The Vine: December 4, 2007
For one of my jobs, I need to compile a list of verbal pet peeves — the "if you will"s, "Joe and myself"s, and other grammar- and style-related mistakes that the unknowing often make.As I started making my list, I realized that it is very personal — the things that drive me nuts aren't the same as my co-worker's chief irritants.So in an effort to cover my bases, I hoped I might ask your awesome Tomato Nation readers to help out with a couple of the things people say in
conversations or in presentations that drive them craziest.I'm particularly interested in verbal tics and misused phrases and constructions.
By the way, what's your verdict on "there's," as in, "There's a lot of cars on the road today"?(I mean, it's wrong, but it's rampant. Can anything be done?)
Free To Be You And Myself
I don't have a huge issue with the "there's a lot of" construction, in colloquial speech anyway; you can treat "lot" as a collective noun, I guess, if you want to find a rules-based reason why "there's a lot of" isn't the worst usage crime in the world, but I treat it more like the Spanish hay.My last Spanish class was quite some time ago, but if I recall correctly (and I may not), hay handily covers both the singular and the plural of "there is" or "there exists."I think, colloquially, we've come to treat "there's" the same way in English — "there's a lot of dust in here," "there's 200 people coming" — not necessarily because we don't know it's incorrect, but because 1) we're using it more as a state indicator, i.e. "there exists a state of 200-people-ness"; and 2) "there's" is easier to understand in spoken conversation than "there're."
Short answer: I wouldn't use it in written correspondence, except in fiction/dialogue, but in spoken language it doesn't bother me.
Now, to the meat of your question."Frankly"/"honestly"/"to tell the truth" is one that's really bugging me of late — and I'm as guilty as anyone, but I'm working on it.It's a tic, and what comes after it usually isn't so much honesty and frankness as it is an unpopular opinion, or a statement to the effect that someone else/the reader is wrong.What's meant, often, is not "frankly," but rather "I disagree," or "You're mistaken about X," which is fine, but just say that then.(Note: One of my mother's pet interjections is "Oh, honestly," and I don't take issue with that one.)
Also, "nevermind" (it's two words; "nevermind" is cutesy), and the rendering of the adverb "anymore" as two words.The 11C doesn't commit to saying that a phrasing like "I don't eat meat any more" is incorrect, only that "anymore" is preferred, but it bugs me."I don't have any more meat"; "I don't eat meat anymore."Two different uses, two different renderings.If the purpose of usage rules is clarity, well, I rest my case.
Tags: Ask The Readers grammar