Let's have a pet language peeves thread!

“I had less apples than him.” “There were less people there.” Fewer. Fewer. FEWER, NOT LESS.

And you can’t unquote something. End quote requires only two more keystrokes and no time machine at all.

I’m aware that language is alive and changes all the time, and that’s cool, but I don’t have to be down with every hep new* construculation, gorram it.

*I know, I know, both older than dirt, I know.

I’ve noticed that the Express Checkout Lanes at Target read: “10 or fewer items” while their Walmart counterparts read: “10 or less items”

It drives me crazy.

Around these parts, people often say “shoulda went” or “woulda did.” This aberration can fall out of the mouths of anyone from the highly-educated local politician or the under-educated farm hand.

My husband is trying to get over his habit of saying it. He’s caught himself more and more often and corrected it, but it’s such an ingrained habit, he does it without a second thought most of the time.

Finally, after much aggravation on his part, I told him not to worry about it so much; everyone says it like that. No one will notice.

:frowning: Poor guy.

French. It just ticks me off that those french guys can say ANYTHING and it sounds sexy. Why can’t english be like that?

Oh, that’s not the sort of peeve you meant. Carry on. :slight_smile:

People (including our President) who say “noo-kuh-ler” instead of “noo-clee-er”.

People who say “amblience” instead of Ambulence, or “kindy-garten” instead of “kinder-garten”, or “warsh” instead of “wash”.

OH my gosh…the less/fewer one annoys me, too!

Probably my most hated one is using “I” where “me” is correct…“Please make a sandwich for Bob and I.” ARRRRGH! I think the thing that bugs me about it is that it isn’t usually just a mistake or sloppiness; somehow people have it in their head that it is more refined/correct to use “I” in that situation. Even when I have demonstrated to people that using “me” is correct, they cling to the other way because, as one person said to me, "It makes you sound like a hillbilly…“me and Bob went to the store.” OK…if you can’t tell the difference between the various parts of a sentence, then I guess there is no hope of converting you!

“Should of” or “would of” instead of “should have” and “would have.” Not so bad in speech, but it drives me nuts when written that way.

So, why is it people put “quote” and “unquote” right after one another, as in:

…and I said to them quote, unquote, “you better not come back here again.”

Shouldn’t it be:

…and I said to them quote “you better not come back here again” unquote.

I mean I hear this all the time and it drives me nuts.


…as in:

“Where’re you at?” should be “Where are you?”
“Where did you shop at?” should be “Where did you shop?”
“Where’s that restaurant at?” should be “Where’s that restaurant?”
“Where’d you go to school at?” should be “Where did you go to school?”
Just leave the “at” off! Geez! Why does that sound correct to people?

Of course, it doesn’t help when a certain cell phone company’s catchy slogan is:

“Where you at?”

My language pet peeves:

  1. People who believe that people who use regionalisms or unstandard dialects are necessarily less smart or less educated than people who hew closer to a standard English dialect.

  2. People who think the English language is somehow going to wither away or be permanently damaged if they don’t defend it.

  3. People who don’t know the difference between grammar, punctuation, and spelling when pointing out other people’s errors.

No, I haven’t seen them in this thread, but I’m an editor, so I’ve gotten in plenty of arguments with other people about these things.

This one is huge for me as well. It’s just bigotry with a (foul) pedigree. Alongside it is the assumption that people whose technology level is/was not as advanced as ours aren’t/weren’t just as smart as we are, but that’s another thread.

I shrivel and die when one of my co-workers says “Then Jim come over and we went hunting.” It’s “came over” dammit.

or “I just seen them last week.” Aaaaauuuuuuuuuuuugh!!!

or “He don’t care” Come on people, you have a fucking college degree!!!

or “Can you pass me one of them cookies.” ::::faint::::

Things like “warsh” instead of “wash” don’t bother me. That’s a dialect thing. I love the variety of dialects we have in this country. (U.S.)

Irregardless. I know that one shows up here on the boards a lot, but it’s one that drives me crazy.

Also “pitcher” for “picture”. I had a former coworker who would say it like that, and it annoyed me very much! I know it’s somewhat like the “warsh”/“wash” dialect thing, but it’s still one that grates in my ears.

I have a friend that always says “idear” for “idea”. Again, a dialect thing, I suppose, but I still tease her about it. Especially because once, back in grade 9 or so, she actually WROTE it that way in a note to me!

Apostrophe esses used as plural markers drive me batty. I can understand when you’re using acronymns, abbreviations, or single letters, but for regular words? Reeks of ignorance.

Confusing its and it’s, or your and you’re. Just plain sloppy.

And sentence fragments. Hate 'em. :wink:


“When he brung that check over…”

Managerese. Any time some twit wants to sound pretentious they add a -tion suffix onto some verb to make a noun of it.

Giving us such idiocies as “analyzation.” Cite.

What’s wrong with the using “analysis,” ya twit?


Drat, I came in her to say “the piling of verbs on top of one another in Dutch and also the word order thing”.

Never mind.

The words “then” and “than” are not interchangeable. I’ve seen quite a few posts by people who seem to be fairly literate, yet who regularly make statements such as “the whole is greater then the sum of its parts” or “that should be more then enough.” I’d take this as a possible typo, were it not for the fact that the people who do this tend to do it over and over. It’s a little thing, but it bugs the hell outta me.

Them other things you mentioned is “dialect things”, too.

Peeve one: misspelling

Peeve two: people who don’t tolerate dialectal differences, and actually believe that there is one correct dialect and anything that doesn’t jive with it is wrong, stupid, ignorant, etc. Pop grammarians (like Lynn Truss… will somebody just eat, shoot, and leave her already?) are despicable and people who preen themselves because they don’t put prepositions at the ends of sentences, or split infinitives, apparently do so because they have absolutely nothing else going for them.

Looking back over the thread, **Interrobang!? ** pretty much covered these bases already. There is quite definitely a difference between regionalisms and ignorance, and there is yet another difference between the truth about the way the language actually works and the silly schoolmarm myths about the way it is “supposed” to work. It just rubs me the wrong way (as a linguistics Ph.D., who speaks a somewhat maligned dialect) when people get snotty about the wrong things.