Friday, June 22, 2012

Punctuation, pronouns, and pet peeves

 From This Embarrasses You and I*Grammar Gaffes Invade the Office in an Age of Informal Email, Texting and Twitter"
"People get passionate about grammar," says Mr. Appleman, author of a book on business writing. They sure do, which is why this Wall Street Journal piece has garnered around 600 comments in just a few days. People chime in with their views on the LinkedIn groups I shared it on, as well

Some of us mess up by accident when typos creep in or due to ignorance of the rules of grammar. One of the things that makes me cringe is seeing constructions like "whomsoever wrote this." In a way it's worse than using "who" where "whom" is warranted because the latter is accepted by some as a less formal, conversational style. The person who inserts the m where it is not needed, on the other hand, is trying to appear well-educated enough to know of the word "whom" while showing ignorance of the fact that it is not to be used as a subject pronoun. 
But the most common irritant is the misuse of apostrophes -- sprinkled over the letter s when just he plural form is needed and not the possessive -- or left in "it's" when the writer clearly means the possessive form rather than the contraction of "it is."