Cherished Annoyances

A pet peeve is a source of irritation that is almost fun to complain about. Maybe grumbling about the little things in life is a way to release frustration over the bigger issues. Following are some common pet peeves, according to the Internet:

  • Loud cell phone conversations in public
  • Open-mouthed chewing
  • Poor driving etiquette
  • Talking during a movie
  • Cutting in line
  • Snapping gum
  • Double-dipping
  • Dishes in the sink
  • Nail biting
  • Tardiness

Do any of these behaviors or circumstances excite you to impatience or anger? (Or are you, perhaps, a perpetrator?) Judging by my friends’ posts on my Facebook Timeline, I am a person with a lot of pet peeves—all surrounding the improper use of English. Here is a sampling of the items others have shared with me:

ancient grammar police_300  jane_300

dog_250  fruits and vegetables_350

I don’t believe I’m as critical of word-related errors as others assume I am. But I admit to bristling at the occasional linguistic blunder. Over the last few weeks, I paid attention to the verbal gaffes that raised my blood pressure. Here are a few:

Pet peeve: Using “phenomena” as a singular noun.
Incorrect: “The phenomena of global warming is a divisive political issue.”
Correct: “The phenomenon of global warming is a divisive political issue.”

Pet peeve: Not using commas to set off nouns of direct address, especially in conjunction with the word hi. (Even editors I know get this one wrong.)
Incorrect: “Hi Rachel.”
Correct: “Hi, Rachel.”

Pet peeve: Using “track” when “tract” is correct.
Incorrect: “The gastrointestinal track consists of the stomach and the intestines.”
Correct: “The gastrointestinal tract consists of the stomach and the intestines.”

Pet peeve: Using the superlative form of an adjective when comparing two things.
Incorrect: “Between Adele and Rihanna, who is the best singer?”
Correct: “Between Adele and Rihanna, who is the better singer?”

Pet peeve: Using “I” instead of “me” because it sounds correct (but isn’t).
Incorrect: “The waiter was very attentive to Caitlin and I.”
Correct: “The waiter was very attentive to Caitlin and me.”

It can be satisfying to lose our s#*t over an issue of minor importance. We briefly get to play the victim, which confirms our personal innocence. I know I enjoy it.

4 thoughts on “Cherished Annoyances

  1. Joseph Miller

    Those comics are really funny.

    What about mixing up the use of ‘oh’ and ‘O’ ?

    I think ‘oh’ is an emphatic exclamation, and ‘O’ is a particle of direct address. Or something like that.


  2. juliecgardner

    The use of the pronoun I as an object has become so pervasive I sometimes worry people will think I’m wrong when I use ME.

    See also: lay and laying in the present tense of To Lie when it should be LIE or LYING.

    My grammar/punctuation/spelling is not perfect but I’m especially peeved when I KNOW I’m saying/writing something correctly and others believe it’s wrong because their ears have grown used to the mistake. 🙂

    1. karengreenfield Post author

      So true about “I” as an object. It takes a special kind of courage to uphold correct grammar and usage when others might think you’re wrong. Be strong! Then, when you lie down at night, you can have a clear conscience. 😉


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