Grammatical Over-Correction #3: Commas

This is my third post tonight. I’m going to stop after this and do something else like yoga or sleep.

I have a problem. I have chronic comma over-use syndrome. I need all of my fellow grammar Nazis to point out all of my over-use errors. I get sick of editing my posts and removing 900 unnecessary commas. Share your frustration because I know it kills you to read with all those damned commas all over the place.

I welcome your editing.

Grammatical Over-Correction #2

This one is not so much an over-correction as it is grammar meets political correctness.

Hear ye, hear ye, one and all!  The English language does not have a gender neutral singular personal pronoun that is used for human beings.  That, unfortunately (I guess?), means that you have to PICK a gender and not assign a gender neutral plural personal pronoun in it’s place when you need to, well, use a pronoun.  Today’s example from the radio:

Please help a student who is trying to better themselves.

Listen up, folks. Language is not science and it doesn’t always keep pace with political correctness. “A STUDENT” is singular. If you are going to follow this antecedent with a personal pronoun, it must agree in gender and number with the noun. What’s the gender of “a student”, you ask? PICK one!! Imagine the student you are speaking of and give HER a gender. See. I imagined a girl and therefore the pronoun to refer to my student is her (or she, hers or herself depending on what I’m saying about HER.)

The sentence I heard this morning was a PSA. Someone had to approve that!! Do better, people. Will ya?

Would I love to just refer to some people as “it”? Of course I would, and I think it would be fitting. However, English as we know it today does not permit that. Change it if you like. Let’s start a ” Use ‘it’ for people” revolution. But, until it catches on, please make sure your pronouns agree with their antecedents in gender and number.

Thank you kindly.


Grammatical Over-Correction #1

 Today I am annoyed by grammatical over-corrections. Particularly by people who, in an effort to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition, completely eliminate the preposition. Here’s the latest example but there are far more egregious ones.

He has to choose the path he wants to go.

You don’t GO a path. You go DOWN a path. You go NEAR a path. You can even go AROUND a path or TO a path. But you don’t GO a path.

The issue isn’t whether or not the preposition is required, the issue is placement. I understand not wanting to place it at the end because the grammar god told us we can’t, but FIND a place for the preposition. It belongs in the sentence. Put it there. Sometimes I end sentences with a preposition because I think omitting it sounds silly and placing somewhere else and adding ‘which’ or ‘whom’ sounds pretentious. For me, that’s just not the option to go with. 🙂

For me, that’s just not the option with which to go?
For me, that’s just not the option to go?
How about —I’m just not doing that!!–?
That’s better.

OK, I just heard a woman on Project Runway say, “I didn’t know where to start from.”  Now, that’s an error.  The thought was complete at “start”.

Do you see the difference?