Confessions of a former Copy Editor: Grammar rant

This article is going to be a rant. I have a lot of strong emotions when it comes to correct usage of grammar and the English language. Some might suggest it’s a remnant of India being colonized by the British, which would also explain my obsession with tea. Anyway, my devotion to grammar explains why I was the Copy Editor for the Misc last semester. I often mercilessly roast people who make grammar mistakes. And yes, I do feel like a terrible person, but at least I’m a terrible person with correct grammar! Heck, I take hours to post a simple status update on Facebook, for fear of committing the unforgivable sin of making a typo. If I became a president or monarch, I would be pretty chill, but a true tyrant when faced with infernal offenses against the English language. Punishments would involve compulsory grammar lessons. I’m warning you now—if I ever run for president, please don’t vote for me. If you stupidly do, well, maybe I’ll buy you a cup of covfefe for your kindness. Anyway, below is a list of sins against the English language that torment me. I wouldn’t be caught dead making such unacceptable mistakse.

  1. The one that tops my list is using the word “literally” incorrectly, and using it all the time as though your life depends on it. One would think it’s like oxygen that keeps you alive, if you use it five times in a minute. Besides, the poor word is usually just used incorrectly for emphasis, like it has no meaning. Whenever someone says something like “I’m literally so tired right now,” I feel very tempted to ask how exactly one might be figuratively tired. And the fact that this unfortunate grammar mistake is all around me every single day is downright ludicrous. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s literally so annoying!
  2. The second one has got to be mixing up “your” and “you’re.” This one makes me want to pull out my hair. If on my wedding day, the priest says “Do you take Tanya to be you’re lawfully wedded wife,” I will scream bloody murder and run out. I will leave the man at the altar if he says “Your looking great in your wedding dress.” I have issues, but so do you if your really not aware of the difference. You’re grammar needs to be resuscitated, you’re grammar needs CPR. Your in need of help! Writing that as a joke made me cringe.
  3. Another one is using “like” everywhere. I occasionally commit this heinous crime, like very rarely actually, like once in a blue moon, or like let’s just say I don’t. But there are some people for whom, if “literally” is oxygen, then “like” is the very molecules of which oxygen is made. It amuses me to imagine Britishers, with their incredibly attractive accents and otherwise perfect English, using “like” and “literally” everywhere. Imagine someone from Downton Abbey saying “I would literally like a cup of tea right now, like with milk and everything, and like, driving on the left side of the road literally makes more sense.”
  4. The last one I can think of is incorrectly using “ain’t” and negatives, i.e. double negatives, or even just using “ain’t,” which isn’t even a correct word. I think that the song “Ain’t no mountain high enough” is a great one, but I’m sure my grammatically correct version called “No existing mountain is high enough” could be just as catchy. No, this does not make me uncool, because bad grammar is not cool. (I swear I have friends!)

To sum up this rant of mine, just remember that you’re grammar is like literally the most important thing, and there ain’t nothing else that matters.


    • I agree, wholeheartedly with your frustrations. My love affair with words-whether written, spoken; harmonized into a song – began as a child. I LOVED the bookshelf. I loved writing, just the fluid motion of writing was a simple joy (that I feel is oftentimes forgotten). I have been able to identify that you are also perpetually engaged in this same love affair!
      I would like to propose an addition to your list, because I feel you likely are driven just as insane as I in reaction to this common hiccup of vocabulary…
      Deeeeeeep breath here. Exhale…Long exhale. Okay.
      “I seen her yesterday!”

      Stop. Does this even sound correct? To me, it does not. It sounds… Grating? I’ll try to leave my emotions out of this proposal. ?
      You did NOT “seen that.
      Perhaps though, you “*have seen* her.
      Perhaps, you even *saw* her.

      Maybe I need more clarification on this gripe, but I wonder if it drives anyone else absolutely mad?


  1. Excellent. How about the awful “just between you and I” (arrrrrrrrrrrrgh).
    Or, “please review the specs and send any updates to Jenny, Mike or myself”

  2. What about the use of “was” and “were”? Most of the servants never use the word “was”. As Daisy said, “I were eleven when I left school.” This continually annoys me.

  3. My latest frustration is folks using “gone” when they mean going to and “done” to mean has!

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