Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Usage Peeve Bingo

Stan Carey, in his blog Sentence First, has a wonderful post about “Usage Peeve Bingo,” including a wonderful bingo card.  Mind, as an American, I would change the square marked “Americanisms” to “Oxford Comma,” but otherwise I think it’s a wonderful idea!

One thing that would definitely be on a “Usage Peeve Bingo” card I would create would be my personal favorite: “As per.” I cannot tell you how many times I have  run into that in business correspondence, and it makes my skin crawl every time. I know it’s common usage, but it’s a redundancy. (It really is.  Look it up.) The proper usage (in business communications, anyway, should be “Per your request…” and not “As per your request….” However, this is one of those errors that people continue to make. In fact, many business people insist that it is the correct usage, and that “Per your request…” is wrong.

As I have said before, I know that language evolves, and that usage changes. But, like many of us, I tend to remain loyal to what the usage was back when I learned to read and write. Then, again, even the way language is taught has changed. I remember parsing and diagramming sentences, which is – increasingly – a lost art. Come to think of it, I also remember that it used to be common practice to double a final consonant (see “diagramming” in the previous sentence) when adding a suffix such as “…ing” or “…ed” to a word, which also seems to have largely fallen by the wayside.

So, what would you change on a “Usage Peeve Bingo” card? What would you include? Exclude? Accept as the evolution of formal, written language? Reject?

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