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Saturday, April 28, 2007

100% annoying

I have a confession to make (and it's going to sound hypocritical and silly considering how lax I am about editing my blog): I am a total pedant about grammar and annoying modern distortions of English!

I know that I really shouldn't begin to judge people on this, and especially not through my blog - where I routinely, in fact more often than not, cant be assed to edit - and I justify it to myself by saying that understanding is not hindered by my small typing (or half-asleep-not-thinking) errors, and it is, after all, a blog - not a commercial publication, but I'm not sure even I buy it...

The truth is that its probably the most annoying thing that I do - I correct people. I don't always do it aloud, and I'm really trying to stop, but, sh*t, it's hard! Bad grammar upsets me! It plays on my nerves and, like tourettes, if I hold it back too long, its bound to come rushing out much worse and with more expletives than strictly necessary.

I have no room to talk - but stuff it! I'm going to be hypocritical and just say:

It's "eTcetera" not "eKcetera", and "eSpresso" not "eXpresso"
It is "Jono & Kate's flat" not "jono's & kate's" - its called compound possession!
"it's" = it is, "its" = belongs to it(possession)
"P.S". = post script, as in after, so an afterthought to the post script is "P.P.S" not "P.S.S"
I could go on... but I wont or everyone everywhere will truly despise me!

We all have pet peeves, and this is mine - but I'm not alone. Read some of these below, and be honest, it does upset you. Doesn't it? Not even a little? Dammit!

Abuse of quotation marks on billboards and in publications:
e.g. Fish & chips "with" a salad - well, is it or is it not with a salad? do you mean it sarcastically or ironically or are you reporting speech? No? Then DON'T DO IT!

And here's one that drives Jono mad - "thousands of consumers cant be wrong" - Yes, they can! of course, they can! The whole world can agree on something that is entirely wrong!

Tash's favourite was (I haven't discussed this with her very recently) people who couldn't properly place the period/full stop in a quote (inside or outside quotations).

And* today I saw an advert for an Elvis impersonator with the bold claim "100% Elvis" - bollocks to that, unless you dug him up, it's not 100% Elvis!

Apparently the Queen wants you to say "what" instead of "pardon" and "loo" instead of "toilet" - which to a regular pleb like me sounds much less posh, but isn't the true sign of being posh the ability to wander around in dirty wellies smelling of dog and horse and not care? or something like that? I'm sure it's true - i read it in the tabloids, and thousands of tabloids cant be wrong!

*totally acceptable these days to begin with "And". Promise.


Steve Hayes said...

As an English editor I know what you mean. I fail miserably at editing my own writing, and miss obvious typos.

I get annoyed with the greengrocers apostrophe -- carrot's, pea's, cabbage's. And there is a place up the road frum us that invites us to 'Rent "a" bus'. One day I'll convert it to "b".

Katie Possum said...

I know, I know!

I see "carrot's 70p" and have to fight not to ask the grocer, what use a carrot has for money!

I despair, both for how pedantic I am, and for how wrong people can get it!

Steve Hayes said...

Well I've just been blogging about a couple of my pet peeves -- people using "witchdoctor" and "stakeholders" to mean the opposite of what they really mean.

Here's the mnemonic:

The stakeholder is the one who holds the stake steady for the witchdoctor to hammer it into the vampire's chest.

Danielle said...

Ah... I have the perfect book for you which I'm reading at the moment.

Eats, shoots and leaves - Linda Truss

It'll calm you that you aren't alone out there and some of the chapters are actually quite funny.

Katie Possum said...

hey Danielle!
I know that book well! :)
it's pretty good, I thought...

Izz said...

Hey Kate. I see you rocking that side. It's good to read your blog. Hope the Queen is not too strict on the grammar thingy out there. Tell her to be flexible and that street language is part of the the techno-ling this days - soon we will see sms language in official texts (it's already happening on TV ads). Izzy.

Kate said...

Hi Izz! Thanks for the comment - I'll give HRH your message ;)
But will die a grammar-geek's painful death the day sms language becomes mainstream!

ChewTheCud said...

Wow. You should teach English. According to a study they say people can read what you've written even when all the letters in each word are jumbled. Your brain just puts them in the right order.

