A pet peeve is a source of irritation that is almost fun to complain about. Maybe grumbling about the little things in life is a way to release frustration over the bigger issues. Following are some common pet peeves, according to the Internet:
- Loud cell phone conversations in public
- Open-mouthed chewing
- Poor driving etiquette
- Talking during a movie
- Cutting in line
- Snapping gum
- Dishes in the sink
- Nail biting
Do any of these behaviors or circumstances excite you to impatience or anger? (Or are you, perhaps, a perpetrator?) Judging by my friends’ posts on my Facebook Timeline, I am a person with a lot of pet peeves—all surrounding the improper use of English. Here is a sampling of the items others have shared with me:
I don’t believe I’m as critical of word-related errors as others assume I am. But I admit to bristling at the occasional linguistic blunder. Over the last few weeks, I paid attention to the verbal gaffes that raised my blood pressure. Here are a few:
Pet peeve: Using “phenomena” as a singular noun.
Incorrect: “The phenomena of global warming is a divisive political issue.”
Correct: “The phenomenon of global warming is a divisive political issue.”
Pet peeve: Not using commas to set off nouns of direct address, especially in conjunction with the word hi. (Even editors I know get this one wrong.)
Incorrect: “Hi Rachel.”
Correct: “Hi, Rachel.”
Pet peeve: Using “track” when “tract” is correct.
Incorrect: “The gastrointestinal track consists of the stomach and the intestines.”
Correct: “The gastrointestinal tract consists of the stomach and the intestines.”
Pet peeve: Using the superlative form of an adjective when comparing two things.
Incorrect: “Between Adele and Rihanna, who is the best singer?”
Correct: “Between Adele and Rihanna, who is the better singer?”
Pet peeve: Using “I” instead of “me” because it sounds correct (but isn’t).
Incorrect: “The waiter was very attentive to Caitlin and I.”
Correct: “The waiter was very attentive to Caitlin and me.”
It can be satisfying to lose our s#*t over an issue of minor importance. We briefly get to play the victim, which confirms our personal innocence. I know I enjoy it.