Grammar 101: Pet Peeves Edition

Welcome back to Grammar 101...
where I help the grammatically-challenged become proud Grammarians.
Or at least I try to! lol

None of us can claim to speak English perfectly.  We all make mistakes sometimes and that's okay.  However, sometimes we come across mistakes made by others that just make us cringe and want to smack them on the forehead.

Today, I decided to do a special Grammar 101: Pet Peeves Edition whereby we talk about those grammar boo-boos that make us sad.

I'll start with a couple of mine...

1) "Mines"...yes, mines!  Is this a Hispanic thing? I've heard or read this phrase "that's mines" far too many times and it begs the question, "how many of you are there?"
WHY this is wrong: Mine is a possessive term that we use when we want to claim something as ours. If you say that is mine's, then you're being redundant.  If you say that is mines, they you are pluralizing yourself implying there there is more than one of you.  Either is completely WRONG.  So please, never, ever say that "something is mines".

2) "Should have went": I've said it before and I'll say it again. When I hear people say "I should have went", I die a little inside.  This is just awful.
WHY this is wrong: To say "I should have" is to use the Present-Perfect Tense.  This tense is used when combining the present tense with a past event that has present consequences.  The present perfect is a compound sentence formed by the combination of a "helper" verb and an action verb. In the case of "I should have gone," have is your helper verb and gone is your action verb in past tense.  In modern English, the use of the helper verb to have will always result in the present perfect which means you must use the appropriate 'version' of the action verb to accompany that tense. *phew*

3) "I want that so bad": Sadly, this is probably one of the most commonly used phrases these days.  Why?  Evidently, it's because people cannot tell the difference between an adjective and an adverb.
WHY this is wrong: Bad and badly do not mean the same thing.  When you use the word "bad" you are using it as an adjective to describe a noun.  Ex: "I smell bad" means that you stink!  When you want to proclaim that you really want something then you would say, "I want to see that movie really badly."  An adverb is a type of adjective that is primarily used to describe not a noun, but a verb.  In the example above, I'm using the word "badly" as an adjective to describe the verb "to want".  Got that?

Peeves submitted via Twitter...

4)  tweets: When people say, "people that" instead of "people who".
WHY this is wrong: Simple! People are always referred to as WHO.  It is only objects that are referred to as THAT.

5) tweets: "Random Capitalization of Whatever Word the Author Thinks Is Important."  Guys, don't do this! 
WHY this is wrong: Remember, we ONLY capitalize the beginning of a new sentence or a proper noun.  There is no need to go "shift key crazy" and capitalize every word in a sentence.

6) tweets: When people say "would of" instead of "would have".
Should HAVE, would HAVE, could HAVE!
WHY this is wrong: "Would of" is not correct in any way. The word "of" is a preposition and it's only used to indicate a relationship between two nouns in a sentence. Other prepositions are: on, with, to, in, for, and.  Should, would, could are NOT nouns therefore you do not follow it with a preposition but with an auxiliary verb, specifically have.

7) tweets: People who write 'alot' instead of 'a lot'.
WHY this is wrong: This is wrong because it "a lot" is two separate words, not one. Think about it!  By definition, what is a 'lot'?  A 'lot' is a group or set of something.  When you're saying "that is a lot", you're really saying "that is a large group of [something]". Makes sense, right?

8) tweets: "I seen it".
People really say this?
WHY this is wrong: The word 'seen' is the past participle of the word 'see'.  (A participle is the form of a verb ending in -ed.  A past participle is a participle with past, perfect, or passive meaning, such as seen.) In the case of the word 'see', to say it in simple past tense you would use the word "saw" as in "I saw that too."  If you want to use the past participle version, you would need to use the helper verb "have" before it and say "I have seen it."

So tell me, what are YOUR grammar pet peeves?

Wishing you a better day than yesterday!


  1. I hate it when people confound its and it's as well as there, their and they're. grr!

    Thanks for the great post :-)

  2. Hmm... Pet Peeves? Well, hubby would say that I have a lot because I'm always correcting him but I think it irks me most when people miss the 'to be' in sentences. Someone pointed out that I did it many years ago and I just can't get it out of my mind. (I don't skip it any more though!)

    For example 'This needs printed.' instead of 'This needs to be printed.' The other thing that I've noticed popping up more and more is when people say 'They were treated like so mush trash' or 'like so much rubbish' I just don't get it.

  3. I am a self-proclaimed grammar freak. I don't mean to say that all my sentences are correctly formed but some of the things people say really annoy the heck out of me.

    - "Alot" would sit up high on my list of pet peeves. One of my closest friends writes "alot" even for her assignments. It baffles me that Word doesn't pick this error up. Ever.

    - "You bate me" instead of "You beat me". I'm not sure why people say "bate". Beats me.

    - "It's" and "its", and quite generally just comma misplacement.

    - "...and I/me/my/etc". It seems that a lot of people can not determine which to use when required. It seems that people who are confused just use "and I" all the time, and that is just NOT ON.

    I have not actually heard of "Mines" before. I'll have to keep a closer eye on that.

    I really love this segment that you do. I'm hoping it's helped a couple of people change their ways, even if they don't comment on it! I've become just that bit more aware since, I'm sure.

  4. Your examples provide perfect explanations. The bad instead of badly happens so often it is hardly noticeable anymore because I'm so used to reading it incorrectly.

    Great examples from twitter too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Woohoo, I love this post!:) Great examples and great explanations! Seeing this kind of mistakes from people who has English as their first language drives me crazy! And just like Stella, I hate it when people use there instead of their or they're and your instead of you're. Oh, or where instead of we're. *head desk*

    Thanks for the tips!

