Today is National Grammar Day. In honour of National Grammar Day, and because grammar is my greatest joy in life, I will give a brief and incomplete list of my favourite grammar- and spelling-related pet peeves, followed by a much shorter list of grammatical mistakes that I’m actually okay with.
- Internal pluralisation. Wrong: passer-by’s, court martials, iPod Touches. Right: passers-by, courts martial, iPods Touch.
- Reflexive vs. objective pronouns. Wrong: “You can talk to Peter or myself during the break for clarification.” Right: “You can talk to Peter or me during the break for clarification.”
- Subject-object disagreement. Wrong: “She say that there’s a problem.” Right: “She says that there’s a problem.” (Usually this one is just a result of failing to check what you wrote after the fact. It’s still really bothersome to me.)
- Apostrophes for pluralisation. Wrong: “I bought two carton’s of milk.” Right: “I bought two cartons of milk.”
- Using the past instead of the subjunctive. Wrong: “If I was the president …” Right: “If I were the president …”
- Using the wrong homonym. Your/you’re, two/to/too, there/they’re/their, whether/weather, past/passed, hear/here. It’s not that hard.
- Modals. Wrong: should of, would of, could of. Right: should have, would have, could have.
The following are two grammatical mistakes that I’m actually okay with. They are technically wrong, but I don’t get upset about them. Probably because they’re both restrictions that were placed on the English language because neither can be translated back into Latin.
- Ending a sentence with a preposition. This is something up with which I can put.
- Split infinitives. If you want to boldly go there, that’s fine with me.