However, it’s absolutely essential to know the rules before you can break them properly, and it’s just as necessary to be aware that there are few conventions that you just can’t disregard (correct usage of there, they’re, and their, for instance)
Wow, I love this post. You’ve managed to identify some of my pet peeves, including the lose / loose phenomenon. The application of strong grammar and spelling seems to be an elitist pass time these days, with more people seeing it as an irrelevance in this age of sms and email. Yet so many people do not realise the disasters in clear meaning that can occur with the wrong word construction.
Brian I’ve got a question regarding the “different from” or “different than” issue. I teach English as a foreign language, and I’m British. I sometimes train students to take an exam called TOEFL (Test of English for Foreign Learners), which is an American exam. As a British person, I would never say “different than”, but this is the only accepted answer in the American TOEFL books, so I teach my students that it’s an Americanism. Am I wrong?
How about the use of words ‘fewer’ vs ‘less’? This makes me nuts and I see it all the time at work. ‘Which’ and ‘that’ seems to confound people as well…
What makes my teeth grind is when I hear journalists, professors, anyone say, “Quote unquote,” and then they quote the quote outside the quotation marks.
My “pet peeve” is the phrase “life AND death” when the speaker really means “life OR death.” Even the TV anchors get tis one wrong 90% of the time.
Sometimes I get hung up on a grammatical error and it kills my train of thought or rather, my creativity. I really enjoy your website.
Thank you for reminding us of these errors
“[…] Of course, blogging is more conversational than other forms of business communication, so you don’t necessarily need to obey the rules to the letter. …