Pet Peeves around North American Grammar and Phrases

Completely random post here.  Here are grammar offences (or just irksome/lazy phrasing) that can regularly be heard on TV news, talk-shows and interviews in the US (some by prominent news casters), but occasionally in Canada too.

“We’ve already began”

That should be, “We’ve already begun,” or, “We’ve begun…”  Yes, scientists in commercials for unpopular oil companies lose whatever credibility they had left with me.

“I have went to….”

That should be, “I went to…,” or, “I have been to…”

“That’s a savings of….”

That should be, “A saving of..” – shame on voice-over artists of America

“Anyways, …”

That should be, “Anyway, …”

“The dog wants in.”

What, on a game of poker?  That should be, “The dog wants to come in.”

“Write me.”

No bite me.  Blame this on various non-English European languages for influence with reflexive syntax.  “Write me,” is short for, “Write for me,” like, “Write me a letter.” or, “Get me a shovel.” or, “Sing me a song.” which is why it doesn’t make sense on it’s own.  “Write me a letter.” is fine, but the lazy shortening of this pervades.

“I didn’t do nothing.”

Well then guilty as charged, because you logically did something if you didn’t do nothing.

“We did good.” or “We did perfect.”

Good is an adjective, not an adverb.  “We did well.” is fine.  You can often hear a famous female daytime host say, “Eat healthy.”  It should be, “Eat healthily.” but I think the incorrect one is a lazy devolution from, “Eat healthy food.” which is a correct use of a the adjective.  The incorrect use of adjectives instead of adverbs is hard to fight for because (like gender and conjugations in some languages) it seems redundant; it just doesn’t sound right to my English years when it’s used incorrectly.

“The exact same”

If it’s the same it is equal.  Being exact has become an overly used redundant emphasis – indicators of excessive lively? :-).  If it is less than the same then it may be similar, but once it’s the same, exactness adds nothing.

“Write a test”

This isn’t a grammar mistake, but more of an annoying colloquialism.  Surely the person writing the test is the author.  Admittedly the common English thing is to, ‘take a test’ (as in, “I’m taking my exam today.” or, “I’m taking my driving test.” with the latter being inconsistently the same in North America), but then one could ask where it is being taken.  An equally irksome related phrase is ‘Take up the test’ which is to be interpreted as to go through the answers in class and mark it or make corrections vs. the more literal image of it being collected for marking by the teacher, right before everyone takes up knitting perhaps – ok I’m mocking now and I wanted to round it off to 10 items.

And just to turn it up to 11 ;-):

Last week a saw an commercial for a lawyer on TV that said they had (in text), “Over 20 years experience.”  Not a lawyer into detail then.  For those that don’t get it – there’s an apostrophe missing.