Education Grammar

'Sup With Grammar in America

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The other day I was in the grocery store when I distinctly heard a woman declare, “I should (pause) of gotten a salad.”

Should of?


Should of is the equivalent of fingernails on the chalkboard for English teachers.

I believe the person meant to say, “I should’ve made a better lunch choice instead of opting for these nasty, greasy chicken wings.”

There is no such thing as should of.

And believe me, it took all of my self-restraint from correcting Mrs. Disgruntled Chicken Wing Eater.


Anyway, I am in love with this video. There must be something wrong with me.

Hubby walked out of the room as I tried to show it to him.

Am i the only person who cares that folks dont seem 2 no how 2 rite or speak proper any moor?

Do you have a grammar pet peeve? What is it?

50 thoughts on “'Sup With Grammar in America

  1. I LOVE this!@!! I too can be the grammar police at times and I try to hold my tongue when people end their sentences in the word “at.” Ugh – makes me want to scream!!!!!! My favorite word in this great video is tooken – tooken, come on now.

      1. Oh my. I didn’t even know some of those things were wrong. Everyone says it and they don’t tell you its wrong in school. At least they didn’t in my school. I always had the problem with thinking “alot” is one word. Though my husband has helped break me of that habit.

        I do talk really fast, so I’m sure it sounds like I’m saying ‘of’, but I know that I’m thinking ‘have’.

  2. I grew up with my dad correcting my grammar (I hated it!)…I corrected my children, and now they correct their friends (I fully expect my daughter to begin correcting my granddaughter’s grammar when she’s old enough to say more than the ten or so words she says now)!

    My personal pet peeve is people who say “picture” as if it were a vessel you can pour from. Another is people who don’t know the difference between it’s and its (or they’re, their and there). I live in Saint John, New Brunswick…it’s common to hear teenagers use the word “right” instead of “very,” as in: “That dress she had on was right cute!” Nails on a blackboard, indeed…


      1. One time I had a student tell me that I was racist because I favored the girls over the boys. That was funny.

        “Are” and “our” get mixed up both in pronunciation and in writing, as in, “She dressed like a slutty pirate for are Halloween party.” Not that anyone minded either the incorrect use of “are” or her costume.

        Cool video.

  3. Recently, a retired English teacher reviewed an edition of THE MIAMI HERALD and found 132 grammar goofs. Most frequent is prep at end of sentence.

    My big peeve is “ya know?” Hillary Clinton has “ya know” disease “super much” (another favorite but it seems to symbolize the hyperbolic tense in a rad way. Whatever.) and so do all the news anchors and their guests. Ya know? Then there’s “like.” Like I was so upset that like I was really freaked and I like could not stand it so I like split like really fast. (Or is it fastly? or feastly,? or fiesta? Whatever.)

    I hardly don’t never make grammar missstakkes. They’re typos. See “American Idiots and Their Idioms ” ( know underline book but can’t on blog write) by “No Way” Jay, Wet Frog, MO:Dopey Press (1999). Linguists insist that a language is defined by maxims of communicability not syntax and the grammar variances are not incorrect, but a subset of the “regulated form” languare. Now how’s that for a bunch of bunk. Or is it a passle of bunk or a ton of…? Whatever.

  4. I took the only job that I could find when I moved back to Rochester from Boston in the late 90’s. I worked for a marketing company that is still in existence that shall remain nameless. My job title was ‘marketing associate’ or something irrelevant like that. During my interview, I was told that they were putting me on the ‘management’ track.
    In reality, I was thrown into a room with a bunch of other telemarketers hawking/harassing businesses all day to purchase copiers. [there is a point..promise!] I remember being shocked at how all these people [my co-workers] talked on the phone and to each other…’ain’t got no_____’ [fill in the blank] was a common phrase used. My boss would say she was ‘doing good’ instead of ‘well’. I couldn’t stand it. They thought I was a snob for calling them out on their crappy grammar. Needless to say that job didn’t last very long.

  5. My “favorite” error is AKS used in place of ASK. It boggles my mind that people can’t see the S comes before the K. Then again, can these people read?

    1. I have come to consider that dialect in speech. For example: “I have to axe you a question.” I don’t mind the dialect, so long as it doesn’t show up as “aks” or “axe” on papers. So far THAT hasn’t been an issue. That said, no one seems to know there, their, they’re; to, two, 2, too; which, witch. It’s killing me. (Or is it “it’s” or “its”?) 😉

      1. When it comes to “it’s” and “its,” I have to ask my husband all the time. I don’t know why I can’t remember. According to the rules they both should be it’s, but they aren’t so that we can differentiate between them.

