The Hammock Team shares some of our grammar pet peeves
You’ll often find us walking up and down the halls with a red pen tucked behind an ear, resting in a shirt pocket or in-hand, always ready to lend a scribble or two to the editing process for our magazines and newsletters.
Though all of our publications have their own style guides, which help us answer specific questions as they come up, bad grammar is just bad grammar. Here are a few examples that really put us over the edge:
Lena: My big pet peeves are compliment/complement and reigns/reins. Under way is a big one, too. They don’t elicit curse words or anything when I see them being misused, I just laugh to myself—and then correct them.
Bill: Confusing, misusing nominative and objective pronouns. Example: Tom gave the ball to Joe and I (he, she, we). Of course it should be: Tom gave the ball to Joe and me (him, her, us).
Steve: Contractions in written pieces. Why not just write it out?
Emily: “It’s” and “its” drives me crazy. I can’t stand it to see plural and possessive cases mixed up! Thanks to the age of texting, that seems to be more common these days. Also, dangling prepositions irritate me; I immediately have a compulsion to try to correct them. But if you really want to get me annoyed, make me read a sentence with a misplaced modifier. My brain always tries to make sense of it—until I realize the grammar error—and then it just makes me mad that I spent a nanosecond trying to figure out the meaning when the sentence was poorly constructed in the first place.
John: My pet peeves include: passive verbs, the use of a fictional word, towards.
Lisa: I don’t like it when people use the word “enthused.” I also think it is awful to have a preposition at the end of a sentence.
Jamie: I silently scream when people say, “Where are you at?” Seriously, ending a sentence with the proposition “at” is akin to stabbing me in the ear. Save yourself a bit of breath and just drop the “at,” pretty please.
Unnecessary quotations (Joe’s “BBQ” Shack) and misplaced possessives (no customer’s allowed) are other grammar peeves that make me want to get out the Sharpie and go to town!
Although it appears as if I will silently judge, I will never, ever correct someone on his or her spoken grammar (unless asked). That’s just rude. Plus, I never know when I might slip and throw in my own grammar boo-boo.
Megan M.: I am pretty judgmental when it comes to people—businesses especially—using poor grammar, but my No. 1 pet peeve is when folks use apostrophes incorrectly. I don’t care who you are, you should know to write “I have four cats waiting at home” instead of “I have four cat’s waiting at home.”
Coming in at a close second is incorrect (and totally random) capitalization. I don’t mind so much if someone forgets to capitalize a country or a language, but I can’t tell you how many random words I see capitalized on a daily basis, most of the time on my Facebook friends’ status updates. For example, instead of seeing “Megan doesn’t understand why her friends make so many odd grammar mistakes,” I’ll see something like “Megan doesn’t Understand why her Friends make so Many odd grammar mistakes.”