Monday, February 17, 2020

Pet peeves

In no particular order, but I will number them for easy reference in the comments:

1. People who add a syllable to mischievous so that it rhymes with devious (saying mis-CHEE-vee-us when it should be MIS-chiv-us).

2. People who say a-PLIK-able instead of APP-luh-kuh-bul.

3. People who say ir-re-VOKE-able instead of ir-REV-uh-kuh-bul.

4. Big-bellied men whose big bellies stick out over their pants and belt.

(Note to Britishers: On this side of the pond pants means trousers. Note to Americans: Britishers think pants means underpants. General note to everyone: Australians say skivvies, at least my stepmother's friend Big Dorothy did 60 years ago. I don't know what Australians say now. Maybe back then they had heard American sailors say skivvies during and after the second World War, as in "Baby, I'll show you a good time if you slip off them skivvies. Here, have some nylons". My dad, who grew up in Iowa and also served in the U.S. Navy, said skivvies, but as far as I know he was never in Australia.)

If all hearts and minds are now clear, I will continue.

5. People who leave their dog's poop on the sidewalk.

6. Drivers who follow too closely.

7. People who talk out loud in theaters (British, theatres).

8. Drivers who, when the lanes ahead are merging, rush past everyone and try to break in line near the front.

9. Drivers who proceed out of turn at a four-way stop sign.

10. People who pronounce the silent L in palm and salmon and almond.

11. People who turn plurals into possessives by inserting an apostrophe where it doesn't belong.

I'm sure I'll think of others.

Britishers say DEB-ree and Americans say duh-BREE, but that doesn't bother me. Neither does luh-BOR-uh-tree for LAB-ruh-tory.

One guy I used to work with said pacific instead of specific, but he was a doofus who was only mildly irritating.

People who do not put the subject of a gerund in the possessive case are borderline, but I forgive them because they probably know not what they do. I give them a pass as well.

There was a girl in my class growing up back in Texas who said Gal-VES-ton intead of GAL-ves-ton and Miz-riz instead of Missus (although there is historical precedent for Miz-riz because Mrs. is short for Mistress), but she was the prettiest girl in the class, with dark hair and eyes, and all the boys drooled over her, so she gets a pass. She was an only child and inherited her family's land and married well to boot and became hands down the wealthiest member of our graduating class. I haven't thought about her for years until this post.

What are some of your pet peeves? Do not say its/it's, their/there/they're, or your/you're as they have been overdone. Grammar in general is discouraged.

P.S. - Misuse of who and whom drive me crazy, although I never correct anyone, ever. I may devote a whole post to the use of who and whom. Then again, I may not.


  1. Among my pet peeves are:
    2. People who say APP-luh-kuh-bul instead of a-PLIK-able.
    3. People who say ir-REV-uh-kuh-bul instead of ir-re-VOKE-able.

    1. Tasker Dunham, I think you are just trying to get a rise out of me, pulling my leg, as it were. If you are not and are serious, and an Englishman to boot, you are more to be pitied than censured. Down deep I think your comment is an example of Yorkshire humour, but I could be wrong, of course. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

  2. Extra apostrophes bug me, as in Berries' for sale. The cat looked at it's kitten. Room's for rent. On another subject, I like the poem on your sidebar, Song for Lost Youth.

    1. Terra, I agree wholeheartedly on the subject of apostrophes. And I'm glad you like the poem in my sidebar; I like it too, which is why I put it there (with the poet's permission, of course) several years ago. In case you don't know, Neil Theasby (the poet) is none other than our blogger friend Yorkshire Pudding whose (not who's) blog can be reached by typing:

  3. I'll agree with your pet peeves although the newer dictionaries say it is permissible to pronounce the silent L in palm and almond. I know my grammar has suffered with age and I probably need a refresher course.

    One of my pet peeves is drivers that change lanes or turn without using their turn signal.

    1. Bonnie, my car beeps at me if I unintentionally drift out of my lane or change lanes on purpose without using the turn signal. When I activate the turn signal, the beeping stops. It is almost as amazing as the camera that displays what is behind the car if I put the gear shift into Reverse.

  4. Who and whom is a tough one because I don't think there was much emphasis on it when it was taught.

    1. Red, my old teacher, D.P. Morris, placed a great deal of emphasis on it, which is probably why I am so aware of its misuse. The thing that trips most people up is what to do when the object of a preposition happens to be a subordinate clause. Example: "Give the book to whomever you wish" is correct but "Give the book to whomever is going to the library" is not. I would say more, but I see your eyes glazing over.

  5. My pet peeve is bloggers who list their pet peeves.

    Only kidding... Three of my pet peeves are:-
    1) Errors regarding the use of "stood" and "standing".
    2) Errors regarding the use of "sat" and "sitting".
    3) Anything spoken, written, signalled, created or sung by either D.Trump or B.Johnson.

    1. Yorkshire Pudding, your first sentence is an example of the Yorkshire humour I mentioned to Tasker Dunham above. Also, a fairly new reader, Terra in Santa Cruz, California, liked your poem "Song for Lost Youth" in my sidebar. I gave her your blog address.

  6. I agree with many of your pet peeves although I am guilty of # 3. I also sometimes say britches instead of pants or trousers.
    My pet peeve is food blogs. I was searching for a new recipe, and I had to scroll past a dozen pictures and the blogger's life history before I could get to the recipe.