  6. P.S. I just remembered (spotted) another one: than vs then. Oh my!

  7. Oh, #5 especially.

    Also: then vs than; there/their/they're; you're/your; all the versions of incorrectly spelling "definitely." What the $*&%(*&? Why can't people realize there is no "a" in "defnitely?" And "defiantly" is a whole different word!

  8. I tend to cringe inside when I see they're, there, their mistakes because to me they seem very easy to distinguish. Aren't they??
    On a more funny note, I've noticed my best friend will say 'so much of'. Like I've heard her say 'there was so much of stuff'. I don't know why she says it like that but it makes me smile :P

  9. FYI: the "would of," "could of," "should of" thing is thanks to "would've," "could've," and "should've." Not that it's an excuse - it's a peeve of mine, too.

  10. To avoid going to grammar heck, one must always use have after could, would, and should. ;)

  11. I hate to see apostrophes misused. I hate to hear the response "I'm fine and yourself" as well as other misuses of reflexive pronouns such as using it as a subject. I abhor "I feel badly" - people should really feel bad about that grammar goof.
    I could go on but I'll stop at those three.
    Keep up the great posts. You are doing a great service.

  12. Thanks for the mention. Have you noticed apostrophes are atrophying? How many times do you see: MELS DINER or something on a sign. Sigh.

  13. This is hilarious. I love it. I admit that I am lazy in my speech and typing at times, but am horrified when I realize it. It is awful, though, to hear some of the people around me speak in beautiful Eastern NC. No, "mines" isn't just a Hispanic thing, I promise. Goodness gracious! I promise you, I know people who are business owners around here who would FAIL at knowing these grammar rules. I shake my head and my fist at the world! But I love this post. :)

  14. Haha I agree with all of those! I can't stand the mine's thing. I also dislike when people incorrectly use possessive apostrophes... People get very confused about when to make it s' as opposed to 's or just not having an apostrophe. But one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say "supposably" instead of "supposedly"!

  15. I have a friend that is obsessed with correcting my grammar! I have to say though, through writing my blog, I have learned a lot of things I was supposed to learn in elementary school.

    xo katie elizabeth

  16. I love my dear husband and he has corrected my Utah accent so I no longer say a short /i/ sound for /ee/. Feel is no longer pronounced "fill." I pray that someday he will understand that when I cringe every time he says he "should have went," he will eventually use "gone."

    My pet peeve? "Exact same." It's redundant. It is exact. It is the same. It is not the exact same. If I read one more book that uses that phraseology, I will pull out my white-out pen.

    Don't think I won't.

  17. Ha. I love you! As a German bookblogger I often find myself wondering about things like that. :)

  18. I guess I'm not your typical southerner. While Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary is absolutely hilarious to most it makes me cringe every time I hear one of those words used. Also, "I've done done it." *cringe shudder and shake* My mother uses this one on a regular basis and now my 8 year old daughter does as well. And no matter how many times I try, I can't seem to get them to understand that the phrase "I've done done it" is just WRONG.

  19. Ooooh, I can't say that I've never said "I should have went." but since you pointed it out... it totally doesn't sound right, so maybe I haven't! xoxo

  20. I really enjoy these posts. My biggest grammar peeve is the confusion so many seem to have over to, too and two. It irritates me immensely when I see the wrong one used in a sentence.


  21. Great list. The only thing I consistently do is over-capitalize words. It's a bad habit.

  22. I love these grammar posts. I can be terrible about some of this. I tend to write "people that" too much! I know it's wrong. :(

    I was totally paranoid that I say alot, but I haven't. Phew. Did a search for all of these on the blog. Only the "people that" fail.

    But I do, constantly, incorrectly use a while and awhile. I know I'm wrong half the time, but I can't help myself.

    My biggest peeve is the incorrect usage of "between you and me/him/her" and "between you and I/he/she" and similar incorrect usage of me/I - I see it a lot in published books, spoken on TV, etc.

    Oh, also the who's/whose and I think I get that wrong sometimes too. :(

    Great grammar post as always. I love them!

  23. haha, awesome post! My pet peeves are folks not knowing the proper use of a semicolon, and the difference between there/their/they're. Unfortunately, I've seen a lot (see, TWO WORDS) of grammar errors in published books lately.


  24. Great post! I've been accused of correcting people too much when they talk; and being a little annoying when this happens. But when I do hear people say the wrong things and they sound as though they've been doing it all their lives, it gets that way that they don't know any different. So, to correct them and let them know they've been saying it wrong isn't being critical, it's just trying to help them.
    However, some people don't see it that way. In recent times, though, I've been correcting my niece more and more as she's been picking up bad grammar from her friends and I've been pushing her to keep her spelling up to date as well (and to keep her invented language as something to do at home).

  25. Haha, half of these sound like regular vocabulary used around my locale in Englandshire. Luckily I've grown up with TV, books, and a nanny who knows how to speak so have avoided things like, "I seen it" (yes, people do sadly say this).

  26. I cringe when I hear "my cousint" instead of Cousin.And I agree with the "mines". What's up with that ?
    Carol L.

  27. Hey, that's a really nice idea !
    1/ Because I'm French and it could help me to avoid mistakes
    2/ Because I'm having the same kind of problem with speakers of my own tong ^^

    So thanks a lot for that !

  28. I moved to the Eastern Shore of VA almost 13 years ago. Let me tell you, from the suburbs of Baltimore it was quite the culture shock, especially when you factor in the Tangier Island influence. (Don't even ask.) I've always been a 'your' vs 'you're' fanatic, not to mention the 'there,' their,' they're' diabolical. However, the thing that really threw me for a loop when I moved here was the use of 'weren't.' How can you screw that up? you may ask. Let's just say that I cringe every time I hear someone say 'I weren't gonna...' what ever it was they weren't gonna do. Yikes!


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