5 Pet Writing Peeves

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.”

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. Electronic online grammar checkers. They are useless. They are worse than useless because they are generally 100% wrong and yet people believe them.
  5. 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.