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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Like Fingers on a Chalkboard....

*Use these mistakes in your writing to represent some dialect, and use them in ordinary conversation if you so desire, but it's always wise to use Standard English in writing or speaking when the occasion warrants it.  I often think that so many of us hear something incorrectly so frequently that we don't always realize we're using Nonstandard English because it's become more-or-less acceptable.  

With our Appalachian influence in this section of the country, for instance, I've heard even educated business professionals say while conducting meetings: "I've went to the conference..." and "He has ran..." -- they've probably heard this language this way all their lives and are totally unaware it's Nonstandard English.  Perhaps they don't care, but a writer and a speaker should know the difference, as well as when to use each.  In addition, I've actually seen two of the following mistakes in the names of two local businesses -- I felt compelled (not because I'm a "wise ass" but because I would want someone to tell me if I did something similar) to call and explain that even though it wasn't my business (literally), I wondered if they realized the names of their companies contained grammatical mistakes, just in case they wanted to correct them.

Easily Corrected Mistakes:                         Should Be:

Alot                                                                   a lot   
Ice tea                                                                iced tea

old fashion                                                        old-fashioned 
strickly                                                              strictly

congradulations                                                congratulations

alright                                                               all right

to much sun                                                     too much sun

he don’t                                                            he doesn’t

she has went every week...                              she has gone every week...

ect.                                                                    etc. (et cetera = and so forth)

Me and Jim                                                       Jim and I (or Jim and me, depending on the situation)
I seen someone leave...                                    I saw someone leave...


  1. In my experience, the mistakes made most often by professional speakers (teachers, ministers, motivational-sales folks) are "between you and I" and "for you and I."

    I think they must think it sounds more formal to say "I" instead of "me"?!?

    And the whole lie-lay-lain vs. lay-laid-laid thing. C'mon people, the only time anybody laid down on the bed was when Aunt Rhodie made the featherbed.

  2. Ah, yes, the old "between you and I" is often heard leaving the lips of a professional speaker -- I forgot about that one. I never thought about it, but you are probably right about them thinking "I" sounds more formal.

    I've given up on the lie/lay issue. Most people, no matter what their education levels or knowledge, use the inappropriate form. That's why I commented above that so many people use something incorrectly so much, that many grammar books are putting notes in their usage sections with comments that something is Nonstandard but generally accepted in Informal usage. Bah!

  3. "Oh, I just feel so badly about that!"


  4. I see your sense of humor showing through, but I don't feel "bad" about it :)

  5. Another great post. I misuse the language most of the time. Terrible, isn't it? As for the whole lay/lie/laid thing - it's always confused me. :(