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Thread: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

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    English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    There are a number of pet peeves out there and I am amazed to find how few of them are used on this forum. However, it might be useful to some to start a thread about the more common peeves so people are aware of them. These pet peeves can be verbal or written and anyone is welcome to post their own personal ones.

    If someone on the Russian side is willing to, maybe the Russian version of this thread could be started as well. There has to be a number of common errors people make when speaking or writing in Russian which just annoy you to death!

    If you are not familiar with the term "pet peeve" it is ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_peeve
    Pet peeve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/url]] a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it. Examples may be poor table manners, sloppy kitchen hygiene, smoking, grammatical errors in written passages, inconsiderate driving or lazy co-workers, and loud gum smacking.
    This article is VERY long however it covers a number of English words which are used incorrectly.

    My mother's biggest pet peeve is a verbal one. When she is on the phone and is then placed on hold and the person comes back on the line an says, "What was your name again?" Her name did not change while she was on hold. It is still the same as when she gave it to the person before she was placed on hold. My mom will respond, "My name was and still is...." This always confuses the poor person.
    Last edited by Lampada; January 3rd, 2011 at 03:32 PM.
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    Re: English Pet Peeves

    When people use "ax" instead of "ask".

    Scott

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    Re: English Pet Peeves

    There are lots...

    The inability to tell they're, there and their apart.

    Writing 'standart' when they mean 'standard'.

    Using 'I could care less' instead of 'I couldn't care less'.

    As for errors I frequently notice when native speakers of Russian use English, there's two:

    Saying 'we went to the cinema with Linda' when the 'we' in English actually should be 'I'. There were no other people apart from Linda and the speaker. Before I learned that it was the proper way to express it in Russian, I frequently wondered who else had been with them but did not get mentioned when native speakers of Russian said something to that effect.

    For the other I hope CoffeeCup will forgive me for quoting his / her post:

    Here is one specific to Russia point to add.
    Russian permits putting all kinds of things in an attributive position, just as if the phrase 'specific to Russia' in this example were a simple adjective. I have noticed this frequently when reading Russian, and it tends to bleed over into English and German, where you cannot do that. It should be 'here is one point to add which is specific to Russian'.

    Robin
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Further vs. Farther:

    This is one that I am guilty of! My mom caught me the other day using the wrong one

    Use farther to talk about physical distance and further to talk about metaphorical, or figurative distance.

    Further is used as in furthermore or additional. Some people only use "furthermore" when they mean "in addition" instead of simply "further" and this helps them to remember the rule. “I'm tired, and furthermore, we are out of chocolate."

    You can also remember the difference by remembering that farther has the word "far" in it and refers to something "far" away. "The farther away from the storm the quieter the lightning/thunder."

    I found an online quiz for those of you who would like practice.
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Use farther to talk about physical distance and further to talk about metaphorical, or figurative distance.
    I took these from a dictionary:

    They walked a little further.
    His farm is located further away from Riobamba than his brother’s.
    They’ve never been further south than San Diego.

    They are definitely wrong, then?

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Can vs. Will or May AND Could vs. Would

    This one caught my eye this morning with a posting "can you correct my mistakes?" and my first thought was of course "sure I CAN correct them but do you really want me to and Will I?" Those are different questions. Especially as ya'll know I have NO skills in Russian

    But seriously, can and will and could and would are two different things.... Yet how many times have we all said, "Can you sent me an email?" or "Can I call you later?" We are all guilty of this one at one time or another!

    Can and could simply bringing into question the person's ability to do what you are asking.
    Will, may and would, bring into question the intention to actually do the task.

    Funny Examples:
    Statement: "You can't do this."
    The answer: "I must be able to, because I did."

    Question: "Can I go to the bathroom?"
    The answer: "Well, I certainly hope so!"

    Question: "Can I ask you a question?"
    The answer: "It seems you can." OR "You just did."

    Question: "Can you marry me?"
    The answer: By now, you can supply a good comeback for this one by now...hehehe
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    Re: English Pet Peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by fortheether
    When people use "ax" instead of "ask".

    Scott

    must agree and often correct my children. They look at me funny. But mom that IS what I said. No honey you ax wood. not a question. LOL

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    I loath when a person say irregardless. there is no ir about it. it is regardless. PERIOD. UGH!

    What is also amazing to me ... is that dictionaries are now putting "made" up words into it. Thus they become "real" somehow regardless of proper usage.

