Tuesday, 11 October 2016

“Have your wages been garnished?”

Why yes they have. In fact last week’s paycheck was covered with mustard, relish, and some sort of pickle.


This quote is from a radio commercial I heard today advertising a financial planning/restructuring firm. I’m not sure I’d go to a financial expert who doesn’t know the difference between garnish (a condiment) and garnishee/garnishment (withholding of wages to satisfy a debt). What kind of financial management advice would they give? “Hold the mayo”? 

How often do you see people use the word breaks when referring to a vehicle’s stopping system, aka brakes? You can break your brakes, but you really can’t brake your breaks. The words sound the same but they are not interchangeable although it seems that 75% of the population think so.

And don’t get me started on the possessive/plural issue. When I see a sign like this I always wonder, drop-in’s what are welcome? What do drop-ins have that anyone would welcome, especially a hearing clinic? It’s confusing as hell.


Here’s another favourite: “Him and me went to the mall”. Say what???? Would you say, “Me went to the mall”? Of course not, unless you're (your/yore) trying to do a bad Tonto impersonation.

And it’s not just in common speech or local advertising you see these errors; it’s in media as well. The ‘amount’ (aaaaak!) of linguistic errors found in your local paper every day is appalling. If so-called professionals can’t be bothered to use the language properly what hope do we have for the great unwashed who take their cues from people who should know better.

Now I know that languages (language’s?) evolve over time but we’re not talking about spelling changes or new words entering the lexicon. These are basic structural elements to the language that millions of people speak every day and which deserve some respect. Years ago when I was hiring staff a resume with basic linguistic errors such as these went straight into File 13. If I were to do the same thing today I expect I’d have a hard time filling any position. Now, as long as a word passes Microsoft’s spell check, it’s fine.

It makes me crazy. (And a ranting pedant, but so be it.)


  1. One of my pet peeves is except and accept. Also I seen it instead of I saw it.

  2. Oh dear, you got me going.

    My pet peeves are verbs as nouns (that's a big ask), nouns as adjectives (the cook on that steak is perfect), and adjectives as nouns (we're in all the verticals, including healthcare and retail), and I am sure there are others.

    When you combine those with the messed up plurals and misplaced homonyms, then throw in some acronyms for good measure, it's enough to get me not only to tune out, but to turn my back and wander away.

    Thankfully my ISP let me have more Gig's for the same buck's so now I can cerf the web without braking the bank and I'll be able to get to all those grammer sights and to avoid pissing off all the spelling trolls.

  3. For a split second I thought Donald had sued you for the horrible hateful things you said about him in that other post, and that lots of people, terrible people really, say about him, all the time, because they're loosers, and haters, like lying Hillary, and all those Mexican rapists.

    1. Ah yes, the Donald. A bottomless pit of material for political cartoonists, satirists, and late night talk show hosts. But it's his supporters that really, really scare me.

  4. Ahhh pet peeves coming to light. (notice I didn't use 'lite')

    Aren't you glad we learned the most difficult language first? I think people are just getting lazy and can't be bothered learning proper terminology, spelling, and grammar.

    1. Trobairitz - People will be as lazy as they can get away with so that's a large part of it. And shortcuts 4 twitter don't help. But I also blame those that should be enforcing and demonstrating proper usage in everyday conversations, media reports, and so on.

  5. Sadly, we are all guilty of it sometimes. I was working on my blog earlier and reread something that was just a truly horrible sentence; yet when I was typing it it made perfect sense to me.

    1. Robert - True enough, but the key word is "sometimes".


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