General Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors...what always catches your attention?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (26671points) July 19th, 2010

Let’s see if this can be an educational topic. What are the frequently made mistakes that catch your attention? Maybe we can learn from each other.

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91 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Grammar and spelling errors leap off the page at me. Even in professionally edited publications.
I notice punctuation errors too but it takes more effort to detect those.

I can even detect the writer’s level of sexual frustration or arousal from what they write~!

ragingloli's avatar

‘could/should of’ instead of ‘have’
that always makes my toenails roll up.

whitenoise's avatar

Mismatches between plural subjects and singular verbs, vice versa.

As in “The orange team are wining!!!”

rebbel's avatar

one of the things that i see happening a lot around here is when somebody asks a question and makes sentences that are pretty long and are very difficult for me to understand because said sentences lack punctuation
wot makes it even worse is when they r ful of txtspk and contain words that resemble the correct ones but r not

My own mistakes are mixing words like humour/humor, neighbour/neighbor, etc., and forgetting to write I instead of i.

whitenoise's avatar

Then and than confusions.

As in “If this is indeed the case, than you really need to see a doctor.”

Or the two bears were indeed a lot angrier then I thought.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I see alot of them and don’t care as long as I can understand what they are trying to say.
I get p/o’d about alot of other things;)

tinyfaery's avatar

I try to focus on the content of what someone is trying to communicate, not spelling and grammar.

What mostly gets my attention is people who feel they need to correct others. That’s the most obvious grammar and punctuation problem of all.

Austinlad's avatar

“Comprised of” makes me crazy. Should be comprises or composed of.
Contractions and possessives missued. (“Your” and “You’re”, “there” and “their”)
“i.e.” and e.g. used interchangeably. (“i.e.” is “that is;” “e.g.” is “for example”)
Any grammatical mistake that distracts me from what’s trying to be communicated.

jaytkay's avatar

“I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less”
You can’t make that error if you pay the slightest attention to the the meaning of your words.

“Where are you at?”
Why make an extra effort to sound un-educated? Skip the “at”.

A very common error is your vs. you’re. That doesn’t bother me, I guess punctuation detract less from the meaning so they don’t raise my hackles.

Likeradar's avatar

Unnecessary quotation marks and apostrophes drive me nuts!

(Or should I say…. unnecessary quotation mark’s and apostrophe’s “drive” me nut’s!)

the100thmonkey's avatar

What gets my attention is when people go, in a glittering sweep of bad logic and zero evidence, from noticing punctuation errors to blaming it all on text messaging and decrying the death of grammar.

Your_Majesty's avatar

None. Since English isn’t my official language. But I have keen eyes for grammar,punctuation,spelling error,etc for my official language. I just hope that no one is hurt from language errors,as long as it’s easy to understand.

Aethelwine's avatar

@ragingloli That’s the only one that really bothers me. I don’t think I could of said it better. ;)

ragingloli's avatar

Hngggggggg! *grinds knife

JLeslie's avatar

Although fluther tends to be strict on spelling and grammar; generally, on the interenet, and emails between friends, I overlook many spelling and gramatical errors, because I make them myself all of the time. Typing quickly, my fingers don’t type as fast as my brain is thinking, so I make mistakes. On a more formal document, or even in speech some of my pet peeves are:

- Not using adverbs. The sentence, “I take it personal,” just sounds so strange to my ears.

- Also, in the midwest I hear things like, “I was bit by a mosquito.” In NY you would have been bitten.

- the word irregardless. If I have to explain that just forget it LOL.

@ragingloli brought up another that I notice a lot.

When it is someone who speaks English as a second language none of it bothers me If that person is somebody who I am close to, like my husband, I might correct him so he can learn the correct usage.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Doctor_D We adore you and your responses. Most of us know that English is not your second language and do not judge you for any minor errors for responding in English. Your messages always come across clearly, in my opinion, and as proven by your Fluther score.

FutureMemory's avatar

your/you’re and its/it’s kinda bug me. I’ve never understood why contractions are difficult for some people.

A kind Flutherite has been of great help to me in this area :)

Berserker's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence I can even detect the writer’s level of sexual frustration or arousal from what they write~!

Really? That’s awesome! How does it work?

