Grammar I

Occasionally, I’ll be posting my grammatical pet peeves; common mistakes that I think should be avoided. Here are three:

  1. When two ideas or people seem to work well together, they jibe — they do not jive.
  2. When you change course, you take a new tack — not a new tact. It’s a sailing term.
  3. When you address your Christmas card to my family, it’s The Joneses — not The Jones’ or The Jones’s or, my personal favorite, The Jones.

  • bobbie

    dear mr. jones, you had better change your tact or i shall not jive with you! :) thanks for the lesson tony!

  • marko

    i hate it when people use “evangelical” when they mean “evangelistic”or when they say a point is “mute” — the word is “moot”

  • Anonymous

    so … a few days ago i read something that said ‘it’s a deep seeded fear …’i always thought it was ‘deep seated’.can you help me, mr. grammar man??tammy@theooze.com

  • Anonymous

    What article did you read it in? I’m curious too.

  • Anonymous

    I found the answer- it should be deep-seated, not seeded. I think I made the mistake in an article I recently wrote. Brian

  • Anonymous

    Amen, Marko!I work for the Billy Graham *Evangelistic* Association, *not* the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.Sheesh about it!–Steve K.

  • Anonymous

    i read ‘deep-seeded’ on a power point slide at our yearly employee education day at the hospital.tammy

  • Anonymous

    oh,oh,oh….can I play?????? how about when people try to pluralize the word “sheep” or use the word “shit” in the past tense. Example: Those sheeps over there shat on my lawn.but, now who created those grammar laws? i for one like to say the word shat-it works for me.

  • Bill Bean

    Seems you might be experiencing some residual bondage to modernist language boundaries.

  • Anonymous

    OR what about when people say “religions” and they really mean denominations i.e. My religion is Methodist or Baptist etc.Methodius

  • Nathan P. Gilmour

    How ’bout the all-too-common conflation of “irrespective” and “regardless”? I had a buddy in college who would do things “irregardless” of this or that.

  • Anastasia

    The word shit has a past tense. Or at least Shakespeare thought it did. I don’t really favor being picky about grammar. Languages are living systems of meanings. If a sentence is intelligiible to a native speaker of a language, it is grammatical. But as long as we’re being picky, your first two pet peeves are really just misused words, not grammatical mistakes. I concur with the third. Plurals and possesives should be used carefully to avoid confusion.

  • Anonymous

    When two ideas or people seem to work well together, they jibe — they do not jive.When two people seem to dance well together, they jive. Witness me and my wife.Tim K.


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