Monday, March 13, 2006

The Grammar Nazi

Although I freely admit that my grammar is far from perfect, I'm widely known to be a grammarian. Indeed, I've been called a grammar Nazi more than once. My keyboard would wear out before I could tell you all the grammatical atrocities I've encountered in person, heard on the radio or TV, or, worst of all, read on the internet. Today, I'm only going to list a small sampling of some of my "favorites."

  • Following "literally" with an exaggeration. This misuse offends me not so much from a grammatical standpoint as it does from a logical perspective. Committing this offense is literally worse than murder.
  • Using "epicenter" to mean "center." I believe people make this error because "center" just doesn't seem erudite enough for them. Encountering this transgression hurts me to the very epicenter of my being.
  • Using "penultimate" to mean "ultimate." As in the previous case, I speculate that people believe adding syllables makes them sound more educated and intelligent; that is the penultimate cause of this mistake.

(Speaking of "erudite," have you noticed that people will often add an extra syllable by inserting an I after the R? I think this is another outcome of the longer-is-better mindset I described above.)

Do you have your own pet grammatical peeves? Feel free to include them in a comment.

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