10 Words that Make Bloggers Seem Dumb

I recently heard a CNN broadcaster use the word ‘orientate’, and she was NOT discussing a map, or its orientation.

Grrr…. How VERY wrong.

Incorrect word and grammar usage frequently frazzles my brain (and others with average English language skills) to the extent that we lose the overall message while we ponder how the speaker or writer managed to graduate from grade school, let alone university.

Note: My grade school comment does NOT apply to those who blog in English as a second language.

I admire you!

However, it IS worth your time to learn the lessons below. :-)

As for all you native English speakers – here’s a review…

  1. Irregardless – NOT a word, despite the fact that some dictionaries include it, for the following reasons:

    • Containing the suffix ‘less’, regardless already means ‘without regard’.
    • Adding the negative prefix ‘irr’ to regardless, is therefore redundant.
    • Moreover, ‘irr’ nullifies the existing ‘less’, making it a double negative.
    • Ergo, ‘irregarless’ actually means ‘with regard’, yet those using it typically mean to say (write) regardless.
  2. Orientate – The word is ‘orient’. The only time ‘orientate’ or ‘orientated’ is acceptable is when referring to the orientation of a map to its compass points – BUT ‘orient’ will suffice and simplicity always works best.
  3. Ironical – Use ‘ironic’.
  4. Conversate – Use ‘converse’. We don’t conversate, we converse.
  5. Lie vs. Lay – Instructing your dog to ‘lay down’ is going to confuse him as he wonders ‘lay WHAT down?’. The correct phrase is ‘lie down’. Lie means ‘to recline’, whereas ‘lay’ means ‘to place’.
  6. It’s / Its – Apostrophes seem to pose problems for many bloggers. ‘Its going to rain’ is wrong. It’s is the contraction for ‘it is’, therefore ‘it’s going to rain’ is correct. ‘Its’ on the other hand is possessive pronoun, indicating that ‘it’ owns something, e.g. ‘its name’. By the way, never use Its’.
  7. There / Their / They’re – They are over ‘there’ at the river and ‘they’re’ getting ready to go canoeing.
  8. Than / Then – Than is a conjunction used in comparisons. That hamburger was more than I could eat. Then is an adverb usually denoting time. They are coming at Christmas, we’ll see them then. Then can also mean in addition or in that case. If you plan to ski, then you’ll have to buy tickets.
  9. Your / You’re – Your is possessive – that’s your hat. You’re is the contraction for ‘you are’.
  10. Accept / Except – Accept is a verb that means “to receive, admit, regard as true, say yes.” His application to Stanford was accepted. Except is a preposition that means “excluding.” I know everyone here except the fellow standing in the corner. I can’t accept this gift.

OK, go ahead, find all the bloopers on my blog and I’ll correct them. :-)

Do you have pet peeves about grammar and word usage? Feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

Cheers,

sig-ros


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Comments

  1. says

    I also am a stickler for proper grammar and for taking the time to review your work before posting, or submitting any written communication (even texting on phones or commenting on FACEBOOK, etc…).

    However, I’m an advocate for people with dyslexia, namely my husband and daughter. In our American culture, we have those who do not fit into the mold of perfection, with communication, weight, wealth, lifestyle, fashion, and the list goes on. People with challenges are discounted as”normal.” Does that mean”they” are to bow out of the realm of writing, blogging, and socially communicating in fear of annoying someone? I know my family takes it in stride.

    What would the critics suggest one do, to be found credible, and likeable and trustworthy in this tech savvy arena? I mean, besides buying software that is better than spell checker…

    We are a society of highly critical and judgemental folk. If you’re on the”wrong end” of the proverbial stick, believe me, you take a beating.

    I welcomed your post, Ros, indicating that we truly only need the first and last letter of a word to catch the jist of its’ message. It’s true. Should a grammatically challenged individual provide a disclaimer that English is a second language in order to be taken seriously and with respect? Hey, maybe that’s a good idea! I’ll tell my family to do that from now on.

    Marilyn Meyer
    Online Marketer

  2. says

    Hi Rosalind,

    I read your blog about grammar, particularly the word “orientate’. I understand that we don’t need to use the word orientate if we just want to orient someone with something. You won’t believe it, but here in Australia where I migrated 20 odd yrs ago, the word ‘orientate’ is a normal word and is widely used at school and in any field.

    I come from an Asian background with American-based education in my country, and yes we always used ‘orient’ and never heard the word ‘orientate’ until I came to Australia. I hope Aussies who read my comment won’t get offended.

    Jenny

  3. says

    A very common misuse of words I hear from news broadcasters is real instead or really. Real is an adjective, as in a real Rolex watch not a fake, and really, an adverb, as in a really fast car.

  4. says

    Good advice. I notice a good number posing as a MARKETING GURU or authority, who will write things like ” If your like most people…” or “your in luck!” (instead of you’re) This is obviously shocking to see in sales pages and associated emails. I think everyone is in so much rush that they fail to bother about it too much. Everything is quantity over quality for many. Or is it just poor education?

