Shannon Stacey

Nails on a chalkboard

I read an excerpt last night that stayed with me to the point I’m still thinking about it this morning. But it didn’t stay with me in such a way I’m dying to run out and buy it. It stayed with me like cheap canned chili.


Thru is not a word. Yes, we see it every day as we go through bank drive-thrus and Dunkin Donuts drive-thrus, but it is not a word one uses in a book in place of through. Ever. Honestly.

Yes, I know genre fiction uses a less formal language than other literary works. And I neither know nor care if Webster or Oxford added it due to common usage. I don’t care if your editor didn’t highlight it and mark “WTF?” in the margins of your document. I don’t even care if the President makes it the Official freakin’ Word of the Month.

Don’t use thru in place of through in your book and expect me to take that writing seriously. I pointed. I laughed. I left.

:deep breath:

So I know gotten tends to annoy our neighbors across the pond. What other words drive y’all nuts?

14 comments to “Nails on a chalkboard”

  1. Jaci Burton
      · September 13th, 2006 at 9:08 am · Link

    For some reason alrightseems to have become acceptable. It bugs me. It’s all right, dammit.

    Uhh….I need :coffee:

    And still :lmao: about that excerpt.

  2. Emma S
      · September 13th, 2006 at 9:24 am · Link


    It makes me want to cry. A. Lot.

  3. Katie
      · September 13th, 2006 at 10:55 am · Link

    Oh man, I could go on and on about this one. For a while is my biggest. In dialect, you can sit awhile, or sit for a while. Not for awhile. Sigh. Hard to remember, yet so important.

    Alot does bug me too, lol.

    Grammar-wise, the you and I drives me nuts. I is a SUBJECT. He and I are going to the store. Me is mostly an INDIRECT OBJECT. He brought the book for Jake and me.

    Rule – if you take it apart, what would it say? He brought the book for Jake. He brought the book for me. AAAAAHHHH. There it is… :cheesy:

  4. Karen Templeton
      · September 13th, 2006 at 11:13 am · Link

    Katie, YES!!! In fact, we watched the fabulous Helen Mirren ELIZABETH last week, and TWICE the Queen used “you and I” when it should have been “you and me” (i.e. “It’s not up to you and I” instead of “It’s not up to you and me.”)

    I also still cringe when “loan” is used instead of “lend,” but I’m fighting a loosing battle with that one.

    As it happens, I, too, read an excerpt the other day that had me shaking my head. The piece was set at the end of the nineteenth century; the author, in an attempt to make the prose sound appropriate for the period, instead totally bungled things — using the wrong words, the wrong tenses or parts of speech, etc. She was clearly out of her depth. One of those pieces it hurt to read. :crazy:

  5. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · September 13th, 2006 at 2:08 pm · Link

    Oh, man, I’ve got a ton.

    Some phrases:
    “If you think you’re jumping off that bridge, you’ve got another thing coming.”

    NO. That makes NO sense. It’s THINK in both halves! What THING could possibly be coming?

    I’ll wait while you all finish :lmao: at that. :wink:

    Here in central Pennsylvania, there is a regionalism that drives me bonkers. Here’s an example from a notice at my library:

    “E-mail notification is down. All customers need called.” It’s need TO BE called, or need CALLING. I’m fighting a losing battle with my kids, whose teachers all do this.

    Also, around here, people drive truck and ride bike. Arrrggghhh.

    I won’t even get started on the apostrophe’s used in plural word’s.

  6. Karen Templeton
      · September 13th, 2006 at 4:36 pm · Link

    Huh. I was just telling one of the kids about that “needs called” bit (although we were talking about how the cat pan needed TO BE cleaned, so my example was “needs cleaned”). He thinks I’m looney anyway, so he probably tuned me out. :eyebrow:

    And speaking of errant apostrophes. . .what’s up with “The cat was cleaning it’s tail” (instead of “its” tail)? :doh:

    The one that drives my husband around the bend is “where he’s at.” Unfortunately, at our kid’s school Open House the other night, his Special Ed teacher must’ve said it a half dozen times. :shrug: The young (and he is young, oh, my) man did admit that he’d been a math whiz in school, that grammar isn’t his strong suit. But then. . .how is he, um, teaching it???