    Also another big thing here in the states is Ebonics. Really? I do understand culture, but come on!!!!

    There is a proper way to speak when in the company of others, that are NOT close family and friends. Especially in business.

    I will admit my speaking and writing is no where near perfect. However, I would like to be corrected. I do not wish to be a mindless idiot.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    All words began their life as made-up words at some time or other. What should be wrong with that?

    There is a proper way to speak in every kind of society, but while you shouldn't use very colloquial language when doing business, likewise you wouldn't use business language when dealing with friends and family. There's a place for every kind of language, as long as there are others who share the same language.

    Robin
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    Re: English Pet Peeves

    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker
    It should be 'here is one point to add which is specific to Russian'.
    I believe CoffeeCup meant "Russia" (what he wrote), not "Russian". I liked Johanna's correction: "Here is one Russia-specific point to add". Is it not okay?
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by E-learner
    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Use farther to talk about physical distance and further to talk about metaphorical, or figurative distance.
    I took these from a dictionary:

    They walked a little further.
    His farm is located further away from Riobamba than his brother’s.
    They’ve never been further south than San Diego.

    They are definitely wrong, then?
    Absolutely. Well, at least I'm pretty sure. I would use farther instead of further on all three instances.

    HOWEVER... while researching your question I did stumble upon an interesting paper some college student did about these two words and lie/lay. It appears that farther/further thing might be an American English thing and that "farther" is no longer used that much outside of the U.S. at all!

    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/course/76-451/watts.html[/url]]Though it is possible to argue, primarily based on much higher frequency, that farther still serves a distinct purpose in American English, the argument is much harder for the United Kingdom and Australia. Farther is so rare that it clearly cannot be serving an important distinct purpose. Farther is less specialized in these regions, seeming to serve only as a limited alternative to further. In American English, the limited specialization of farther creates the impression of a distinct word, but further can always be used. Not one case of a noun following farther exists in the American corpora, but almost every case of farther can be matched with at least one nearly identical instance using further.
    Here is another tricky example I found:
    “I'm further along in my book than you are in yours.” You could think of it as a physical distance through the pages and use farther, or as a figurative distance through the story and use further.

    Bitpicker... you seem to be the expert on etymology... have anything to add to this one???
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by emeraldeyez
    I loath when a person say irregardless. there is no ir about it. it is regardless. PERIOD. UGH!
    You are most correct with this one! Even very educated people will say irregardless and it surprises me everytime I hear it!

    Quote Originally Posted by emeraldeyez
    Also another big thing here in the states is Ebonics. Really? I do understand culture, but come on!!!!
    This one is interesting as well. It used to be that if you spoke like you were from the ghetto, the projects, wrong side of the tracks or some sort of term like that, it was a bad thing and one strived to correct this and improve. Then all of the sudden it was "poof" it's Ebonics and it is perfectly acceptable to not speak anywhere close to proper English.

    Quote Originally Posted by emeraldeyez
    I will admit my speaking and writing is no where near perfect. However, I would like to be corrected. I do not wish to be a mindless idiot.
    Well...umm... I think my name tops the "no where near perfect" list here for native speakers!
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    I never was able to understand how could native speakers of English write "then" instead of "than" and vice versa. Why do you do that? Do they sound identical?
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Quote Originally Posted by emeraldeyez
    I loath when a person say irregardless. there is no ir about it. it is regardless. PERIOD. UGH!
    My father used to say this despite my parents being strict grammar police (ain't is not a word, etc.)
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I never was able to understand how could native speakers of English write "then" instead of "than" and vice versa. Why do you do that? Do they sound identical?
    I've never seen this. Perhaps a typo, either that or EXTREMRE ignorance bordering on illiteracy.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    English Pet Peeves
    This expression will make no sense to a lot of people. With the exception of one or two people, only native speakers on the forum will know the word "peeve" - it is definitely extracurricular. Add the word "pet" in front and I think we've lost everybody but native speakers...

    I have noticed that some of us English speakers use expressions which are too advanced for the English level of most people on the forum. I'm trying to avoid the "native-specific" expressions that I know make no sense to anybody but the initiated. At work I have to be very careful with this because I work with Indian people who just ignore what they don't understand (i.e. everything that is not in plain, clear English. Plus it alienates others too, like French colleagues etc.)