    Let’s face it, everyone makes the odd typo or spells something wrong, that’s forgivable. But consistent poor grammer is an embarrassment, and makes you question the credentials of the author. Do I want this chap teaching me how to make a living?

  5. Paul N says

    Sorry for the typo in my last post — it should have said “in a homily” not “us a homily”.

  6. says

    Ros,

    I have to agree with you-specifically with the “your/you’re” error. I am amazed at how many adults & teenagers just run with this error in their writing eg. Your my favorite friend.

    What insults me as a reader, are those “wealthy” gurus, who sell all kinds of information products etc. and their sales letters have so many grammatical errors BECAUSE they are too cheap or REALLY don’t make enough money to hire a good proof reader, for crying out loud!
    Ahhhgggrrr!

  7. Peter says

    Hi Ros,
    I compulsively reply to emails that use bad grammar and I correct it for them. I’m pretty sure the recipient won’t be appreciative but I do it anyway. One of the most common is “very” unique. The misuse of lay and lie kills me. Also, further and farther. It’s as though the word farther doesn’t exist. What about that Ford commercial that tells people to “Go Further”. I can’t take it any more. The pronoun “we” is another that has fallen into obscurity.
    One of your respondents used the word “irregardless”. I don’t know if he were being ironic or just missed your list of murdered words. And the commonly misused “was” and “were”. I wish I were going, not was.
    Now I might be totally wrong on this point but shouldn’t the title name in the above comments say: So and so “said” not “says”? I’m just saying! 😉

    That’s it for now. Thanks for the opportunity to vent!

    Peter

    • says

      Thanks for the smiles, Peter.

      Yup, your examples are all pet peeves of mine as well.

      Right now though, the worst is using the word ‘got’ to mean ‘have’. It’s become so much a part of the language that they are actually using it in commercials and I cringe every time I hear it. Sounds SO clumsy and uneducated!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  8. Brett Young says

    I’d just like to remind folks that there ain’t no sich word as “alright,” and there ain’t no sich word as “snuck,” and there ain’t no sich word as “sich.”

  9. says

    I am glad you wrote this article…and everything/every word that you wrote makes me grit my teeth also. I recently got a job doing very interesting things but there is one word the employers have ‘coined’ which REALLY irritates me! The employees all seem to think nothing of it but the word is ‘notate.’ They all use it as a verb, as in ‘make a note of,’and it drives me CRAZY! Every time someone asks me ‘did you notate that’, I want to correct them SO MUCH! i KNOW IT’S A SMALL MATTER BUT IT DRIVES ME BONKERS!

    Thank you for letting me vent, that felt GREAT!

  10. says

    As a young Mexican American in the early fifties I had a hard time learning the English language.

    So many rules and words that have the same meaning but are different.
    For example, foot is it a measure or an appendage? You are right, or is it a direction?

    There are many more examples but I think you and your readers are smart enough to know what I’ve been through.
    Paul

  11. Mike Inkster says

    Two words that I and others have fun with are SHALL and MUST.

    Must = a requirement that is absolute. With no ands ifs or buts.
    Must be of correct age to get your drivers license.

    Shall = is either pass tense or future tense.
    We shall rewrite the agenda in the near future.

    I am amazed at how many professionals like property managers, doctors, and many others that misuse these two words. Along with the way they write letters and notices.

  12. Fay says

    My mother told the story that when her mother was dying, she (the dying one) became agitated and tried to get out of bed. Mom told her, “Lay down, mother!” To which my grandmother replied, “Chickens lay eggs, people lie down.” Though I don’t think those were her dying words, in certain family circles we claimed that they were. How’s that for a lifelong grammarian?

    But I do think that’s a great way to remember lay vs. lie.

  13. Stephen Bender says

    Many things influence the writting styles we see today. Personality type is one of them. Carl Yung and Meyers Briggs Personality theory give much insight. Guardian and Idealist Personality types seem to be the most annoyed by such petty errors in English Rules. J type Guardians and J type Idealists are instructors at most schools. These types seem most annoyed at petty things. ENTP’s and INTP’s are rational types that are annoyed at such errors. Neurology is another part of the equation. Writting and language are complex proccess that take place in the brain. Many people assume this skill set takes place with in the mind. The reasons are countless as to why people write in the manner that they do. The real question is, why does it matter so much to the people on this blog?

    The point of communications in general is to convey a message from
    one contact to another, period. English is a “standard set of rules” that seeks to use words from many languages and incorporate it into one over all system. This is in part why English seems so hard and confusing for most people. I wonder if it is the writting that bothers people here or is it the breaking of rules and traditions that seem bother so many?

