10-ish Things that Annoy Me about the Way People Use English (and 10 Things I’m Just Fine With)

Look at that, a list! Such clickbait. But I’m not sure how much of a list it’ll be: at the moment I can only think of three or four things to put on it, though perhaps I’ll think of more as I write. Because you see, I’m not sure there are so many things that really annoy me about the way native speakers use English. I’ve been thinking about this recently while looking round the internet to see what other people are writing about the English language. And there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, but I noticed that a lot of people like to write about things that annoy them about the way people use English. Reading what they wrote, I realised that I don’t seem to get so annoyed about things like that. Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher so I’m used to understanding the reason behind a mistake. Maybe I’m just curious about why people say things the way they do.

I understood why these people got annoyed of course, and I know why we naturally don’t like when people say something differently from how we do. So I thought to myself: Are there things that annoy me? Let’s see what I can come up with…

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He Had Had Good Grammar, Had he?

What does it really mean to be grammatically correct? Is it important? People often tell you that you shouldn’t get bogged down in grammar when learning a language, and should aim for real communication. And I agree about that whole communication thing, but you still need good fundamental grammar to do so. Grammar and natural use of English don’t have to be enemies. Continue reading

Is Good Grammar Necessary?

This is a question that always sparks debate, and we probably all know people whose views fall on opposite sides of this debate. Some are sticklers for grammar, pouncing on any tiny error with relish. Others put less thought into how they use language and make errors without regard to how well they’re understood. And most people fall somewhere in between these two extremes. If you’ve ever been concerned about whether you have good grammar or not, then let me reassure you that your grammar is almost definitely much better than you think. Such is usually the case for most people in terms of their native language. But to know exactly what we mean by having good grammar, first we need to look at what grammar is.

What is grammar? Continue reading