Grammar Nails on Chalkboard

I received a nice note from Jo Anne, who stopped by here last week. She’d read a post or two about grammar peeves, and she brought up one of her own – the misuse of the word “myself” in place of the word “me.” Example: “Jane and myself agree that proper grammar use is important.”

Maybe some people think it makes them sound smart to use the word “myself” when it’s obvious the words “I” or “me” belong. But unless your name is Myself, stick with a simple, and correct, pronoun.

According to my Harbrace College Handbook, revised thirteenth edition, intensive/reflexive pronouns “often refer to a noun or pronoun already mentioned in the sentence. They always follow the person or thing to which they refer.” Repeat: They always follow the person or thing to which they refer. That means using “myself” in place of “I” or “me” is just wrong. The book calls out the rule even further, using a cute little “Caution” note/icon, saying this: “Do not use myself or me in place of a compound subject.” And it gives a little example, phrased much like the one I provided above, and crosses out “myself” and adds “I.”

So what’s your biggest grammar peeve? I’m a bit tired of the misuse of then/than. I see it at all levels of education, and I nearly thrashed my child for writing an email that contained “then” where “than” should have gone.

How often do you run into grammar issues with your clients/friends/family?

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  • Devon Ellington March 2, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    People who can’t tell the difference between “it’s” and “its” set my teeth on edge.

  • writtenexpressions March 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Misuse of I/me, she/her, he/him and that lot. Up until recently I’ve just been annoyed by it on TV and film, but I’ve noticed it sneaking into books of late too. UGH!

    “Allow myself to introduce . . . myself.” -Austin Powers

  • Angie Ledbetter March 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Don’t like the than/then one, the overuse of “that,” or the you/you’re, its/it’s snafus.

    Featuring a little grammar quiz today too. Must be something about Mondays. 🙂

  • Leigh March 2, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    There are a lot of little grammar issues that bug me, but what truly upsets me is when clients don’t always know proper grammar and then accuse you of making mistakes in their projects.

    I would not mind at all if a client approached me after a project and asked me to explain why something was written in a certain way or why I used it’s instead of its or then instead of than. But I’ve had a few people who were absolutely annoyed and angry with me for using proper grammar, because they had their own rules in their heads and thought that I was the one who was wrong. I’ve even had people e-mail me to ask for portions of their money back because of “mistakes” I had made – then I have to explain grammar rules to them and try to diffuse a tense situation.

  • Gabriella F. March 2, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you for “revealing” the “myself” problem! I’ve noticed is so much, and I hate, hate, hate it! I’ve even noticed that a few writers in novels have also slyly mentioned the misuse of “myself,”, too. Each time it happened, I silently said, Hooray!

    My pet peeve is more verbal than written: nook-ya-ler.

    Nails on a chalkboard to me!

  • Lori March 2, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Leigh, don’t you really hate when they say, “Grammar Check caught a lot of mistakes in your copy.” As if that tool worked at ALL. I instruct all clients to just turn that thing off. It caused me more grief than you can imagine.

  • Michelle Miles March 2, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    IRREGARDLESS!! It’s not a word! Stop using it as one.

    Seriously, that one really gets on my nerves.

  • L.C. Gant March 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    LOL @ Michelle’s comment! I hate that one, too.

    My biggest pet peeve is when people use words that sound the same but are spelled differently, i.e., two instead of too, they’re instead of their, etc. What are those called? Homonyms? I know how to write, but I can never remember the terminology!

  • Lori March 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Irregardless – God! That drives me nuts, too.

    LC, that is so freaking annoying! I agree – that one sends me to the moon, too.

    Another one – using “weary” when we mean “leary.” People – you’re either not sure or you’re tired. Which is it? Sheesh.

  • Kimberly Ben March 2, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    “Irregardless” and than/then get under my skin big time.

  • Cyndy Kryder March 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I agree with all of the above. In my industry (medical writing) affect/effect offenders drive me nuts! And don’t get me started on grammer issues with my friends and family. Why is it so difficult for people to read what they write in emails? I find so many grammar errors that I start to wonder what these folks learned in high school English class. Thanks for writing about this topic. It’s good to know other people are out there who get frustrated with grammar issues, too.

  • Leigh March 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I’m starting to get annoyed with the whole less/fewer issue. I’ve noticed it a lot in TV commercials lately. “We’re going to give you less pills.” No they’re not, they’re going to give you fewer pills.

  • Irreverent Freelancer March 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Oh my gosh, if anyone watches The Bachelor (and I’m embarrassed to admit that I do), you know that every single person on the show thinks s/he is using high-falutin grammar when s/he is really totally misusing I/me/myself! In fact, I dare you to watch an episode and count the number of times it’s done!

  • Lori March 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Kathy, I’d need valium and a cold washcloth to listen to that!