Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ranting about Errors

I often worry that my writing about grammar comes across as a rant, but sometimes, only a rant seems appropriate. Thus, today's topic will cover errors I've commented on in the past.

Lose vs. Loose
In a recent publication produced by professional writers, I came across a subhead that read "Use It or Loose It." Please, people! How hard is it to remember that "loose" rhymes with "goose"? So let's lose this habit of confusing "lose" and "loose" please.

Possessives vs. Plurals
In a recent communication from a major university, the word "people's" was used when the writer obviously was talking about multiple individuals as opposed to people who were in possession of something. Misuse of apostrophes is so common these days that I've almost stopped cringing when I come across this type of error. Almost.

On the Predominance of "I"
I've written and ranted before about this burgeoning tendency of people to inappropriately use the word "I", but perhaps the most egregious example of this error was mentioned in a recent Q&A column from The Chicago Manual of Style. A reader had reported receiving a note in which the correspondent had written "Thank you for coming to John and I's wedding." For me, this usage trumps the old expression about fingernails on a chalkboard. If I were a violent person, I'd want to find the "I" who wrote that note and scream in "I's" face, "Does that usage actually sound correct to you? What would have been so bad about saying John's and my wedding?"

Okay, I'm calming down now. No need to run for cover. And I'm shutting up now. At least until the next time I'm inclined to rant. Thanks for listening.


  1. I agree. One I've heard a lot lately is "that there". I see all of my English teachers shaking their teacher finger and rolling their eyes saying,"That is not correct English. Use that or there but not both at the same time."

  2. Goodness, I wasn't aware that people still say "that there"! I heard it frequently when I was much younger but I haven't heard anyone say that in years. Sounds as though it may be coming back though. Ugh!