  6. Here is something interesting for you: My native language is German and here in Germany many find it en vogue to use English words, no matter what their actual proficiency in English is. Many Germans think it provides an international flair.

    Germans even started making up English words to pursue this passion: a cell phone is, ahem, in German a “handy”, while the “rucksack”, a German word that actually made its way into English, was by one manufacturer called “body bag” – to the bewilderment of English and American visitors at an industry fair.

    Now comes the grammar part: In English the apostrophe indicates possession, “Mike’s car”, while in German possession is shown by just adding the “s”, “Mikes Auto”. Can you guess what happened? Germans started to incorporate the English rule into German: “Mike’s Auto”. This got so bad that the apostrophe invaded the plural of words, which often are done by adding an “s” as well, and the already wrong singular “Mike’s Auto” is then sometimes written as “Mike’s Auto’s”.

    Another example that always makes my toe nails cringe is “makes sense”: In German “makes sense” is correctly expressed as “hat Sinn”, literally “has sense”. But thanks to bad translations, “hat Sinn” is now more often than not “macht Sinn” – despite that the verbs “machen” (to make) and “haben” (to have) have quite different meanings in German.

    And we get all this in addition to the usual bad grammar due to little interest in the written word and the wonders of texting 😉

    1. Evil Cyber,

      So are you saying our hideous grammar is a cancer that is wreaking havoc all over the world? Ack!

      And by the way, I see plenty of native born Americans writing: “Mike’s Auto’s” just because they don’t know any better. You at least have the whole, “It’s my second language” argument to fall back on. What ‘s the excuse for our kids, who cannot master their own tongue?

      So texting hasn’t helped matters – but the reality is that teachers inflate grades and we don’t always give the best assignments to help students work on their grammar. I keep waiting for my 6th grader to get some kind of correction on any of his papers that would indicate that someone notices he doesn’t know how to use commas! Stay tuned.

      1. Well, ultimately we brought this change for the worse upon us ourselves. It is not a solely American trend, nor is it made in the USA.

        I think on the surface it might look like English has won as the new “lingua franca”, but will ultimately suffer just like all others, maybe worse. Its native speakers may mistreat it now, but in the future the language’s usage will be dictated by those who don’t quite grasp their native tongue and much less English, ending it all in the lowest common denominator.

        English will lose many of its finer points and the altering you now witness might end in a language still labeled “English”, but very different from what it is now. “Ironic Mom” below is correct that language is always changing, but in my opinion these changes aren’t necessarily for the better.

        And, oh, we have inflated grades as well, mind you 😉

  7. Renee: I have a joke for you. Have you heard this one? Here I go.

    A few guys were walking through Harvard Yard and stopped to ask for directions.

    Random Guy: “Excuse me, can you tell me where the library’s at?”

    Harvard Guy: (Spoken in a very distinguished tone) “At Harvard, we don’t end our sentences in prepositions.”

    Random Guy: “OH, ok. Do you know where the library’s at, asshole?”

    Funny, right?

  8. Your post was so interesting that I got sidetracked and my schedule is behind. I should of been at the gym but now Ima be late.

    The really strange thing is that I just discovered this guy for the first time ever today, this morning as I prepped my constitutional law class. I had never heard of him. Now he pops up here! I found it very strange.

    Anyway, I’m throwing it out to my Facebook peeps with a nod to check out your site. When I first attached the link to your blog on my wall, I was given the option of showing a thumbnail. The default choices from your site were interesting. It flashed from small child to salad to St. Paulis beer girl to, well, you get the picture. I felt like I was undergoing some kind of psychological examination.

  9. They’re, their, there.

    Aks instead of ask.

    Forms of “disrespect,” as in “He was disrespectin me,” or “He disrespected his granny.” No, no, no. “He was disrespectful OF me” or “. . . toward me.”

    Apostrophe-s errors’. Yes, like the one I just did, here. Puppy’s for sale. Puppies’ for sale. Puppie’s for sale. Orange’s for sale. Pedestrian’s only (in the cement of the sidewalks of a small town in which I once lived. Their, did I say that correctly, by not ending that with a preposition? Don’t aks me if I did that right good or not).

