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You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

Nobody wants to see your peeves

The Baltimore Sun

A recent public invitation to submit language peeves hauled in the usual trash fish in the seine. Viz.:

Gone missing

This British import has drawn resentment, but it is a handy construction to identify when a person that is expected to be in their usual place is absent without explanation.* Wandered off in a fugue state, captured and probed by aliens from the Orion Nebula, went around the corner to buy cigarettes. Until we know the circumstances, innocuous or sinister, we can use the neutral gone missing.

Irregardless not a word

Come off it. You know perfectly well it’s a word. It has a spelling, a pronunciation, an etymology, and a meaning. In fact, it has a nuance; it is an emphatic form of regardless. You just dislike it because it is colloquial rather than standard English, and you are operating under a misapprehension that standard English is the English.


No session of peevery is complete without disparagement of the Young People and the way their vile texting abbreviations are destroying the language. LOL for “laughing out loud” has been around so long that Larry David made fun of a character pronouncing it in conversation in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm seven years ago. Seven years ago. Do try to keep up.

Publicly parading your language peeves is like announcing which vegetables you dislike and calling that nutrition. It is idle. An online editors’ group of which I am a member won’t tolerate peeving because it is not serious discussion. If you begin to catalogue your peeves there, an administrator will politely invite you to take it outside.

Nobody cares about your peeves. The people who use the language you deplore don’t care what you think, and the people who agree with you are just going to shoulder you aside so they can air their peeves.



*I don’t often get the opportunity to annoy uninformed sticklers twice in a sentence: that/who and singular they.

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