The 5 Most Irritating Writing Errors

ImageI’m a former English major and an unofficial wordsmith. I love reading and I love words. What I don’t love is how people butcher their words when they write, interrupting the flow of what I read.

The world is a much smaller place now and we are constantly bombarded with information…

*24 hour access to news and entertainment
*Commercials before the videos we watch on YouTube
*Product suggestions that pop up after each game we play on our phone

…not to mention the many social media outlets and apps we download to be up-to-date and in the know all of the time.

But with all of this information at our fingertips, one would think that we as a society are getting smarter but it seems that we are actually getting dumber by the download. We make so many grammatical errors when we write that I sometimes wonder if the information has gotten so overwhelming that we’ve forgotten the basics.

So I made a list the 5 most irritating writing errors that I’ve encountered:


1.  Can we turn off the ‘text speech’ please? — It’s amazing how many people either cannot or do not know how to write in plain English anymore. I’m so sick of getting emails, updates and posts written in text lingo. I understand that it’s not a ‘best practice’ to spell out every word we text (mainly for 3 reasons- it takes too long to type on those tiny keyboards, everyone doesn’t have unlimited texting and don’t want one message delivered on 3 pages and people don’t want to read an extremely long text) but some individuals need to learn how to turn off the text jargon when they are writing things of importance like a job application, an email, an essay, a FB post. I sometimes need a translator to figure out what the person is saying to me. Overall, people appear to have failed remedial English courses when they don’t know to turn off the texting when writing things that matter.

2. Prolly – I had to mention this one on its own. I almost fell out of my seat the first time I saw this written in an email I received. The person meant probably but he wrote prolly.  The young man thought that he was spelling it correctly because he spelled everything else right in the email. I thought it was a one-time mistake but I’ve seen it more often over the past 6 months than I care to mention. (SN: today I saw proby in a tweet.) Proby? Prolly? Rilly?

Speaking of spelling…
3. Using the letter, number or the phonetic spelling as a part of or in place of the word — I think this one gets my panties in a bunch the most. I’ve noticed that people are spelling words phonetically, moreso than correctly, now-a-days (even though ‘respelling‘ isn’t taught in school anymore. Remember that?)  But unfortunately, a lot of us do not pronounce our words correctly, therefore spelling them phonetically is impossible.
Its not xcptble 2 ryt a 200 wrd pston FB were mosta da wrds need 2b trnzsl8d b/c vwls r lef out or wrds r spelled ncorctly.

Here are some of the most irritating ones:
‘mi’ – me (not my)
 ‘fa’ – for
 ‘da’ or ‘de’ – the’
‘wif’ – with (I thought it was ‘wife’)

It’s not just text speech outside of texting and tweeting that gets me. It’s the fact that we don’t know elementary English structure.

4. Contraction vs Possession — I get it. Little Johnny struggled with knowing the difference in 4th grade. Well, Little Johnny is now 40-years-old and not-so-little, so Big John needs to get it together. We should know the rules by now. A contraction has that little thing called an apostrophe in it with one or two letters following because it represents two words. Possession means you own it…period.

So let’s work on learning the difference. Its irritating to see that your still using there as a possessive pronoun and when saying they are.

contraction              possession
you’re (you are)       your (dog)
it’s (it is)                   its (paw)
they’re (they are)     their (money)    there (location like ‘here’)

Quick tip — instead of using the contraction, use the two words the contraction stands for to see if the sentence makes sense. So if I tell my child that ‘you are going to eat this’, I wouldn’t write ‘your going to eat this’.

5. Subject-Verb Agreement — With some people, the subject and verb always fight and never agree. Others have the nerve to put the verb at the end of the sentence.

Subject-verb agreement is so basic…single subject, singular verb; more than one subject, plural verb. What yo’ name is? … They was going to the store … What kind of food that is? I often hear our young people speaking this way. But I tell my 13 year old son, ‘we are judged by how we speak’ and if you sound uneducated, people will treat as a lesser than. Sad but true.

What will become of our country when these children graduate high school and enter the work force?

ImageI know I said 5 but here a few honorable mentions.

*A vs An & An vs And — Yes, believe it. Some still don’t know when to use A vs. An. But I’ve also seen And written in place of An. LIsten, if your noun begins with a vowel or vowel sound, don’t use A before it. Don’t say ‘a apple, a iPhone, a effort, a heir’. It’s ‘an apple, an iPhone, an effort, an heir’. Yes, heir begins with a consonant but with a silent H, the word begins with a vowel sound. When using ‘and’, just remember that it’s a conjunction, joining two ideas together and not an article to be used before a noun.

*The Forgotten Ly — So many people neglect to put ‘ly’ at the end of their words…i.e ‘Do it respectful’…’Come to me correct’..’Handle it different.’ “LY” makes an adjective an adverb (explains to the extent), so the correct way to say these phrases are ‘Do it respectfulLY’…’Come to me correctLY’..’Handle it differentLY.’ The most overused and forgotten LY is — seriousLY. So if you want to be taken seriously, don’t say ‘I want to be taken serious’.

*Saying the subject, then immediately following it with a pronoun — ‘My brother, he’ ‘My sister, she’ — you’ve already told us whom you are speaking, there’s no need to repeat it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and other grammatical pet peeves you have.

Who Wuda Thunk? That information overload can cause information breakdown…


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