  10. I tend to have liberal views regarding how the English language is changing (google as a verb? Absolutely), but as an English teacher, I love good grammar because it goes unnoticed.

    My latest language pet peeve concerns people (often young women who type in cutesy fonts) who end their sentences in questions.

    To demonstrate:
    -This is a good blog post?
    -I really like your writing?
    -You have great comments?

    It doesn’t translate very well to writing, but I’m sure you get the idea?

    1. I agree that language is ever-changing – in terms of the invention of new words – that’s what keeps things alive and exciting; however, it is just plain dismal when students don’t know their comma rules. There are only about 15. The problem is, in order to apply their comma rules, they have to know about parts of speech, independent and dependent clauses, and other things which I don’t think are being taught at all in schools these days.

      Solid grammar is an act of kindness to the reader. (Or, at least, that’s how I try to sell it to my students.) If I can get through their papers effortlessly, without having to stop or trip up over every sentence, I can grasp their ideas. If I have to keep stopping to decipher their grammar, well… their ideas – no matter how solid – get a bit lost.

      And anyway, I get your drift? (sic)

  11. Mispronunciations are my biggest grammar pet-peeve. My darling wife will say “draw” when she means drawer. she really hates it when I correct her… for example: “Hey babe, where’s the pencil sharpener” “in the middle draw.” “really? which drawing is it in again?”

    “Expresso” really drives me nuts as well. It’s espresso people!

  12. Awesome post! I Love the video. Being French, I know there are words I mispronounce (and misspell!).

    My 2 biggest petpeeves are “should of”, and “accrost” and I will correct people when they say them (just as they correct me when i mispronounce something).

    I do a lot of writing so I have to be very conscious of my grammar (which reminds me, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had much time for blog writing).

    At work, we don’t have to use CAPS as the machine we send the text to reads everything in CAPS. The same goes for dont, wont, cant… no apostrophes. It is well accepted by those who receive the text… then again, they use it too.

    Thus, my laziness for pressing CAPS or the Apostrophe when I type. I, is often sent as i.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  13. Again, back to the philosophical issue: Ebonics seeping into our culture and our writing. I know ‘axe’ is meant to be ‘ask’. It is never correct to say or write ‘axe’. Same with ‘Imaabe’. Some children grow up with this in their homes and are we assaulting someone else’s culture by telling them it is incorrect to use these words? [playing the devil’s advocate, of course]. I know this is bordering on a touchy subject. It really makes me re-think the options of the education system for my kids. The politically correct culture is really getting out of control. I am also relating this to your last post about school in the 70’s and even 80’s. ‘Axe’ would never be tolerated as a word.

    1. Jennifer: Yes Eubonics big problem. Did 34 years inner city high sch Miami. This compounded by 1/2 of 400,000 in system English not primary language and we don’t graduate otherwise competent students because of testing. Fortunately enclaves ethnic groups hire their own and the place functions. Somewhat. Many cases dismissed as police report so inadequately or mystifyingly written. So many role models ethnic TV and news /proper English-why doesn’t it rug off? (excuse my “short speak” used clinical writing/research). System teach read phonetics so they spell phonetically. Me be bail now gotta chill wi my dawgs oe’r to da crib. Adios, hasta leugo!

  14. My pet peeve is a typo. Typos get me every time. I find them in books I read, magazines, etc. I hate typos. In fact, if I’m reading a post and see more than two typos, I can’t go on. 🙂

    Funny post, btw. And my hubby won’t watch my videos either (he sighs). Last night I was rocking out to a “Just Say No To GMOs” music video (I know, DORKY) and he even asked me to turn it down!

    Thanks for stopping by, it’s nice to meet you!

  15. “Less” and “fewer” are not interchangeable. Neither are the words “eager” and “anxious”. It feels so good to admit that hearing those words misused drives me crazy!

    1. I think it is more of an issue in writing. It’s in the writing where things get garbled. Aloud, there is a moment where you might notice a mispronunciation, but – yes, we can understand each other. As a teacher, it can get frustrating when confronted with all the errors. It’s overwhelming.

  16. I know this is not quite on subject but I remember as I teenager my friends and I would often say things in ways that we knew were wrong but sounded fun. We made up our own language to a certain extend that drove our teachers and parents mad. The only difference is we knew what we were doing (most of the time).

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