Oh and I really hate people who make a big fuss when you say "What?" instead of "Pardon?". We're in South Africa here, England has one language, we have eleven.

kabintsimbi said...

Oh so the same! I can't stand it when people don't know how to use their own bloody mother tongue! I mean,'s as simple as bloody breathing.

*sigh* & I totally hate the way in which email & sms talk are the ways in which people communicate now. How naff, how boring, how sad?!?!

William & Jane would be turning in their graves!

London Bachelor said...

"Cant" hypocritical posturing

"Can't" = word sometimes found before "talk" but nowhere to be seen in para 2 of this post.

Katie Possum said...

london bachelor: huh? had another look at para 2 of this post, and CAN'T spot the error - unless you're referring to the missing apostrophe? if so - as I said "hypocritical" and "cant be assed to edit"

looks like someone else can be pedantic :)

London Bachelor said...

yes was referring to the missing apostrophe. sorry was trying to be clever and funny... spose i should've ended with a ;)


Katie Possum said...

hey bachelor - a well placed ;) can change the whole tone of a post, hey?!

I overuse them - because the problem with blank text is the total lack of tone...but thanks for the ;) and for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

"cant be assed to edit"
"The truth is that its probably"
"long, its bound to"
"its called compound"
"but I wont or"
"do you mean"
"of consumers cant"
"care? or something like that?"
"true - i read"
"tabloids cant be"

Katie Possum said...

hey, anon
"cant be assed to edit"
seriously, cant be assed!

Anonymous said...

Good for you - but it makes your post not only 'hypocritical', while making false claims about being 'pedant' and 'getting upset', but pretty useless in itself.

'Don't do as I do, do as I say'. Zzzzzzzz...... - another preacher and evangelist - just what we need in a world full of politicians...

But you give Bullard another round of ammo. Seriously.

Katie Possum said...

That's lovely Anon, but you've missed a primary point (or two): most of this is tongue in cheek. See the paragraph on the Queen, if you dont believe me. Furthermore, in the post I link to a site called Non Errors (Those usages people keep telling you are wrong but which are actually standard in English). Thirdly, this is tagged as "silly" - if this isnt enough for you, just grow a sense of humour.

Oh, and on the Bullard point - I blog for my friends and family, and a couple of other people have since found me as is the nature of the internet. See my stats - I'm making no claims to being Peas on Toast or anything. I'm not going to change the way I blog because some self-important technoweenie doesnt like me.

Anonymous said...

Then I hope for you and your friends they had a good laugh - not for any accidental visitor, as this blog is not intended for them in the first place (nor me, obviously, as I lack the sense of humor needed to comprehend your twisted and wicked thoughts cq writings).
The links I didn't take as being 'silly' either - just informative - thanks!

You just shouldn't have added that you cant be assed about it - takes away all pun and makes you sound bratty, rebellious and ignorant instead of clever & sharp...

And Bullard doesn't not-like you - that is not what his rant was about - it was about people writing for the sake of writing, about trivial stuff or feeling the urge to vent some (usually their own) opinion in a blog.

You didn't get his point - nor mine - but ok, youdontgivearatsass :-)

Katie Possum said...

Anon - just take a couple of deep breaths and chill a bit.
And, if you are going to criticise people, approach it with an academic honesty and at least read what they write. The links aren't silly, the tag for the post is.

You and accidental visitors are not not welcome - I never said that. Anyone is welcome or I would have made this a private log-in-based blog. I simply meant that my purpose was not to showcase my writing or even me as some kind of personality.

Maybe you're right about not adding "Cant be assed", but it wasnt intended as a "bratty" response - actually it was me trying very hard to avoid just this kind of confrontation, ie not taking the bait (at least in the comments sections - where it got so much emphasis).

As for Bullard "doesnt like me" - this was not meant literally. I doubt Bullard knows I exist. But I do think it is hypocritical for a columnist to write off writing for the sake of it, and spouting personal opinions - seems to me that that is the purpose of columns.

I actually usually enjoy Bullard, but I felt this particular column wrote off a diverse group with a single stereotype, and I object to that.

What do you say to a truce?