My Pet Hates

There are a few pet hates I have when it comes to people who beat the English language with their tongues (or pens) and don’t actually realise it …

Pet hate #1:

‘I could of done it better.’ or ‘She would of cried.’ or ‘He should of been nicer.’

It’s never, ever ‘of’ following ‘could’, ‘would’, or ‘should’. It’s have. The mistake seems to have come from the contraction of ‘would + have’ to ‘would’ve’ which can (I’m shuddering here) sound like ‘would of’ but it’s not. It’s always, always should/would/could have.

Pet hate #2:

‘I like to write alot.’

Think of it as having lots of words – it’s ‘a lot’. Two words, not one. Ever. There are a lot of words in ‘a lot’.

Pet hate #3:

‘Thankyou for the grammar tips.’

I’ve debated this more than once, actually. ‘Thank you’ is two words, though I’ve had many people try to convince me it’s one. No one has succeeded.

Pet hate #4:

Australians who use American spelling. I know it’s hard to avoid, I really do. But don’t. Please don’t.

Pet hate #5:

‘Youse were all really funny.’

‘You’ is both singular and plural. In some languages, like Italian, there is a different ‘you’ for the singular and plural (tu and voi respectively) however in English it is the same regardless of how many ‘you’ individuals are being included. If you must, use ‘you both’ or ‘you all’ if you want to identify more than one ‘you’.

Pet hate #6:

The ‘practice’ and ‘practise’ debate … the difference between the two are explained well in this article, but here’s a summary:

Practice is  a noun: I enjoy grammar practice every Wednesday.

Practise is a verb: I need to practise my grammar.

Quiet admission? I muddle the two sometimes, too!

Pet hate #7:

‘Where are you going to?’ or ‘Which town is he from?’

Actually, it’s wrong to say this is a pet hate because we all do it – it’s become common to language, particularly when we speak. What’s wrong with those sentences? They end with a preposition. They should be ‘To where are you going?’ and ‘From which town is he?’ but let’s face it – talking like that makes us sound a tad silly!

Pet hate #8:

‘Lets get going’ or ‘let’s don’t be late’

Firstly, ‘let’s’ is a contraction of ‘let’ and ‘us’, so there must be an apostrophe: let’s.

Secondly, saying ‘let’s don’t be late’ is like saying ‘let us do not be late’. Would you say the latter? No? Then don’t say the former. Technically speaking, the correct way to use this combination of words is ‘Don’t let’s be late’, which becomes ‘Do not let us be late’. Makes sense now, doesn’t it? Alternately you might say ‘Let’s not be late’.

Pet hate #9:

Orientated.

You mean ‘oriented’.

Pet  hate #10:

‘It’s definately going to rain today.’

Definitely. DefinItely. DEFINITELY.

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13 comments on “My Pet Hates

  1. Pingback: Grammar for Writers « dodging commas

  2. Pet hate #7 – now I don’t mean to quibble, Stephanie dear, but the “to” is completely extraneous. If one is going, then one is moving in a forward direction, so “Where are you going?” is quite sufficient. I am totally down with the nasty preposition endings – ugh!
    Here’s another one you’ll appreciate – the ugly use of “off” instead of “from”. For example, “I am getting a new bicycle off my father”. There is a difference between “getting off” and “getting from” and I think it’s important for a child to know, don’t you?

    Your grammar-loving neighbour

  3. Once upon a time, I would often write “alot”. I cringe everytime I think about it!

    I definately agree with Pet Hate #1. “Could/would/should of” is enough to make me shudder!

    You nailed a good deal of my Pet Hates, actually! Touche!

    (P.S. Did you notice I spelt “definitely” wrong? Just messin’ with you!)

    • Wow! I must admit that I’ve never actually “researched” it and after seeing this link I’ve looked into it … fascinating and I apologise to any who were disorientated(?) by my pet hate #9! Thanks!

      • I was very confused about it a while back because I was saying one thing and hearing another, which is why I ended up looking it up. So you’re not the only one! You can still be peeved by ‘orientated’, they are your pet hates after all!

  4. To repeat a line which, in some form, is often (but apparently erroneously) attributed to Sir Winston:

    This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put!

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