    1. Kathy, at least you don't say pantaloons. About food blogs and other frustrations, Roseanne Rosannadanna (Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live) would surely say, "It's always something."

  7. I read the title and I was anticipating a post about pets. Cats, dogs, monkeys, jaguars and whatever passes for pets in the eyes of their owners and their various shortcomings.
    Not a total disappointment because you touched on the subject in item 5.
    As for the pronunciation of the word applicable, I will remain on your peeve list forever.

    1. Alphie Soup, I could learn nothing about you by going to your blog profile so I started reading your posts, which I have been enjoying. After about four posts I learned that you are in Australia. I kept on reading, but I don't know yet if you are male or female, married or single, young or old. I only know that I am enjoying reading your blog even if you are unrepentant.

  8. Because of my schooling I speak with what is generally referred to as received pronunciation. I cannot help it and I have absolutely no ability to mimic any other accent consistently. It has been the bane of my life in some respects because people automatically think that I am 'posh' and from the South of England. I am emphatically neither.

    I would peeve you big time with 1, 2 and 3.

    I agree wholeheartedly with 4.

    On the other hand I get peeved by people who assume that the British are unaware that Americans speak a foreign language a good deal of the time. Having said that a good deal of your 'foreign' is often olde English which you have kept and we have changed. I think Trash Can for Waste Paper Basket falls into that category.

    I'm with you on 5 to 11 although 9 does not apply in the UK.

    I think I obey the gerund rule most of the time but I suspect nowadays only 1 in 1000 people in the UK knows what a gerund is.

    I'm surprised that you assert that "Grammar in general is discouraged."

    When you are writing you post on who and whom please include a paragraph on which is correct "I am he who I am" or "I am he whom I am."

    Please have a nice day. Oh yes. That's one of my pet peeves.

    1. Graham Edwards, pet peeves 1, 2, and 3 are really more "heads up" moments for me than true peeves. I always notice them but I am not truly peeved. I overstated their importance.

      When I said "Grammar in general is discouraged" I did not mean that grammar in general is discouraged. Grammar, especially correct grammar, should be encouraged. What I was trying to say and not saying very well was that I hoped my readers' pet peeves would not be about the more common grammatical mistakes I cited because writing about those, I think, has been overdone and I wanted to discourage that.

      "I am he who I am" is correct because the only verbs I see are am and am, forms of the verb to be. Therefore, the word after the first am is not a direct object (which would take objective case, him) but a predicate nominative (which takes the nominative case, he) and the "who" after "he" is an appositive which takes the same case (nominative, who). One reason "I am he whom I am" is not correct is that the cases disagree (he is nominative and whom is objective) and it is never right to say "I am him" or "It's me" or any number of other examples I could give. Many Americans have great trouble with case, saying "Him and me went to the store" or "The house belongs to she and I" -- so "I am he whom I am" may sound right to some but it is not. When I get started it is hard to stop myself but I will. Now.

      You have a nice day too.

    2. Paragraph 2. I did understand but just felt a wee bitty pedantic or something.

      Thank you for your treatise on the who versus whom question. I could not have put it as loquaciously if I had tried. I'm glad that you agree with me by the way. (See my blog profile.)

  9. I'm not sure what words are commonly used in Australia when referring to trousers. I might say pants or trousers, older ladies (actually very old ladies) wear "slacks"

    Sometimes people laugh at my use of "pants" because they think it means underwear and it might mean underwear but I'm more likely to say undies for that (to the hilarity of many)

    Skivvies are a turtle neck style shirt mostly worn by very young children and I dont think I have ever heard the word used any other way, even by quite old people.

    I dont know what my pet peeves are until I run into them

  10. kylie, a turtle neck style shirt mostly worn by very young children??? No, no, a thousand times no. Maybe it has evolved into that in Oz, but when I google "skivvies" several sites for buying men's underwear appear. Also, our Merriam-Webster Dictionary (which has been around since 1828 or something) says "skivvies - US, informal, underwear" -- granted, it doesn't mention Australia, so maybe my stepmother's friend Big Dorothy picked it up from an American, I don't know. I always thought it came with her from Australia. Years ago, ladies undies were referred to as "unmentionables".

    My mother also said "slacks" when they were all the rage.

  11. When I was a child, many years ago, most people around here pronounced almond without the l, but I haven’t heard it like that for a long time. Salmon I agree with, but how do you pronounce palm without the l?
    Sarah in dry California where we have lots of palm trees

    1. sb (Sarah), palm without the L is pronounced "pom" as in pom-pom or pomeranian, just as calm without the L is pronounced "com" as in or complicated.

      I never realized how many words in English contain a silent L -- palm, calm, balm, balk, talk, walk, caulk, chalk, could, would, should, calf, half, calve, halve, salve, folk -- and there are others.

  12. Per #1, I had a college-level Bible teacher who said fornification. It's not a pet-peeve but an outright hatred that I hold for people who go about their daily lives obviously sick with colds.

  13. Snowbrush, your college-level Bible teacher friend was undoubtedly influenced by the word fortification, a noun based on the verb fortify. But he apparently forgot that people don't fornify, they fornicate. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.