Grammar Geek

Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I considered majoring in English in college because I love words. I love reading words. I love writing words. I love speaking words. I even love grammar.

I am a grammar geek. I don’t try to hide it.

Proof?

I enjoy diagramming sentences.

How much more geeky can you get?

But it isn’t in diagramming sentences that my grammar geekiness is most seen. It’s in how annoyed I get when people use improper grammar.

My latest frustration?

Using words as a different part of speech than they are intended to be used as.

Perhaps the most frequently heard example of this is using the word invite as a noun (instead of the verb it is intended to be.)

No, you should not send out an invite. That’s just not right. There’s no such THING as an invite. Invite is a verb. You CAN invite someone to your function. You CAN send out an invitation. But you CANNOT send out an invite.

Likewise, invite is not an adjective. You cannot send out an invite card. Again, you CAN send out an invitation.

And then there’s the one I started hearing recently from an organization I’ve gotten involved with.

Using the word timely as an adverb.

“You need to get this done timely.”

No, no, no!!!

You need to get this done in a timely manner.

Timely is an adjective and should only be used to modify a noun. If there’s no noun to be modified, there’s no use for the word timely.

Get it right already!

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves? Do you use either of these words improperly? Or do you think I’m just too picky and should get over myself?

***As a side note, I recognize that I have my own grammatical foibles, particularly as it concerns punctuation. I use commas much more liberally than most modern editors prefer and, when blogging, I frequently use dashes to avoid having to actually use proper grammar. I occasionally put apostrophes in the word its when I DON’T mean it is and I’m sure I have even more errors that I have failed to notice. If any of those are your pet peeves, feel free to let me know so I can correct them :-) But at least I try to be grammatically correct. It seems like half the world couldn’t care less whether they’re actually speaking English or not!

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Reader Comments (3):

  1. The one that really “gets my goat” is sell and sale. They are not interchangeable words, although it appears that most Alabamians don’t know that. They also think that they sound the same, too… which they don’t.

    Just this past week I saw a sign that read, “For Sell. Must Sell. Will Sell.” Huh? Are you serious? I’ve also seen signs for a “Yard Sell”. AGH!

    Thanks for the vent space. :)

  2. bekahcubed says:

    Oh wow! That would drive me nuts, Becky. It must be a regional thing, though. Thankfully, Nebraskans don’t have as much problem seeing the distinction between the two.

  3. Loud Thumb says:

    My Websters dictionary indicates that timely can also be used as an adverb meaning opportunely, although it also notes “archaic”.

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