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Old 12-24-2010, 08:21 AM   #1
JordanL
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Grammatical Mishaps

What are some of the most common grammatical mishaps you fall into?

One I see many people fall into is the "X and I" vs. "me and X". People tend to get both wrong...

"Me and Severus" is perfectly acceptable grammatically when it is the direct or indirect object of a sentence. In fact, "Severus and I" would be heinously ungrammatical in the object.

"I" is only used as the subject of a sentence, while "me" is only used as an object.

"Severus and I walked down the hall."

"The spell hit me and Severus."

These sentences are both grammatically correct.

It's a special pet-peeve of mine when I see someone use a sentence like "The spell his Severus and I." It's like fingernails on the chalkboard. I suddenly get yanked out of the story and ponder for a moment how clever the author must have thought themselves in their folly.

Anyhow, what are some of your favorite (or least favorite) grammatical mishaps?
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
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I've mentioned this in my intro already, but my least favourite grammatical mishap is definitely the incorrect use of your and you're. I don't think it's a particularly challenging concept to grasp in regards to choosing the appropriate word, but the error seems to be present in a boatload of fics, even from the very best authors.
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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Easiest way that I've found to remember that rule is to remove the other person's name from the sentence and see if it still makes sense.
"I walked down the hall." = "Severus and I walked down the hall."
"The spell hit me." = "The spell hit me and Severus."

There's also nothing worse than 'there/their/they're' and 'your/you're' errors.
A new one I've been seeing is 'should have/could have/would have' etc being changed to 'would of/could of/should of

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Old 12-24-2010, 12:05 PM   #4
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There are some rather amusing examples of common grammar fails in this thread, BTW - Warlocke was on a roll.
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JordanL View Post
One I see many people fall into is the "X and I" vs. "me and X". People tend to get both wrong...
I won't defend this, per se, as it is inexcusable in a finished product. Having said that, though, I shall attempt to explain it:

From the time we are small, far too many teachers will drill the It's-X-and-I,-not-me-and-X!" rule into us - and almost invariably without the caveat that the rule only applies to the subject of the sentence. I would wager that most people who do the drilling might not even understand that the caveat is there in the first place to give.

Anyway, the things that bother me the most are bad subject verb agreements in complex sentences, as well as when authors accidentally point the verb not towards the noun, but to the noun's qualifiers.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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One thing that I always have trouble with is who and whom. I know "who" is subject and "whom" is object. However, often I will deliberately stick with an incorrect version of a sentence simply because sometimes, using "whom" sounds really odd, even if it's grammatically correct.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:52 PM   #7
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I shamefully admit that I frequently screw up with the whole 'X and I'/'Me and X' thing.

I could never, however, mix up your, you're, they're, their and there, though. (Never used to be the case, though! When I was younger, I was so assured that 'your' and 'you're' were regional differences -like color and colour- of the same word that I actually got into lengthy arguments about it on iRC; what a fool/ass I was!)
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:19 PM   #8
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Not really grammar so much as people being douches, bt whn ppl txt m wtht vwls I have to physically set down my phone and walk away so I don't peg it across the room.

>:[
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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Not really grammar so much as people being douches, bt whn ppl txt m wtht vwls I have to physically set down my phone and walk away so I don't peg it across the room.

>:[
Same here. i have no problems if you're trying to save space or are working with a keypad. bt whn t gts xccssve t rlly rks th hll t f m.
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #10
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I hate all mistakes. I am the Scrooge of grammar; I have to make an effort, constantly, not to point out people's mistakes.

So saying that, there aren't any particularly glaring mistake pitfalls I commonly fall into: but I have noticed that I have phases wherein I use a particular bit of punctuation in preference to others, for months on end. I had a semicolon phase; a dash phase, that one particularly bad; a tilde phase, believe it or not, when I was younger.

They're really quite hard to break. Does anyone else get them?
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:12 PM   #11
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Yes. I do. Frequently.


See there? That's my short-sentence-phase showing through again.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Palindrome View Post
I hate all mistakes. I am the Scrooge of grammar; I have to make an effort, constantly, not to point out people's mistakes.

So saying that, there aren't any particularly glaring mistake pitfalls I commonly fall into: but I have noticed that I have phases wherein I use a particular bit of punctuation in preference to others, for months on end. I had a semicolon phase; a dash phase, that one particularly bad; a tilde phase, believe it or not, when I was younger.

They're really quite hard to break. Does anyone else get them?
I went through a semicolon and dash phrase, but I'd never even heard of a "tilde" until you mentioned it (it was just a button on my keyboard I used in lieu of a dash when I felt like mixing them up). Thanks for teaching me that one.