    Why does it matter to you how others write? To me it is a waste of time. If the message written or spoken conveys the intent of the writter or speaker why should it matter how it is structured? Texting would illustrate this idea perfectly. How many people use “Correct English” in Text messages? Many people do not bother. Why? Because of time and because of simplicity. Grammar and structure is not as important as most people think. Why? Because, you can still proccess the information, the brain fills in the missing parts. Example:
    If I writ n a wy u dont like dosnt mean its wrong. Just different. Grammar and structor was disregarded in the above illustration yet the message was still understood. We are who ever we choose to be not what others one us to be. Just something to ponder.

    • Jim McKee says

      I could insert a bunch of squiggles and pictures, and some people would probably be able to decipher my meaning. But most wouldn’t. We have a set of agreed-upon rules for grammar, spelling, and so forth, in an effort to find uniformity, so that communication is (A) easier to perform, and (B) easier to understand.

      Your sample of this above is a perfect example. It *can* be deciphered by some. Many others will disregard it completely because it looks like gibberish. So, yes, by the rules of grammar and spelling, it most definitely *is* wrong. You may not care, just as you may not care about a speed limit on a certain road, but that does not change reality.

      If you wish to reach the maximum audience possible, then it behooves you to pay heed to the rules that govern the printed word.

  14. Maria McCormack says

    Hi Ros,

    In your next article on this subject, will you please include the incredible misuse of the pronouns myself, yourself, itself, etc.? It has become so commonplace to misuse these that it seems to be accepted. I hear it so often I want to scream!!!

    Thanks for your always great articles!

  15. says

    Ros

    Orientate is commonly used in the UK in place of orient. See the Oxford Dictionary online to verify if you wish. To use orient instead of orientate in the UK would make you sound odd.

  16. Mike says

    One thing that was not written about in your article is spinners. I have looked at a few of them. To rewrite an article it may take you 1/2hr., with a spinner it may take you a lot longer and most of the time it may still be garbage.

    Now people english is getting bad due to use of 140 characters. We furgot to spill.(forgot,spell)

    Good Day, Mike

    PS: I have both of your Super Affiliate Handbooks.

  17. Gloria says

    I clicked out of a site in disgust last week after a short period of time. The page was full of broken English, grammar issues and misspellings. I could even tell the nationality of the person and could hear their accent as I was reading. It was kind of funny. Just because people can understand you when you talk and you can get your point across, it’s not the same when you write. People have a tendency to not be very forgiving when reading content on a blog/website. There are so many people just throwing up websites/blogs to make money that they don’t even take the time to care about the presentation. If your English isn’t good or you know you have a problem, at least do a spell-check and have someone proof it for you. Take some pride in what you’re putting out there for the world to see.

    • says

      Hi Gloria,

      Thanks for sharing and I couldn’t agree more. Filling the web up with trash – like the stuff I see showing up in the spam comments section on this blog – makes me furious. It’s such a waste of time for everyone.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  18. says

    Hi Ros, I’m new to you and to your website but couldn’t resist chiming in here on the subject of “orientate.” I’m wondering if that broadcaster was perhaps British because . . .
    “The Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary list “orient” and “orientate” as verbs meaning the same thing. Which one you choose to use really just comes down to local preference. To a UK reader, “orient” may well sound non-standard, whereas “orientate” may sound clumsy to a US reader. Other parts of the world will have their own preferences. The key thing to remember is that both forms of the verb are generally acceptable.” http://www.dailywritingtips.com/do-you-orient-yourself-or-orientate-yourself/
    Personally, I always use “orient” since I’m American but in England “orientate” is standard.

    • says

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks kindly for the information about ‘orientate’. I obviously had no idea. Strange too, considering I’m Canadian and we usually take the British path when it comes to language. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  19. Markku Hihnala says

    What’s the deal with WhiteSmoke? Your links aren’t working and when I searched it on Google I found lots of warnings about WhiteSmoke being a malware program. Also my antivirus program blockes the website whitesmoke.com.

    • says

      Hello Markku,

      Thanks for alerting me to the problem with Whitesmoke. They are listed as ‘temporarily closed’ on the ShareaSale network. I wish I had an alternative to share with you.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  20. Kelly says

    I have a few.

    One is the misuse of the word “so.” It is abused to a ridiculous extent. Saying, “I am so excited.” If you’re excited, you’re excited. Saying “I so want to go to Disney World.” Huh? Or perhaps “That is so not cool.”

    Another quickie. Supposably instead of supposedly.

    One more. Anxious vs eager. Misused a lot! Anxious=bad. Eager=good. I was anxious about going inside the haunted house. I was eager to get the project started.

  21. says

    Hi, I have always been amazed at native speakers having trouble writing and speaking properly in their own mother tongue. If you can’t write in your own language, what CAN you do? Many of the people who speak English as their mother tongue can’t speak any other language either, and they expect everyone else to speak English. I know of a few who are even outraged if the foreign person has an accent. Ignorance and arrogance – a really bad combination. I think your post will be useful even for English teachers to show their pupils what the most common mistakes are out there.

