What’re Your Grammatical Pet Peeves (OR “Gee-Whiz” Facts…)?

Okay, time for a little levity. No sticky situations, anxious anecdotes or dicey dilemmas from the commercial writing world. Just some good old-fashioned griping – about grammar. Got the idea for this post a few weeks back when I managed to run afoul of a friend’s pet peeve by writing, “I’ll try and do _____.” Ouch.

Well. He wrote back, deservedly taking me to task, explaining in exquisite detail:

“I must say — with all due respect — I HATE when writers and others say ‘try and’ (as you’ve done here) rather than the more accurate and appropriate, ‘try to.’ ‘Try and’ suggests TWO different acts: trying something, and then something else (e.g., ‘Try and be a better person.’ So you’re saying, ‘try’ (whatever) AND ‘be a better person,’ too. Whereas ‘try to be a better person’ says precisely what you’re meaning: try to be better.”

Just getting warmed up, he continued, “Almost as bad as when 99.9% of people say ‘could’ care less, when they really mean, and should be saying ‘couldn’t’ care less.”

Voila! Blog fodder. My pet peeves? Beyond the ubiquitous “you’re/your,” “it’s/its” and “compliment/complement”? Well, I’ll let you guys tell yours, and perhaps delve a little deeper while we’re at, and maybe we’ll teach each other something new in the process.

I’ll leave you with this…


Who’s there?


To who?

To whom.

What’s one of your grammatical pet peeves (one at a time, please, so we can encourage more contributions from more of you…)?

If you’re an English purist, what are your “grammatical grudges”: those things that have been accepted into the vernacular, but IYHO, should never have been?

What are some obscure/esoteric points of grammar that so many people get consistently wrong, but you know better? 😉

Any fascinating grammatical/linguistic trivia you care to share (word origins, evolution of expressions, etc.)?