My five pet writing peeves may not be identical to your own top 5–but I think you’ll agree that they are “peeve-worthy.”
- People that need people. No, no, no. For once, a song lyric has the grammar right: people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. However, people that need people are probably robots. “That” is appropriate for a thing. “Who” is the only word appropriate for people.
- Entitlement. If I could ban one word, I would ban entitlement. It has become so warped in meaning that people use it as a generalized insult. “Kids today, they feel so entitled.” Entitled to what? Food, clothing, education, muscle cars–what?
- Rampant semicolons. I’m not sure when everyone decided that semicolons are the same as commas, but I’m here to assure you that they aren’t. Try a comma first.
- Electronic online grammar checkers. They are useless. They are worse than useless because they are generally 100% wrong and yet people believe them.
- i.e., e.g., and etc. No one speaks Latin anymore, which hasn’t stopped us from using it. “Id est” (i.e.) means “that is” or “to clarify what I said previously” while “exempli gratia” (e.g.) means “for example.” They are not interchangeable. “Et cetera” (etc.) means “and other things” or “and so on.” Do not use “and etc.”; it translates to “and and so on.” Please note the use of periods.
I remember when my pet peeve was the use of “data” (many pieces of information) to mean “datum” (one piece of information). Boy, did I lose that battle. So maybe there’s no hope to reverse the trends indicated by my pet peeves.
Do you have a pet writing peeve? I’d enjoy hearing about it. Maybe it will make my top 5 next year!
For clear, concise, accurate, writing with passion, contact Sharon at TWP Marketing & Technical Communications.