  22. Sharyn says

    I was just catching up on some reading and found your post. Rosalind, you are speaking straight to my grammar obsession. My kids would laugh, since they hear my grammar corrections every day. Here’s a few more to add to your list:

    Complement vs. Compliment. Having run a wedding ecommerce site for the last year, this one drives me absolutely crazy. You can’t even begin to imagine how many times I’ve had to correct product descriptions that talked about how a certain wedding favor “complimented” the theme, or how one color “complimented” another.

    Good vs. Well. It’s the old adverb vs. adjective battle here. I’ll never forget the time my son’s 1st grade teacher told me he was doing “real good” with his reading. No thanks to her!

    Adverbs in general. Where have they gone? Uh oh, I’m starting to sound like my mother, so I’d better stop my rant. Guess I’d better work on building up my blog so that I can vent there instead.

    Thanks for the reassurance that I’m not the only one out there who cares about the English language!

    Sharyn

  23. says

    Ah yes definitely agree with this article. I would like to add these:

    •Would of instead of would have and every other word similar
    •looser or loose instead of loser/lose

  24. says

    I have found many people writing ‘sell’ instead of ‘sale’. Or vice versa. i.e. I haven’t had many sells lately, but I would really like to sale something.

  25. says

    I think it’s pretty bad to see bad English on blogs, Facebook and email newsletters. However, it’s particularly hilarious to see when people outsource the content of their blogs to someone in a 3rd world country. I once saw one referring to “pulling your leg” and it said something like “pull your leg on . . .”

  26. Ray K. says

    Sufferin’ Suckotash! I get folks sending me spelling and grammar corrections
    from my newsletters all the time. Most of them aren’t English majors either.
    Once, someone actually printed one out and took the time to correct ALL the errors
    and snail mailed it to me. Was an English teacher…..LOL

  27. Angela Wills says

    Rosalind I’m curious about a grammar issue I face as a fellow Canadian.

    Since you speak to both Canadians and Americans but you’re a Canadian how do you spell words like colour, neighbour, cheque, etc?

    I tend to go with the American spelling because most of my customers (about 90%) but I feel guilty doing it!

  28. says

    Hi Ros,

    Great post and many good comments given on this subject.

    One pet peeve of mine is the misuse of “past and passed” – many of these are
    more grammatical in nature, but still drives me nuts.

    • says

      Hey Jane,

      Funny that you should mention that one. I thought of it as well as I was driving down to the store this morning and meant to add it to the list.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  29. says

    Hello Ros,

    Aahhhh… it’s a relief to see that every language has such (little!) problems.
    Here in Holland it is not different.
    Perfectionisme regarding this we also call Purisme.
    I like perfect use of language too, but I’d like to make one remark:

    It is undoubtedly a fact that people MAKE their language and thus there will always be changements, albeit over a long periode.

    In other words, if the majority of people uses ‘conversate’ in stead of ‘converse’, then (not than 😉 we’ll have to accept this, despite of all resistance.

    Not convinced? Look to the language from couple hundred years ago!
    Things are moving. And KEEP moving. All things – forever!

    Cheers!
    Leo S.

    • says

      Goedendag Leo,

      Je hebt gelijk, maar ik ben nog niet klaar te laten ‘praten’ versus ‘conversate’ gewoon nog niet gaan. Geef het nog 200 jaar.

      groet,
      ros

      P.S. See… even Google translate doesn’t like conversate! :-)

  30. Jenny Horn says

    Hi Ros,

    I was surprised to read the comments about “you” and “me”. I was taught to use “you and I” at school many years ago. The use of “you and me” or “me and you” makes my skin crawl. A rap across the knuckles was inflicted by my English teacher for the use of “me” instead of ” I ” . I have to wonder if different cultures have different rules in relation to grammar as I am not American but Australian. The English I was taught at school was British English. Maybe some of the rules of grammar are different as well as the spelling of some of our words (colour v’s color, gaol v’s jail) .

    Cheers,
    Jenny

  31. says

    Ros, I screwed up. I should have typed “I hope you don’t mind a compliment”.

    I may have screwed this one up with my punctuation.

    Bill (creepy old grandpa)

  32. says

    Ros, I don’t remember hearing you say “ton” on any of your youtube videos, but I am an old guy and my memory is about two seconds.

    I hope you don’t a compliment. You are a very good writer. I have your book “Super Affiliate Handbook” and it is a very good one. I like your writing style.

    My comment was not to pick on you.

    Bill

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      I didn’t take it that way, at all. But I do know that I do it and will watch for the issue in future. I think you made a really good point!!!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  33. says

    Hi Ros

    I’m glad I am not the only one! Spelling and grammar mistakes literally jump out of the screen or page and poke me in the eye. As an Aussie, I like to make up words and speak in strine at the best of times, but there’s a place for it and I am still very passionate about spelling and grammar. I am disappointed that it seems to be falling by the wayside these days, but reassured to find others who still find it to be important.

    I don’t use spell check. I can’t stand it.