Whenever I do some sort of peer-editing it always gets to me when people don't capitalize "I"'s. Or when they use "irregardless", which, while thought to be correct by most, is considered wrong by most dictionaries. People use it just because it makes them sound sophisticated and literate.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:18 AM   #13
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I hate all mistakes. I am the Scrooge of grammar; I have to make an effort, constantly, not to point out people's mistakes.
You can point out any mistakes that I make in my postings, if you wish; it's a good way to learn, and not learning how to correct your mistakes just means that you constantly repeat them.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:22 PM   #14
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My pet peeve is people who claim to be "grammar Nazis" and brag about how they fly into a rage whenever they see a mistake, when most of the time they are only passably competent at best. Being able to write grammatically correct sentences (usually), having a good working knowledge of punctuation, and not mixing "your" and "you're" does not make someone a grammar expert. Neither does ranting about "could care less" or singing the praises of Strunk & White.

Being able to intelligently state your position on the serial comma is a minimum entrance requirement to self-appointed grammar fascism. Have a copy of Garner's Modern American Usage on your shelf (if you're American) and maybe I'll take you seriously. Tell me why you don't like Garner's Modern American Usage and you've got my attention. Read Language Log for a few months so you know the difference between descriptive and prescriptive grammar (and when the latter is appropriate and when it's not).

Sniping at typos and common mistakes doesn't really take much expertise.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:50 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Palindrome View Post
So saying that, there aren't any particularly glaring mistake pitfalls I commonly fall into: but I have noticed that I have phases wherein I use a particular bit of punctuation in preference to others, for months on end. I had a semicolon phase; a dash phase, that one particularly bad; a tilde phase, believe it or not, when I was younger. They're really quite hard to break. Does anyone else get them?
I have no idea what a tilde phase looks like. I get phases too (I had a parenthesis phase ~​3 years ago) but I never really feel like I break out of them - my dash phase will never end. I tend to integrate them into my writing and it gets more awkward over time.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:54 PM   #16
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I love semi-colons, but I don't consider it to be a habit as such. I'm not over-using them; everyone else is under-using them.

I also have a habit of placing redundant commas in front of conjunctions, as I did in the first sentence of this post. I try to prevent it, but doing it without the comma just makes the sentence read strangely in my mind. Almost run-on.

And look, I did it again.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:55 PM   #17
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I have no idea what a tilde phase looks like. I get phases too (I had a parenthesis phase ~​3 years ago) but I never really feel like I break out of them - my dash phase will never end. I tend to integrate them into my writing and it gets more awkward over time.
No one truly knows what a tilde is, tbh~
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:10 PM   #18
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I love semi-colons, but I don't consider it to be a habit as such. I'm not over-using them; everyone else is under-using them.

I also have a habit of placing redundant commas in front of conjunctions, as I did in the first sentence of this post. I try to prevent it, but doing it without the comma just makes the sentence read strangely in my mind. Almost run-on.

And look, I did it again.
I also use semi-colons quite frequently, and I also have the same issues with 'redundant commas' as you do.

I see people type, "I love semi-colons but I don't consider it to be a habit as such", but I see it as being wrong in my mind's eye: I'd write it just as you did originally with the colon before the 'but'.

Using so many redundant colons though...it's not correct grammar, is it?
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:29 PM   #19
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I also use semi-colons quite frequently, and I also have the same issues with 'redundant commas' as you do.

I see people type, "I love semi-colons but I don't consider it to be a habit as such", but I see it as being wrong in my mind's eye: I'd write it just as you did originally with the colon before the 'but'.

Using so many redundant colons though...it's not correct grammar, is it?
If you can believe Walsh in his Elephants of Style, it’s the most basic principle of using the comma - I think he has one too many pet peeves.

Walsh claims you have to omit the comma if the subject before but stays the same afterward.

"I love peanut butter but hate pancakes."

But if the subject is not continuous, that is, it is restated or different, you have to use a comma.

"I love peanut butter, but I hate pancakes."

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:20 PM   #20
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My most common grammar mishap is really more of a spelling mishap. There are a couple of words that I just can't ever seem to spell correctly. Other than that, I am occasionally excessive with punctuation such as commas, semicolons, and my favourite: the dash.

Personally, my pet peeve with grammar is that we are not taught it long enough, or even (at times) correctly. Most western schools, to the best of my knowledge, stop with grammar lessons after primary school, and even then only teach the basics and give generalities that are not always correct.

At my high school we only spent a single unit, in all four years of high school, on the different forms of writing. And this was in an elective class, not the standard English class. I found that single unit more useful than the rest of the four years of proper English classes spent dissecting terrible novels, and writing essays about the fucking conch from The Lord of the Flies.

So that's my problem with the issue: There are so many terrible writers out there today, because they were never even taught HOW to write.

It is for that reason, that I will forever be in debt to my grade eleven English teacher. He said "fuck you" to the standardized curriculum, and taught us the shit we actually needed to know, such as advanced grammar, and how to properly structure and write essays, formal letters (such as to an elected representative), various lengths of fiction, and so on.
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