer comes in (let’s not even discuss the printer and other indispensable adjuncts!), but also to get the computer out of the maze in which it nestles, and then hook it up sans directions of any kind (except for maybe a confusing picture or two, or a bewildering sentence written by someone who’s never heard of English before), we should be able to write a grammatically correct sentence.
Let me make this clear: try and is not only ungrammatical, it’s illogical. By its very nature it’s impossible to try and do anything. You either try to do it (and thereby succeed or fail) or you simply go ahead and do it. No “try and” about it. I suppose, to be fair, if it’s used as part of dialog, I’d be willing to overlook it once or twice. People do have a tendency to be sloppy about grammar and verb conjugations, et al, when they talk. But within the body of the prose? No. Never. Those guilty of such trespass on erudite sensibilities will be sentenced to an eternity of nails-screeching-on-blackboard torture. Therefore, remember: it’s “try to” or “do” only, never “try and.”
So, now it’s your turn. What are your pet peeves? What, in the world of writing, makes you see red, raises your blood pressure, makes steam come out your ears? I may be self-appointed but I’m not greedy – I’ll share space with anyone whose peeve measures up. What, tell you the criteria that makes a peeve “official”? Oh, I’d never make it that easy for you.
So, unless you want to continue hearing my pet peeve rants (and I’ve got a thousand of them), email me your entries at: email@example.com comments