    Two words that come to mind are ‘effluent’ and ‘affluent’. In the Aussie version of the comedy TV show, ‘Kath & Kim’, the characters often mixed up words. In one episode, they referred to someone who was ‘affluent’ as being ‘effluent’. In a TV show, it is funny, but in real life it doesn’t do much for one’s credibility.

    Thank you for an entertaining post. It has been a pleasure to read so many well written comments.

    • says

      Hi Kathryn,

      I’ve never come across the ‘effluent / affluent’ thing, so perhaps it’s an accent thing?

      And I agree. Today has been a total pleasure for me… reading through so many intelligent and instructional comments. Joy!! :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

    • says

      Hi Ros

      It’s not so much an accent thing but more like when someone uses ‘then’ instead of ‘than’ or has their words mixed up….otherwise, it’s just plain, good old Aussie humour :)

      Just out of interest, do you shorten your words when you send a text message or do find you have to type out every word properly? I initially found it really hard to bring myself to use text language. When I realised I don’t actually like texting, the quicker I could get it done, the better. There’s a time and place for everything.

      Cheers

      Kathryn

  34. says

    Hi Rosalind,

    A ton is two thousand pounds. How much traffic weighs 2000 pounds? How much money weighs 2000 pounds? I see this all over the Internet.

    I have listened to telephone interviews and hear “you know” over, over, over and over again. This is not something I hear on occasion. It seems to be consistent.

    Thanks for this post. It’s a good one.

    Bill

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I know I have used ‘ton’ as an adjective on many occasions. Now I will make more effort to choose a better descriptor. Thank you!!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  35. John Cirak says

    It’s about time this topic was discussed. But, are you throwing in a few bloopers in the replies to test us? Phil South says “But unless standards improve they will continue irregardless. Ugh.”… irregardless, wasn’t that one of the word corrected in your blog? and in your reply “BTW, you should include Facebook like buttons on your posts… I was already to push one.” shouldn’t that be ‘all ready’
    BTW, I love your style. Your book was the first e-book I bought. Unfortunately I still haven’t done anything about it. Do you coach?
    John

    • says

      Hey John,

      OMG, you are so right about ‘already’. Yikes! But I think ‘irregardless’ was thrown in for effect… or that affect? LOL

      Happy to hear you enjoy my style. If you are interested in advancing your affiliate knowledge, I’d recommend checking out my Academy first. $27/month vs. $499 an hour for one-on-one consulting. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  36. says

    Oh!!! Here’s one that MUST be addressed: “I COULD CARE LESS”.

    Do people not ever think about the phrases and colloquialisms they use? When someone says that, they really mean to say, “I COULDN’T care less.” In other words, “There is no possibility that I could care any less than I do now. My caring has reached it’s absolutely lowest point. My caring has reached the bottom of the barrel and cannot go any lower.”

    If it is possible for you to care LESS, then there is still an element of caring in your thinking, thus leaving the potential of reducing your caring to a lower degree…LESS. If I could care less, that means that I do care!

    Phew! Thanks. I feel better now. Hopefully, some of your readers could care less about this.
    Doug

  37. Jack says

    I see this in MANY articles and comments, the incorrect use of “loose” Example: I’m going to loose some weight. Instead of saying lose. Drives me crazy every time. BTW,
    I noticed the city you live in from some previous posts. I’m up the road in Kelowna. Howdy neighbour (and yes neightbour in Canada has a “u” in it :)

    • says

      Howdy Neighbour!

      Yes, I’ll use the ‘u’ for you, but I typically use American word spellings as they represent the majority of my audience.

      As to ‘loose’… I so hear ya. That one drives me insane. I will definitely write another article on this topic and will be sure to include the lose/loose error. Thanks!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  38. says

    Hi again, Ros,
    You’ll notice that in my previous comment, I left an ‘n’ out of the word “mispronouncing”. You’ll find it in the word ‘goverNment’ 3 lines lower. (:>)
    Doug

  39. says

    Hi Ros,
    Unless I am mistaken, this article has received more response than any other you have written, at least since I have been a member. I have to wonder if some spelling errors are the result of hearing “professional” speakers on the radio and tv constantly mispronoucing words. For example:

    goverment instead of goverNment
    Febuary instead of FebRuary
    AerEate instead of aErate (There is actually a landscaper mispronouncing this word during his commercial; and I have heard it numerous times from others, as well.)

    Interestingly, the “take”/”bring” issue is one that I thought only I was bothered by, but I see that one of your other fans notices it, too. I am not exagerating when I say that in recent years, I have NEVER heard or read those words used properly. (By the way, I recently received an e-mail containing the word “egsagerate”)

    To make a long story short…oh…too late. Sorry.
    Doug

  40. says

    Hi Ros. Great post – irregardless of what anyone might say! (Easily amused.)