  7. Shannon
      · September 13th, 2006 at 10:17 pm · Link

    Another one that gets me, and I’m sure it’s just me is “Do you want me to go with?” or “Do you wanna go with?”

    With ME?

    I don’t know if Buffy started it or if it’s just a cool thing to say, but it annoys me to no end.

    Oooh, and the preposition thing reminds me of an old joke:

    Student: Hey, do you know where the library’s at?

    Professor: At this university we do not end sentences with preposition, young man. Please rephrase your question.

    Student: Okay. Do you know where the library’s at, asshole?


  8. Charlene
      · September 14th, 2006 at 1:49 pm · Link

    Maybe I’m in the minority but slang doesn’t bother me, especially in a contemporary. It sounds like the way people talk. Regional dialect, same thing. I don’t want to be so overwhelmed by it that I can’t understand what I’m reading, but for instance A Confederacy of Dunces makes very effective use of improper grammer/dialect/spelling so that when I read it, I HEAR those voices and I believe I’m there.

  9. Bryan
      · September 14th, 2006 at 2:51 pm · Link

    The one that bothers me the most is TRY AND. It’s TRY TO. You don’t TRY AND do something, you TRY TO do it.

    Another that irks me nearly as much is when people want to INSURE something. If you want to pay premiums on the off chance that you’ll lose it, then INSURE it. If, on the other hand, you want to be certain of something then ENSURE it.

  10. Toni Lea Andrews
      · September 14th, 2006 at 4:51 pm · Link

    What drives me crazy is instant message abbreviations with no capitalization or punctuation. You know the ones. Or should I write “u no the 1s.” Aaaarrrrrgh!!!

  11. Karen Templeton
      · September 14th, 2006 at 5:29 pm · Link

    Charlene, as someone who’s always let her characters speak in regional dialect/slang, I have no problem with that — as long as a) the slang/dialect is correct for the character (as opposed to the writer not knowing any better) and b) we’re not talking an example like Shannon’s (“thru” instead of “through”). Unless the author is trying to get the reader to hear a different pronunciation, there’s no excuse for irregular spelling. Except in cases where the writer’s trying to make a point, i.e. “It was the kind of place that served ‘lite’ beer.”

    I know we all got off track by citing examples in everyday speech/writing that make us cringe personally. But we all know our characters aren’t always as anal as we are. :crazy: I do think it’s important, however, for writers to be aware of their own regional speech patterns so they don’t unintentionally make their upper class English businessman sound like a steel worker from Baltimore or a Texan rancher. :doh:

  12. Gabriele
      · September 14th, 2006 at 6:13 pm · Link

    The whole netspeak thingie makes me want to kill some people. Slowly. :whip:

    Stuff like: u r teh gr8est :cursin: I have to read that aloud to get it in the first place. No even chat in an excuse to mutilate a language. So there. :crazy:

  13. Lori
      · September 14th, 2006 at 6:39 pm · Link

    Where do I begin?
    I’m with you on the insure/ensure thing. How about affect and effect? Drives me crazy!

    Also, I heard the library joke Shannon, but it was, “Here at Haahvard, etc.”
    We had a good one just last year. We got a letter from the elementary school that teachers would be conferencing with parents the week before Thanksgiving. I’d never heard of conferencing before. Is that actually a word?

    How about these?
    A whole nother
    Nucular {{shudder}}
    Supposubly (I can’t tell you how many people use this word – un-frickin-believable!)

  14. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · September 15th, 2006 at 8:48 pm · Link

    Shannon, the “go with” predates Buffy. My SIL picked it up in California in the late 80s.

    Everything you guys said is on my list. :)

    Hm. Probably my use of “you guys” for mixed company annoys some of you. That’s a Northeastern thing, right, Shan? :rofl:


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