Anyway, most of what I notice are when people don’t use the right then or than, or again its and it’s. Things like that. I think I find those easily because besides apostrophes, this is one thing in English that, for some reason, took me forever to get.

Aethelwine's avatar

@FutureMemory Nice, but have you been breedmitched yet?

rebbel's avatar

For those who know when to use then and than, is there a mnemonic to remember it?

FutureMemory's avatar

@jonsblond I can’t say that I have.

jaytkay's avatar

I made unintended grammar errors in my previous response.

ragingloli's avatar

Indeed you did.

JLeslie's avatar

@rebbel Great question, I sometimes am unsure. When something is being compared I use than. This is hotter than that. She is taller than her sister. When talking about time I use then. I will see you then. But, I still get confused sometimes; some sentences throw me.

VohuManah's avatar

My biggest complaint is with who v.s. whom. There are some times when I can understand the confusion, but blurting “with who?” peels away at my sanity.

jazmina88's avatar

Bad spelling drives me nuts. totally bonkers.

JLeslie's avatar

@VohuManah I would say most of America uses who and whom wrong. My experience is people rarely use the word whom period. Do you find the same thing?

BoBo1946's avatar

content of the message! see, did not capitalize content!

rebbel's avatar

Thank you, @JLeslie !
I think i will memorize it like this: use thAn when compAring.

TexasDude's avatar

Your and you’re.

People don’t know the fucking difference.

TexasDude's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille, yer ain’t acceptable either, I reckon.

plethora's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard No, they don’t and it drives me crazy. They are two totally different words.

GracieT's avatar

The use of who’s and whose as well as the pronounciation of Chile and species bother me for some reason! I can’t spell, though- hooked on phonics and all of that,so I have to remember that I am not perfect either! ;0)

JLeslie's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I know the difference, but I write your almost all of the time, and have to go back and edit. If I do not bother to go back it sits there incorrectly in my sentence. Your is just faster, and where my fingers go when typing quickly.

BoBo1946's avatar

removed for further editing!

whitenoise's avatar

In general:

1 Then can be an indication of time.
As in “it happened then”, comparable to ”that is when it happened.”
2 Then can be indicating a sequence… as in “first this then that.”
3 Then can mean “in that case”, as in “if you’re right, then we should follow.”

Than is always introducing a second part of a comparison, while in virtually all other cases then would be appropriate.

There seems to be one rare exception: than can indicate that something happens right after something else took place.
As in: Barely was his drink finished, than it was taken away.

wundayatta's avatar

The one that bothers me most is when people say “their” when they mean “they’re.” It’s almost as if they know that there is a difference, but they aren’t sure they remember what the difference is and they guess. They guess wrong. Although I have to say, that there are many times when my fingers have typed “their” when I mean “they’re,” but usually I catch it before anyone else sees. it.

The other one, which is really weird because I see people who seem to have good educations use it, is when people write “loose” instead of “lose.”

jaytkay's avatar

The one that bothers me most is when people say “their” when they mean “they’re.

I tend to write “there” for “their”.

I know the meanings of ‘there’, ‘they’re’ and ‘their’, but it’s an easy mistake for me to make.

I used “it’s” in this post just to show off.

rebbel's avatar

Thanks, @whitenoise !
I will bookmark this thread (with your and @JLeslie‘s explanation).

wordnerd's avatar

Their/They’re always pains me to see. The same goes for it’s/its, your/you’re, than/then and fewer/less (yes, I’m talking to you, grocery store “15 Items or Less line” should be fewer. Please fix; thank you very much).

I also find the misuse of semicolons to be particularly upsetting. They’re just so misunderstood!

JLeslie's avatar

What bothers me is when the name of a company is targeted towards children and incorrect. Like Toys ‘R’ Us with the r backwards.

Cruiser's avatar

Here or at other forums none of it matters to me at all as I make my share of them and it is the thought that counts. But at work I can’t stand any of the above in documents or promotional literature and I see a lot of goof ups that really make me wonder what on earth they were thinking to put their name on it at all!

JLeslie's avatar

@Cruiser I so agree. A girlfriend of mine worked selling computer software to public schools. One day she noticed that one of the sales people on her team had created some promotional materials, and she noticed a typo on it. Anyway, she called her to let her know, hoping she could catch it before it went to print, and the other salesperson seemed annoyed that her mistake was pointed out. My girlfriend was just trying to help her not look like an idiot in front of teachers.

janbb's avatar

Many, including my own, but my Fluther pet-peeve is the many people who use “loose” when they mean “lose.”