    Aside from the grammatical errors, there are some quirky cultural language differences. I “take” a shower, however, my adorable Canadian husband will go and “have” a shower. (That actually makes more sense.) When I’m done with my shower I have to be to work “by” 7:30. He has to be there “for” 8:00. And please, I don’t need to know the PRO-gress on the repair work on the ROOOF. I guess that’s aboouut it for now! (Who knew we could have so much fun with language!)

    Cheers,
    Laurie

    • says

      Hi Laurie,

      Too funny!

      I pick up and use accents so easily that I sometimes have to prove that I’m Canadian. “It’s all about the progress on the roof, eh?” usually answers the question. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  41. says

    Somebody mentioned Bush but didn’t bring up his chief faux pas. You would think the President would learn how to say “nuclear” instead of “nucular”. If I were his speechwriter, I would have written the text as “new-clear”. Maybe he would have taken the clue.

    Another pet peeve of mine is that here in Florida, many members of a particular ethnic persuasion seem to have added a new term to Ebonics. They insist on turning “ask” into “aks” as in, “He axed me for directions.” Fingernails on a blackboard! Do they still make blackboards? If not, I need to change my metaphor.

    • says

      Hi Lou,

      I have a blackboard in my office, if that makes you feel any better. :-)

      Ebonics is a new term for me, thank you!

      At some point they’ll have to stop axing folks for directions — pretty hard to get an answer from d.b.’s.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  42. says

    Hi Ros,

    wow, I’m so with you and I really don’t wanna know how many mistakes I make – I try hard not to but because English is not my native language I might sometimes make mistakes because I simply don’t know or because the online dictionary finds vocabulary even native speakers never heard (LOL) – yes, had that already 😉
    I’m always thankful if people are a bit lenient with me. I promise, I try hard. Still, native speaker or not we always should try to proof-read and take care of our grammar, etc. Some people asked me why I do not make a blog in my own language. The reason is easy – all my friends are from the all over the world and I write all day in English. Another reason is that I like the challenge, that I love to be able to communicate with people all over the world!

  43. says

    Looks like the worst offenses have been covered here. Can’t imagine how some of these people managed to get through school. Great post.

  44. says

    A-bloody-MEN! Shocked to see over 90% of my blogging community not get this simple difference between its and it’s. People I highly admire and respect too. Boggles the mind.

    I once tweeted tongue-in-cheekily a few months ago:

    -You’re awesome.
    – Your awesomeness blinds me.

    – It’s awesome.
    – Its awesomeness defies imagination.

    Another one? “Should of” — > what in blazes name is that? The term is {should have} so it is {should’ve} not {should of}. Should of what?

    /rant over

    :) Happy Tuesday! Tia

  45. Gene says

    I couldn’t agree more. I barely passed English in high school, but I’m still amazed at the misuse of the words and phrases you commented on ( I know I ended with a preposition). I think it’s a sad commentary on the level of education kids are getting today. I’m always yelling at the computer as I read comments on news stories and video on YouTube about the use of “there” for “their” or “they’re”. Something else I go off on is “I could care less” when the speaker/writer means they’re indifferent. “There” really not aware of what “their” saying.

  46. says

    Hi, Ros!

    Bugs me, too! Speaking of which…

    “To” and “too” (“two” too!) are others often misused. Many of these grammar mistakes are made when folks are relying on “spell check” or “auto-fill” features on mobile devices. Gotta read it back and proof-read regardless (!) of our confidence in the “helpful” editing software like WhiteSmoke. (That’s another one – “are” and “our.”) Keeps the human element in there, huh?

    The folks that amaze me are blind. Some use voice-recognition software, and others use brail keyboards – incredible!

    Thanks for prodding folks to write well.

    Cheers until next time,
    Cristin

    • Gene says

      I know this post was nearly a year ago, but it reminded me of something I saw a month or so ago on the rear window of a car. They were expressing their sadness over the passing of a loved one and said “you will always be in are hearts”. I thought “They’re displaying their ignorance all over town” and then I had to laugh.

      Gene

  47. says

    Thanks for the great article, Ros! My pet peeve is the confusion of “I” and “me” both in converstion and writing. It seems that many people feel that using “me” is somehow wrong so they get rid of it altogether. As in,”This course is being taught by Liz and I” instead of “Liz and me.”

    • says

      That whole set (I/me, she/her, he/him, we/us, maybe more that I can’t think of right now) really grate on my “reading nerves” too.

      I’m glad you’ve pinned this in your sidebar as a “recommended post”.

      Thanks!

  48. says

    Hi Rosalind,

    It’s refreshing to read your very ‘smart’ reminder about our grammar and punctuation bloopers. When I see these mistakes (and all too often, I’m afraid) it’s a real turn-off! Usually I click off the page if there are too many of these. Sometimes the spell-check doesn’t catch everything so it pays to understand just a few basics such as you’ve listed here for us.

    Thanks!

