Grammar habits a cause for mocking

Maddi Anderson Opinion Editor

If it’s one thing that reminds us of our quirks, it’s family gatherings at the holidays. Depending on who you are, and what your family is like, this could be a good thing or bad thing. 

In my family, similar to many others, we like to pick on each other for these quirks and habits. I mean what better way to show love than a little good natured teasing? Well in my case, my family likes to target my number one pet peeve, and I was lucky enough to have this experience this past weekend when gathering for Thanksgiving.

I fully admit that I am a grammar freak. I accepted this fact many years ago. It really shouldn’t be that surprising considering I am an English major. 

I will never forget the day that my fifth grade English teacher said the words, “bad grammar is like a dagger to my heart.” I find this ironic because at the time I laughed about her dramatic words and the motion of stabbing her heart that went along with it. I couldn’t believe that she could be so insane as to say that bad grammar was equal to physical pain. It was hilarious and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. 

I think karma came back to get me on that one, considering I now completely understand what she meant, although I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say it causes me physical torture, but it’s definitely close. 

This pet peeve of mine makes me an easy target, among my family and friends. All they have to do is say a simple sentence and they know that inside I’m cringing even if I am able to cover it up. In fact, I would go so far as to say some of them get a little joy or humor out of it. My own cousin even admitted to purposefully making grammatical mistakes in her text messages to me in order to drive me crazy. 

The sad thing is, it worked. I can’t stand reading statements that don’t make sense. Even worse, I can’t stand hearing them. When I moved to South Dakota as a freshman, I had never heard the phrase “I seen…” used before. Now I hear it all the time and every time it is like nails on a chalkboard. I have learned to bite my tongue and ignore such phrases and mistakes, but it has taken a lot of practice and chances are, if I know you well enough I will more than likely stop you and make a comment, probably including the words “why do you do that to me” and “ouch.” 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand people make mistakes by accident. It happens to all of us, including myself. 

However, it doesn’t make it any less difficult for me to take when my friends and family are seeking entertainment. Grammar is my weakness and unfortunately for me, it means that gatherings with my family often end with me covering my ears and grimacing. 

We all have pet peeves and strange quirks, and without a doubt I repay the favor by joking around with my family and their annoyances, I just do it with a lovely, grammatically correct, style. 


Madison Anderson is the opinion editor at The Collegian. She can be reached at [email protected].