NaturallyMe's avatar

Spelling and lack of punctuation is what i notice mostly. I hate lack of punctuation, and i don’t know how someone can write without using foolstops….yes folks….NO foolstops. And then there are some common spelling confusions that annoy me (the usual their/there; then/than; your/you’re things), but i realize some people are not as good at spelling as others, so i don’t grind people about it. But punctuation….i don’t know, sometimes those are just common sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@NaturallyMe But, obviously using i instead of I doesn’t bother you at all.

poofandmook's avatar

Does anyone else notice that whenever there are responses on a thread about spelling, grammar, etc. that the responses tend to be more refined, as if they were being presented to a class or in a term paper? ;)

whitenoise's avatar

Without a doubt, this thread will generate a lot of perfectofishes, I am sure. I know it did for me. :-)

frdelrosario's avatar

Grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors…what always catches your attention?


gailcalled's avatar


aprilsimnel's avatar

I notice spelling errors before those of punctuation or grammar, but they don’t bother me as much as they used to. I recognize that most people spell words in the way they hear and pronounce them, such as writing “could of” instead of “could’ve”, for instance.

Coloma's avatar

Ones writing has to be pretty bad for me to take notice.

I also think that often, in a persons haste to get their words out we have to make allowances for error.

I often, ( in minor ADD moments ) will write ’ their’ instead of ‘there’..or other such silliness.

I often type ‘thought’ as ‘thuoght’ lol

Personally, I find it offensive and arrogant to be a self appointed corrector of others writing and grammatical skills. Being a snob isn’t any better than poor grammar.

gailcalled's avatar

Stuffs fist in mouth.

downtide's avatar

Apostrophes in plurals. I see this in shops all the time. “Apple’s 49 pence per pound”.

And people who write like they talk, even when it’s wrong; like “could of”.

But it doesn’t ever bother me to the point that I feel obliged to comment or make corrections to other people’s English. Except maybe in my local grocery shop.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I get irritated with people for not using the proper form of “your and you’re”, “there, their and they’re”, “then and than”, “an and and”. With “an and and”, it just blows my mind. “I’m hungry, so I think I’ll go grab and apple.” Holy cow, really??? I try to not gripe about it, but it really bothers me for some weird reason. I’m not usually an anal person. :P


Bad grammar and misspelled words always annoy me, but they don’t annoy me as much as the over-use of “swear words” in some people’s writing. In an effort to appear cool, these people end up looking stupid and uneducated. :D

poofandmook's avatar

oh, inappropriate apostrophes just flat out PISS ME OFF. lol

Jabe73's avatar

Nothing, as long as I agree with the post.

ETpro's avatar

My pet peeve is your when the writer meant you’re.

Folks always say to me “Their they’re, Jim—don’t let such little things get ot you.”

FutureMemory's avatar

@Jabe73 Nothing, as long as I agree with the post.

We have a wiener!

breedmitch's avatar

ooh! I’m a verb! (blushes)
I make mistakes and try to correct them when I can. Why, then, would I not want to correct others? I’d think it pretty callous of me to not try and help you be the best you can.

LostInParadise's avatar

Spelling “lose” as “loose”

ETpro's avatar

@LostInParadise I play pretty fast and lose with that one myself. Have to constantly watch out so I don’t loose my spelling credentials. :-)

NaturallyMe's avatar

@JLeslie – and your point is? Nowhere in the question did it say that those who don’t use 100% correct grammar rules are prohibited from commenting.
At least my writing is such that it is CLEARLY and EASILY readable and understandable – one often does not get this result from using improper punctuation.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think we all got our blinds spots when it comes to spelling. The other day I mixed up burp and burb. But I can always count on @janbb‘s professionalism ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@NaturallyMe I just found it funny on a thread about mistakes when writing. I make mistakes all of the time, as I admitted above. Lower case i is not a pet peeve of mine, but I find it to be an unikely mistake, with the exception of texting. I don’t even think I can type I lower case, it is so automatic for me when I am writing about myself. It seems different to me then spelling something incorrrectly or using the wrong word.