    Pam

  49. says

    I, too, am a stickler for proper grammar. I think one reason people might confused its/it’s and they’re/their is that Word flags contractions incorrectly. Sometimes I have to fight with it to allow me to use the correct form!
    A fun book for anyone who loves grammar is “The Great Typo Hunt”. It’s about a man who travels the US correcting grammar mistakes and typos on signs.

  50. says

    Hi Ros,

    I happen to be one of those ESL (English as a second language) blogger. Actually English is my third language. In addition, I learned English from the British, as well as other non-native English speakers like myself. I now live in America. Therefore, I can get pretty confused at times.

    I have noticed that Americans tend to have a problem with certain words with letter “e” or “a”. This is, I think, because of the way they speak. An good example is “accept” and “except” as in your post. Another frequent one is “affect” and “effect”. Yet another is “than” and “then” (you covered that too).

    • says

      Yes Jim,

      That is another one of mine… should of, could of, would of…. etc. and as you point out they mean the shortened versions of ‘should have’, ‘could have’….

  51. says

    Ros, Great Post! English is NOT my first language and I am aware I do many mistakes when writing, but you’re incredibly accurate with this list. Even I pick these up and indeed it looks very poor on behalf of the writer. Love your posts always insightful :-)

    • says

      Hey Ernesto,

      When I read your writing, I hear your voice which is always a delight to my ears as you use such beautiful turns of phrases. I’m rather envious of your tri-linguality… is that even a word? :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  52. says

    Rosalind,

    You already covered my grammar pet peeve – using “your” when “you’re” should be used. I see this mistake being made all of the time.

  53. Kimberly says

    Ros,

    I could not have written your latest post any better. The sad truth is that I find many news and media reporting people using incorrect language and it drives me crazy! By no means am I an English teacher, but “ain’t” and “He got arrested” are like nails on a chalkboard for me.

    • says

      Kimberly,

      Are you serious? You heard a broadcaster use the word “ain’t”?

      I would have called the station and implored the producer to have the abuser fired! :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  54. Larry says

    Unbelievable!:-)! Though I’m light years away from the planet “Perfect Grammar”, it’s nice to read that someone else on Earth understands the difference between “your” and “you’re”.

    I Love your stuff. Please keep it up!

    Best wishes,

    Larry

  55. says

    As a former teacher, this kind of thing grates on my nerves as well.

    As a marketer, it takes away a little credibility.

    I think I need to go lay down 😉

    • says

      Hi Jim,

      You are way too nice. Poor grammar and spelling in a sales letter completely destroys a marketer’s credibility in my mind. If I flinch while reading the sales copy, I can’t imagine how I’ll feel while trying to read the book. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  56. says

    OMG… I thought I was the only one! What about this phrase “self-nurture yourself”

    If the word “self” is in there, you don’t need to add “yourself”

  57. says

    You have brought up the real issue of how the information age is corrupting proper grammar. Everyone has access to the news and internet, not just the affluent. So to maintain an audience the language has to include slang, which is usually full of incorrect grammar. But I believe it is our responsibility to maintain correct use of the English language. This is especially true for anyone in the broadcast news genre.

    • says

      Slang and incorrect grammar ain’t the same thing!

      As a writer, my sacred trust is not to uphold the subcultural standards of “the affluent.” It is to communicate, inspire, move, sell, inform, teach, or entertain.

      That calling requires that I use the right language for the right job — proper grammar to ensure clarity and the specialized language that’s appropriate for the context.

  58. Marc says

    These types of mistakes are doing a lot of damage because they are so widespread. Kids reading from the Internet absorb these mistakes without any awareness that the language is incorrect. It’s even happening to me. Even though I know better, my subconscious is quietly absorbing these mistakes because they are so prevalent and I find myself making these errors when I type rapidly.

    • says

      Hi Marc,

      You have an excellent point that I hadn’t considered. Perhaps we should start a ‘grammar police’ movement to protect susceptible young minds from language pollution on the internet. Site gets taken down after 3 notices that go uncorrected. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  59. says

    I was beginning to think I was the only person that was bothered by this; I guess not.

    I have to watch my writing sometimes when my thoughts get ahead of my typing fingers.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Want to bet many will not even attempt to correct their mistakes?

  60. says

    Great post. Here’s one that makes everyone look dumb, including producers of many packaged products. It is the misuse of “less” and “few”.

    Less is singular whereas few is plural. We have less money and fewer dollars. You will commonly find reference to “less calories” when it should be “fewer calories”.

    • says

      Hi Frank,

      You are so right. Looks like I will have to write another post to include your suggestions as well as so many others I’ve received this morning.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  61. says

    Great post. Like you I get almost apoplectic when I am exposed to some of the grammatical mistakes that are all too common these days. Before I retired I worked as a cook and worked with mostly young people who, for want of a better phrase, tortured the English Language. They called me “Conan the Grammarian’ when I would ‘comment’ on phrases like “her and me went shopping yesterday”. Then there is the issue of the common misunderstanding of the difference between “bring” and “take”. Most confusing to me as I know that some of them had actually been exposed to “Sesame Street”. Thanks for bringing a chuckle to my morning.

