It was comforting to find I'm not the only gal in the world who has nitpicky misuses of the English language that drive her batty.
In the days since I've written that post, I have found that my pet peeves are many. A few I missed on the first go round:
1. It's y'all, y'all. The incorrect abbreviations of y'all are everywhere. The apostrophe contracts the word you, so it belongs between the y and the all. Often seen as yall, ya'll (contraction of ya all, I suppose?) and even yal'l. Maybe that one was a typo?
2. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. (See: The King and I.) The abbreviation etc. stands for et cetera, a Latin phrase meaning "and other things." Sometimes mispronounced ECK cetera or abbreviated ect. I warned you I was that cool kid in Latin class for five years. Hang on; there's more coming.
3. Vice-versa. Not vice-a-versa. This means "conversely" or "the other way around."
4. Just breathe. Breath is a noun; breathe is a verb. Your advice to someone panicking should either be "deep breaths" or "just breathe," not "just breath."
5. One last comma. Perhaps this is just a style preference, but to me it stands out as an error. There is no need for a comma before the "and" when you're listing a series of things. In other words, it's appropriate to ask for "apples, bananas and oranges" rather than plopping another comma down after "bananas." Hey, I said this list was petty. After years of proofing for school and for a living, though, I'm very mindful of it. I may throw unnecessary commas out sometimes, but never before an "and."
6. Which and that. The words "which" and "that" are not always interchangeable. Visually speaking, though, it drives me crazy to see "which" used without a comma. Grammar Girl explains it all beautifully here, but my point boils down to: if you're going to use "which," you need to put a comma before it. Well, not if you're using a preposition beforehand. (Think "in which," etc.) Okay, end rant.
Think I'm totally neurotic yet?
Disclaimer: Plenty of bright people make mistakes. I certainly do. As a matter of fact, I pronounced archetype "arch-a-type" for years. As in the golden arches, not Noah's boat. Eep.
I pronounced breathy "breathe-y" in English class and discotheque (this is really terrible) "disc-oth-kway" in Physics while reading a word problem. (That is what years of Latin pronunciation will do to you, friends. Thankfully, a few years of French straightened me right out - but not in time.) Nothing like a room of laughing peers to correct your pronunciation!
I'm not great with punctuation inside quotation marks. The look of a question mark after a quotation mark rubs me the wrong way, so I often rework sentences to avoid that. See here to learn about what I mean.
A commenter on my previous post pointed out something I do, though she may not have realized it. I use ellipses quite often. (An ellipsis is the fabulous little collection of three dots used when you're trailing off, as I do so often...) Evidently spaces belong between the periods? I'm so set in my ways that the change looks too awkward to me.
For that matter, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop typing two spaces after a period. I sure am trying, though. Darn middle school typing class! I am thankful for the ability to type 100+ words a minute, as it makes my type-happy life a lot easier. My fingers work faster than my brain, though, and I may never outgrow the double spacing ingrained in me in keyboarding class... (Oops, there's that ellipsis again!)
Five On Friday!
10 hours ago