NaturallyMe's avatar

@JLeslie – my lowercase i is not a mistake at all, i just don’t bother capitalizing it in casual chats. And yes, now that you mention it, it is quite funny too seeing your use of incorrect words in this particular thread. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@NaturallyMe I understand it is not a mistake, I am saying for me it is automatic to hit shift when I type I. I would have to think about it to type i. Same way I use my turn signal to pull into my driveway. Automatic. If I am turning I am signaling, even if I am on a country road with no one around. Your tone seems a little defensive or snarky? Am I misreading that? Are you annoyed? I did not mean to offend you, I was being a little sarcastic. If it bothers you I apologize.

whitenoise's avatar

@JLeslie I cannot imagine you saying anything to anyone to willingly be nasty.;-)

NaturallyMe's avatar

@JLeslie – well then no worries. :) I didn’t like the tone i thought your comment was said in – but i don’t know you (yet), so if i misread it, then it is i who apologize. ;)

gailcalled's avatar

What always catches my attention is misuse of words, weird mixed metaphors and people trying to sound sophisticated. I have trouble often understanding the meaning of the question.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@gailcalled Any specific examples that always jump out at you?

A college friend grew up in Jamaica, and some of the things she said had us rolling on the floor. Like when we asked her for her opinion on which TV show to watch one night, the response was, “I’m adjustable.” One time, she had enough from us and said, “Words and phrases may break my bones!” We’re really lucky that she is still our friend.

gailcalled's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer: I started to keep a little list, but it became overwhelming. And I am very forgiving towards the folks who speak ESL. In fact, I admire them, particularly our Dutch and Scandinavian friends.

One small example is “I graduated college.” It used to be “I graduated from college.”

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer My husband says dumbwit instead of dimwit. Hahaha. There are more, I just can’t think of them right now. I love when he screws up slang, cliches, and sayings.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks. I think (hope) we all are very forgiving to those that speak ESL. Personally, I admire them and anyone who can speak multiple languages. I should have mentioned that our friend was born in England, lived in Jamaica for about 8–10 years before moving to the U.S. All speak English, but she just hadn’t grown up with our clichés.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Misplaced modifiers always catch my attention. It’s generally easy to decipher what the speaker or writer really meant, but on occasion, they can leave you guessing. “I graduated college.” is truly poor grammar. It’s readily understood just because it’s misused so often, but it is literally saying “I am an institution of higher learning, and conferred a bachelor’s degree on ‘college’. Since that’s certainly not what the person meant, it leaves one wondering just what sort of college they attended.

There was a fad a while back of saying “You maroon.” to indicate that someone’s answer or post shows they are a moron. I know that Bugs Bunny was fond of using it as a put-down for Elmer Fudd when the artless advesary’s efforts inevitably failed, but still it Bugs me to hear it.

sarahjane90's avatar

“I hate bad grammer” or “I have great grammer!” facepalm.

Affect/effect used in the wrong context.

People in Britain who say “I am going to hospital” instead of “I am going to the hospital”. Also, “I am going college” instead of “I am going to college”. What?!

You’re and your, there, their, and they’re, than and then used improperly.

I also enjoy finding spelling and grammar errors in law text books. My greatest find so far is along the lines of “such a defense would not be used to defeat this particular sort of clam (instead of claim)” !!!

The simple pleasures…

ETpro's avatar

Using your for you’re is so widespread today—and so easy to avoid. It not only is annoying, it tends to leave me questioning just how worthy the wroter’s words and thought process may be.

gailcalled's avatar

@ETpro: ^^ “That’s all,” she write.

jca's avatar

I have heard people use the word “Agreeance” instead of “agreement.” Agreeance sounds ridiculous.

FutureMemory's avatar

Anything Hypocrisy_Central writes is bound to be full of horrendous errors in spelling and grammar.

poofandmook's avatar

I’m sure it’s been mentioned before in this very thread, but I’m not scrolling up, and I’m posting this anyway because I have to hear it about once a day and it annoys the crud out of me:


head explodes

janbb's avatar

@poofandmook Hiya kiddo! How ya doin’?

poofandmook's avatar

not half bad, thanks for asking :) You?

janbb's avatar

Very good -thanks.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Know, know, didn’t you mean that’s awl she rote. :-)

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