Jingle's Top Ten Grammar Pet Peeves

Grrrrr! Seriously, though - I know I don't have perfect grammar. I don't claim to be the most eloquent of speakers, however, I do make an effort to observe at least somewhat reasonable grammar and speech patterns. I must say, I am quite easily driven to insanity by poor grammar. Really. It's sad, I'm aware, but nonetheless, it is, indeed, the truth.

Here are my top 10 Grammar Pet Peeves.

10. Ain't. Honestly, this one isn't THAT bad, it's just an obnoxious word in general. I don't like it. It's occasionally useful for making a strong point or mocking former presidents, but other than that, I really don't see why we need it.

Bad: I ain't going to the party.
Good: I am not going to the party. (Doesn't that just feel better?)

9. Where is it at? Umm.....can we say dangling preposition, much? *Insert eye roll here.* It's not as common here in Mass, but it was unavoidable when I lived in Oklahoma!

Bad: Where is the party at?
Good: Where is the party? (Look! This one even takes less effort! That's a good thing!)

8. Fix'n To. Yes, I just typed that using the spelling with which it is most often pronounced. The thing with this one is really rather simple. When this statement is used, it seems that nobody is ever fixing anything. For that matter, nothing seems to be broken! (More on that broken thing later!)

Bad: I'm fix'n to go out tonight.
Good: I'm planning on going out tonight. I'm going out tonight. Either of these two options will work.

7. The misuse of the word 'Irony.' This is a new one for me, but it is quite noticeable as of late. Many people misuse 'irony' when the word they are looking for is actually 'coincidence.'

Bad: A death row pardon two minutes too late is a coincidence. And a bad one at that.

Good: When the warden picked up the phone to answer the pardoning call from the Governor the phone caused an electrical short that triggered the electric chair, causing the death to occur as the pardon was being made, and more specifically, caused BY the pardon itself. THAT, my friends, is ironic.

6. Mixing up They're, There, and Their. It's really not that hard, folks!

Bad: Their coming for dinner this evening. (That just hurts to type.)
Good: They're my friends. (They're = They are)
I left my jacket back there. (There = a location)
These cupcakes are theirs. (Their = the possessive case of 'they')

5. Their(s) used in reference to a single individual. Being that, as stated above, 'their' is the possessive case of 'they' it cannot be used in reference to a single individual. The same can be said for 'they.' These are both indicitative of a plural, therefore, must be used in reference to groups of two or more.

Bad: That person said that they will bring their radio to the crop.
Good: She said that she will bring her radio to the crop. (If gender is unknown 'he' can be used or 'one' may also be chosen.)

4. Perfect Grammar Users. Yup. I'm serious. While I'm a stickler for reasonable grammar, I also believe in using the language in a way that makes sense to people. It's just annoying when people are overly perfect in their speech, making it almost like Old English or something. Loosen up a bit!

3. The me/I issue. You know, when people use 'I' all the time and never actually use me even if it is the correct word to use! Drives me nuts!

Bad: My mother gave beautiful gifts to both my sister and I.
Good: My mother gave beautiful gifts to both my sister and me.

Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you WHY! You would never say, "My mother gave a beautiful gift to I." That just sounds dumb. That's because 'me' actually belongs in this sentence. Adding the second antecedent does not change that rule.

2. Broke/Broken. Seriously. This one is one of those nerve grating ones that makes me want to rudely correct people. I try to avoid it, but sometimes I can't help it. Sorry.

Bad: This computer is broke.
Good: This computer is broken.
Good: I am broke.

I don't believe the speaker intended to tell me that the computer has run out of money.

1. Seen. OH MY GOODNESS. This word is used incorrectly so often and it actually HURTS my ears. For real. It's painful to me.

Bad: I seen that movie.
Good: I HAVE seen that movie.
Good: I SAW that movie.

Seen should never be used without HAVE before it! Period. Crazy, I tell ya! It actually made me shudder just to type that bad example!

So...what are your grammar pet peeves? I have more, but I decided to stick to ten today! LOL!


  1. Ahhhh!!! I was reading this list just waiting to see if "seen" would be on it!!! The misuse of that word is my biggest grammar pet peeve EVER!!!Their/there/they're really gets to me, too. Another one that really bothers me is reading sentences like this: "This house needs cleaned." What??? Oh! And this one: "I got my hair did." Huh?! I will admit I also get irked with spelling, too. One example that really gets me is seeing the (non)word "supposively" when in fact the correct, real word is supposedly. I get really annoyed when people write "hugh" when they mean HUGE.

  2. I know what you mean! I have those little pet peeves as well. As a teacher, I hear a lot of the items on your list. With children, I understand. They are in the learning stages. What really gets me is when it comes from other teachers! I say this, but I am sure I have goofed somewhere. I just really try not to. Visiting from SITS!

  3. Ms. Jingle, we are more alike than I had ever imagined. I used to be an editor, and that turned me into a freak. Only in typing of course, but nonetheless a freak. And I've always been a good speller so bad spelling makes me batty.

