Sunday, July 28, 2013

17 QotW: What's Your Biggest Grammatical Pet Peeve?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

The other week, while putting the final polish on my manuscript, I discovered I’d used the word “it’s” instead of “its.” Easy enough to change, sure. But I was mortified. Why? This was, perhaps, the twentieth time I’d revised or edited this manuscript, and that grammatical error had been there since the very first draft. To make matters worse, the error was on page two. PAGE TWO! How did I miss it?

As authors, we’re expected to be experts in grammar. We should know the rules of grammar inside and out. Yet we all make grammatical errors sometimes. I’ll admit that I still get confused by lay/lie/laid. I have to look it up every time, and sometimes I’ll reword a sentence to avoid using it.

Question of the Week
July 21, 2013
What are Your Biggest Grammatical Pet Peeves?

What’s your grammatical pet peeve? Which grammatical errors make you cringe every time you see them: messing up there, their, and they’re, or pluralizing with apostrophes? Dangling participles? Inappropriate use of “quotation marks”?

photo credit: <a href="">-mrsraggle-</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

MY ANSWER: For me, it's a tie: using your instead of you’re (ex: Your #1!), and should of instead of should have (ex: I should of called him back). These grammatical errors make me shudder every time I see them.

YOUR TURN: What is your biggest grammatical pet peeve? While you’re at it, ‘fess up: what grammatical errors do you make every time?


  1. I once read a book whose very first word was a grammatical error--it's as the possessive.

    I myself will never accept "gifted" as a grammatically correct word, except when it's being used in its strictly legal meaning. What the heck is wrong with "gave," I ask?

  2. I do my nut around "yeah" and "yah," or "ya" and "yay." Let's not forget to mention "yea."

    Some mean the same, some not.

    I'd like to put some of these where the sun ...

  3. Apostrophes! God, I hate it when people use apostrophes incorrectly. I saw a sign the other day that said "toilet's this way" and nearly had a fit.

  4. So many!!! I think the one that drives me battiest is using 'that' for people instead of 'who' :)

  5. “Less than” when “fewer than” is needed. The Vons near my house gets it wrong in their Express Lane: "15 items or less”; the Stater Bros. gets it right in theirs: “15 items or fewer."

  6. I always have to triple check I don't mistake 'trunk' and 'truck' or 'worse' and 'worst'.

  7. Their and there and they're, its vs it's, your and you're - these all seem like the simplest of rules to me. Now the lay,lie whatever? That's a tough one for me, too.

  8. The thing that annoys me the most is commas/periods inside quotation marks. I realize that in other countries that's the rule, but when it's something produced in the US, it really bothers me.

    I also hate when people say "and I" instead of "and me." There are absolutely some confusing sentences out there, so sometimes I can forgive the mistake. For the most part, though, people are just trying to sound smart, and they end up sounding ridiculous.

    I have to admit, though, that lie/lay/laid/lain confuses me, as well. I also have this issue where I always mix up waist and waste. I'm not sure why. I know the difference. I just always type the wrong one and then have to go back and change it.

  9. My absolute worse pet peeve is when folks type 'to' when they meant and should have typed 'too' as in *also*.

  10. I'm a retired English teacher, so I try not to make mistakes in grammar or usage. I always correct people, usually on the TV, when they use "less" when they mean "fewer."

    If there are things you can count (one, two, three, four . . . ), use "fewer": I make fewer mistakes than some people.

    If you mean an amount or quantity, use "less": I use less gasoline than my neighbor because I work close to home.

  11. For me it's adverbs, (she said snarkily). as for punctuation inside or outside the quotation marks: "The AP Style book puts commas inside the quotation marks," said the journalist. "Because that's the way it goes."

  12. "Between you and ME," although I don't usually correct people, unless they're my children. Other people I just judge. ;)

    1. Agree. the use of I instead of me in the objective case is huge.

  13. Ah, so many, so many. I used to tell my students if they used the wrong form of there/their/they're in a paper, the paper would receive a failing grade, and it would have to be re-written. The wrong use of less and fewer is a big one, and when I hear it, it makes the enamel come off my teeth in shards. That said, there are a few rules I have to check almost every time. My poor, old brain can't retain everything.

  14. This will be a confessional comment from me: my grammar is horrid. I know, I know- aspiring authors should have all their grammar and spelling practiced and well learned... But I don't. My spelling is shaky and my grammar can be a little mixed. Because of my own faults in the technicalities of writing I don't tend to judge others for their mistakes. I read some online amateur writing and often it's unedited. While some may get hung up on the errors of the text, most of the time I can over look it and just enjoy the story. I'm not saying grammar or spelling isn't important, just that what's being said should still be listened to. ^.^

  15. Insure vs ensure. "We are working to insure you have a great stay here." Really? Do I have to pay a premium?

  16. Thanks for your comments, everyone! This was a lot of fun!


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