    We already know that Olya's written English is first class; another really person whose English is superb is Translationsnmru. I'm sure I forgot somebody but practically never see any mistakes by either of these two.
    Bitpicker is one of those people whose English is better than that of most native speakers (grammar, vocab etc).. This drives Brits crazy, particularly if the speaker is German! Haha beat them at their own language!

    Anyway, I agree with emeraldz; "IRREGARDLESS" is a really ghastly "word"! There should be a fine on people who say that!!


    Whose and whom etc
    etc can be really tricky (I'm often not completely sure about this) It's a very common mistake although you can often avoid the risk by writing the the sentence in a different way. In spoken English it's not used a lot.

    There are lots of speech patterns in British(?) English that I really don't like and which make no sense or are grammatically incorrect. The only one I can think of right now is "He was sat at the bar". This sounds really bad to me. I'm sure it ought to be "He sat" or "He was sitting".

    Something I like about American English is that it's quite straightforward - Some of the clever wordplaying and games of understatement that Brits can never resist are replaced by plain to-the-point sentences which an be really refreshing. In British English texts are full of words which take the edge off the message such as "quite" or "rather" to the point where you are not quite sure what the speakers' actual opinion is. American English doesn't use this so much and I like that.
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    I never was able to understand how could native speakers of English write "then" instead of "than" and vice versa. Why do you do that? Do they sound identical?
    I've never seen this. Perhaps a typo, either that or EXTREMRE ignorance bordering on illiteracy.
    Oh... this is VERY common and I, ummm, sperk... ummm.... I have a hard time with this one!!!

    I am not certain if it is because I was never taught as a child that there was a difference or if in my poor mixed up brain either word sounds fine to me when I say the sentence.

    However, to answer your question, Olya, when I say either then or than both of them sound natural to me and correct. It is not as if I cringe when I hear it and go, "Oh no, I am using the wrong word here." Sort of like effect and affect. I have to think about those two as well.

    And sperk..just so ya know it is not just me...
    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Than-and-Then[/url]]Many times people misuse the words "than" and "then." Whether it's because the words are pronounced similarly in some areas or because people simply don't know the difference between them, it is important to know in which situations to choose each word. Follow this guide below, and then you'll be using these words better than anyone you know!
    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Grammar_Mishaps__Then_vs_Than[/url]] A common mistake
    Then and than are often confused in the English language. I'll give you a basic breakdown of the two terms, when to use them and a few examples
    Quote Originally Posted by [url
    http://www.petpeeveoftheday.com/2009/05/then-vs-than.html[/url]] May 14, 2009, "Then" vs. "Than"
    You know what pisses me off? – The incorrect usage of “then” and “than.” Maybe I should declare a day of the week as “Grammar PPOTD” because the grammar peeves just keep coming! But as usual, I’m here to help those confused souls who don’t know the difference in how to use “then” and “than.”
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    English Pet Peeves
    This expression will make no sense to a lot of people. With the exception of one or two people, only native speakers on the forum will know the word "peeve" - it's definitely extracurricular. Add the word "pet" in front and I think you've lost everybody but native speakers... I think we must explain at the top of the thread what it is about.
    Johanna... this is at the very top of the thread in the first posting... please let me know what is not clear about it or how it should be clearer...thanks!
    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    If you are not familiar with the term "pet peeve" it is ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiki [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_peeve"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet_peeve[/url]] a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others may find it. Examples may be poor table manners, sloppy kitchen hygiene, smoking, grammatical errors in written passages, inconsiderate driving or lazy co-workers, and loud gum smacking.
    Also, the title of the thread was changed from just "pet peeves" to "pet peeves and common mistakes" in an effort to help clarify.
    maxmixiv likes this.
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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I have noticed that some of us English speakers use expressions which are too advanced for the English level of most people on the forum.
    Personally, I like that. To read bland, plain English is no fun. And for many it's no fun to write either.
    Some of the clever wordplaying and games of understatement that Brits can never resist
    That's what I rather like.
    In British English texts are fully of words which take the edge off the message such as "quite" or "rather"
    I love these words and I have to resist an urge to put them in almost every sentence.

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    Re: English Pet Peeves & Common Mistakes

    Quote Originally Posted by rockzmom
    Here is another tricky example I found:
    “I'm further along in my book than you are in yours.” You could think of it as a physical distance through the pages and use farther, or as a figurative distance through the story and use further.
    Yes. That was why I omitted this one from dictionary examples:
    "His hands moved further down her back."

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