    And my husband is the WORST; I don't know how I married him! LOL He uses ain't, he says "I seen that" and he can't spell. Oh man.

  4. My husband says English is frustrating because of all the changing rules:-)

  5. teehee, well, I'm from Texas and guilty of using ain't and my family says 'fixin' to'

    I'm with you on the misuse of I/me...use "I" when it is the subject..use "me" when it is the object!!

    recently went into an Ihop..the sign read 'There back, pumpkin pancakes are back'...I almost whipped out my red pen...THEY'RE back.

  6. So funny! I am with you on most of those! Not grammar but for some reason I keep hearing people say "supposably" lately. Only funny coming from Joey on Friends!

  7. I agree with you in that all those uses of incorrect grammer drive me crazy as well. I would have to disagree with you on the number one spot though. My number one would have been the use of the word "irregardless". That mix of letters in not actually a word-the correct word is regardless, to put 'ir' in front of it doesn't make sense! DRives me crazy!

  8. I agree..... and can add several more:

    loose vs lose: You LOSE (one letter 'o') weight or belongings. You wear LOOSE clothes or you turn something LOOSE (meaning 'let go').

    And 'could OF' done something should be 'could HAVE' done something.

    And 'try AND see if this works'... should be 'try TO see if this works'.

    I despair over what's to become of our language. Why is this important? Because the more something appears in writing (even on the Internet) the more it becomes entrenched and accepted.

  9. Funny! I'm from Texas, too and have to say I'd be sad to see 'fixin' go. It's such a part of that sweet southern and cowboy culture, almost as much as 'yes, Ma'am' and please 'pass the cornbread'. ;) I don't like supposebly, and the confusion between 'bring and take'. Lol, sometimes I just try not to listen too close! :)

  10. I used to say, "Anyways" til my husband said, uh, it's just anyway...so now it bothers me when other people do it :)

    I hate when people say "further" when they mean "farther"--again it was after I looked it up to see how to use it correctly that it then bothered me! And mostly the people that drive me crazy with that are meterologists!! They almost always say, "further north."

    ps Farther is for distance and further is for intangible things like "think about it further." just say'n :)

  11. im study at uk
    n still struggling in understanding english grammar

  12. funny - my blog address is:

    i aint no writer . blogspot :)

    because I aint ;)

    Seriously though, I never use that word, but it worked for my address.

  13. I have a friend that would use seen incorrectly all the time and it was like finger nails on a chalkboard.

    I kept my mouth shut and never corrected her.

  14. Hey lady, this is a pretty good list. I am easily annoyed by misspellings and incorrect use of grammar. I am not free from error though. Other mistakes that annoy me are incorrect use of 's for plurals, and the improper use of to, too and two. I believe the proper definition for fixin means about to/getting ready to. I'm not sure I'd agree with your irony point though. Irony is a coincidence with a twist. and getting pardoned too late seems pretty ironic to me.

  15. don't ever move to the south!!! i have lots of pet peeves about grammar too - i'm with you on pretty much all of them! remember joey and his ironical? funny

  16. I love this post!. Thanks Jingle.

    I hate when people leave out "you have."
    Bad: Let me know if any questions.
    Good: Let me know if YOU HAVE any questions.

    I also hate when people use apostrophes to make something pleural. Oh, that drives me nuts.
    Today we saw a sign at an ice cream shop:
    "Sunday's" (meaning sundaes). I love ice cream but I wouldn't buy from them.

  17. "You know"


    "I go" (instead of "I said")

    All drive me crazy! (also loved your irony description)

  18. Great list. You're a good teacher!

  19. HAHAHAH this made me giggle. My son came home from school the other day and told me he was fixin to do his homework. We just moved to the south. I have meet with his teacher a few times. She says "fixin" a lot!!!!

    Happy sits sharefest

  20. I lived in the south for awhile, and had never heard "fixin" until I moved there. My students sometimes said "fittin'", and I'm not quite sure which is worse!

    I'm fittin' to throw this pencil at you!

    I'm fixin' to throw this pencil at you!

    {they both sound terrible}

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  21. Poor grammar usually doesn't bother me, but I don't like it. I especially don't like it when teachers or school administrators use poor grammar or spelling! That makes me crazy!

  22. Oh Jingle, this was one of my favorites. I have so many grammer pet peeves. The "I" "me" one is a big one of mine. I think people sound so fake when they say that one wrong. One that really drives me crazy is when someone says "literally" wrong---"My head is literally going to explode"--really, that is going to be something to watch! Or, "I was literally going 500mph to get here." --and you made it safely?

    As for spelling--I love my spellcheck!

  23. I know what you mean with all of these, except the 'fix'n' one. I realize it's poor grammer, but because it's a regional saying I don't put it in with the rest of the grammar violations. Every region has its own sayings that use words in ways other than how they were intended. Fix'n is one of those words that really has more to do with a region than a lack of education.
    The one that IRRITATES me is "my bad". @@ Whoever thought up that one had a few brain cells missing.


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