    P.S. I have been a long time reader of your blog and recently purchased your “handbook”. I am now learning about blogging and how I might be able to augment my meager income while being able to express my concerns about energy and how we, as a species, might be able to solve the problem of diminishing fossil resources that have turned out to be, at best, a mixed blessing.
    Thanks
    Ed

    • says

      Edward,

      Thank YOU for the morning chuckle. “Conan the Grammarian” indeed. Love it!

      Took a quick look at your blog and it’s great. REAL information which Google loves.
      I’d suggest adding at least one graphic to each post and using bolder sub-headings to break up the text. Too, you might want to use the ‘more’ tag to get folks to click through to read the rest of the article, bringing them deeper into the site and to improve your rankings with Google.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  62. says

    Lol… so true… I think for the most part, I am not guilty, but I am bound to have slipped up somewhere.

    I do have some pet peeves though and these are usually in speaking rather than spelling.

    Filim – instead of Film

    ecspecially (what is that about?) – instead of especially

    Also just a possible addit to point 7

    There / Their / They’re – They are over ‘there’ at the river and ‘they’re’ getting ready to go canoeing in their canoe.

    (I know it’s superfluous, because what else would they be going canoeing in… right?) Just wanted to add the other ‘their’ in there. :)

    Really enjoyed the article. Thanks Ros

  63. says

    Oh goodness me you’ve struck a nerve there. I too am whipped up into a fine furious froth over some of these howlers. Illiterate word munching is permissible in Facebook comments from teenagers, although as a parent I weep over their schooling. Lax standards in literacy and advances in technology are to blame I feel. There are so many other examples. I object to the misuse of the word “of”, as in “could of” instead of “could have”. There’s really no call for that kind of lazy writing. I know you should write as you speak but really, there are limits. :)

    The “there/their/they’re” mistake is so forehead smackingly common. I think a lot of it is that these words are phonetically similar and spelled correctly (although incorrectly used) and so pass the spell checker test but people have become lazy proofers.

    It’s okay to make up words, language must evolve, but I think a lot of the time people think they are “talking posh” and litter their prose with poshisms and half assed stabs at using longer words to appear more intellectual. But unless standards improve they will continue irregardless. Ugh.

    • says

      Hi Phil,

      Shouldn’t half assed be hypenated? LOL

      You write beautifully, so it’s no wonder you get ‘whipped up into a fine furious froth’ over those errors.

      I’m with you on ‘of’ vs. ‘have’. Another of my pet peeves is ‘got’ instead of ‘have’.

      BTW, you should include Facebook like buttons on your posts… I was ready to push one. :-)

      Cheers,
      Ros

  64. says

    They must get their cue from TV commercials: yesterday, within about an hour I heard, “they’ve got another THING coming”, and saw “water-repellAnt”. And those are the folks with the big budgets!

  65. says

    Hi Ross, I certainly can agree that bad grammar really gets my goat! I often chuckle at posts hat are obviously written by someone who needs to go back to the high school :)

    However my BIGGEST bug ‘in regards to grammar’ comes from the ever growing amount of really poorly written comments that appear on my blogs. I am sure they are written by some eager but under paid outsourced help.

    I often follow the links and email the blog owners and show them the type of comments they are paying for.

    And white smoke rocks I like how they give you a great free trial of the product too…

    Cheers for the share & hope that you Trip planning goes well 😉

    • says

      Hi Tony,

      I hope those other bloggers appreciate your efforts.

      I sometimes peruse the comments that end up in spam simply for amusement and try to figure out how anyone could build (or buy) a comment-spinner that churns out crap like this:

      “This topic was incredibly beneficial and effectively created. I approach to accomplish some much more investigation on this. Thanks for expressing this timely details. We need to have a lot more such as this.”

      And we need a lot less of that! :-)
      Cheers,
      Ros

    • B, Bisch says

      ” chuckle at posts hat are obviously written by someone who needs to go back to the high school :)ummm “chuckle at posts HAT are obviously written…”

      I still do read the newspapers, but what drives me up the wall, is the news stories that appear on the Internet, through the News Stations. A spelling mistake can happen, ( if one does not have spell check) but when the whole article is so befuddled that one is wondering what was meant by the time you get to the end or the story???
      I do make mistakes but I do try to read what I wrote before I hit the “send to” button.
      Ok, I will hop off my soap box, and go back to reading the SUPER AFFILIATE HANDBOOK

  66. says

    Hi Ross,
    How about ICONIC? Defined as “very famous and well known, and believed to represent a particular idea”

    So how come Lady Gaga’s latest hair style is Iconic??

    Nick

  67. says

    Your points are well taken Ros…

    My mother, who was a retired high school English teacher would have had a field day with her red pen on the Internet. It seems that many people are in such a hurry to make a buck on the Net that basic language skills go by the wayside. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot :-)!

    All the best,

    Jon

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