Before I get started, WE HAVE SNOW!!! And a ton of it. I’ll do the Facebook question of the week tomorrow from the great outdoors so you can see all of the glorious white stuff that is making me so happy. But…we also lost power so I’m having to write quickly to conserve battery power. I have three hours and 55 minutes left right now.

On Sunday, I was visiting Shonali Burke’s blog, Waxing Unlyrical, and her weekly recap, when I came across Jen Zingsheim, a former FH flack (me, too!) and author over at Media Bullseye.

While she doesn’t claim to be Grammar Girl (and really, who is?), she had a great piece titled, “Things That Bug Me More Than They Should.” In it she describes several things that irritate her about our use of the English language and, if you’re like me and agree, you’ll find her snarkiness very funny.

I wrote a comment with the few things that bug me and, because I’m getting close to not having any battery left and because it’s also educational, I thought I’d share my own grammar pet peeves here.

  1. Impact: You can have impacted teeth. A plane can combust on impact. But you cannot have an impact on something. Learn the difference between effect and affect and use those words instead.
  2. Over and Under: A number can not be over or under another number. It can be “more than.” It can be “less than.” But all of those billboards that are trying to save space and read, “Over six gazillion people use our service”? They’re wrong. Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it’s right. Now you’re going to edit billboards in your head. Sorry.
  3. Irregardless: This just isn’t a word so stop using it. The word is regardless.
  4. Utilize: Right after I graduated from college, I had this boss who was a grammar Nazi. She used to say, “Oh you think you’re so smart? You can’t use the word “use” instead of utilize?” I loved her.
  5. Like: I had a client whose pet peeve was the word “like.” He would say, “Why can’t you say “such as” instead?” So now I cannot write, “Put comfort foods in the recipe, like chicken, beans, and potatoes.” I have to instead write, “Put comfort foods in the recipe, such as chicken, beans, and potatoes.”

What are some of your grammar pet peeves?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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