View Full Version : Biggest Writing Pet Peeve

08-27-2008, 03:03 PM
I read a lot of web sites and articles and blogs and there are a few things that some writers do that just drive me nuts.

One is putting things in "quotes" when the word or phrase doesn't need to be in quotes.

Another is mixing up the usage of words like your and you're or there and their.

What are your writing pet peeves?

08-27-2008, 03:15 PM
I guess my biggest one is when they try to save a buck by not hiring someone skilled in writing. To see a site that's supposed to be a real business that doesn't care enough to have real writing is a big turnoff. It makes them appear very unprofessional.

Closely related to that is machine translated English. Me likes Yoda for entertainment, but a web site for, very bad that is.

08-27-2008, 05:04 PM
my biggest pet peeve which has really exploded in the last few years is when a company features 0% financing.

0% financing means you can't finannce it. I know this becuase 100% financing means I can finance the whole purchase.

What these companies mean... is 0% interest or no interest financing.

I get what they mean of course as do many people but it drives me batty

the goat
08-27-2008, 05:56 PM
It makes me crazy when people write in abbreviations and acronyms, there are so many these days I can't keep track of them. If your not sending a text message, please use the entire word.

I mean WTF!?

08-27-2008, 08:10 PM
Jargon is a big pet peeve of mine. You can't assume that everyone who visits your site will understand all the terms that are familiar to those in your industry. Acronyms get me too. Don't name your product or service something that is so long you have to abbreviate it. Choose a shorter name.

08-28-2008, 07:10 PM
Long sentences full of long words.

Writers who write like writers.

People who start a story, then say "But before I tell you the rest of this story, let me tell you about something else that happened..."

Writers who take forever to get to the point or don't have one.

08-28-2008, 07:24 PM
People who write in circles are a big one for me too. They keep saying the same thing over and over and never get to any sort of conclusion. If you're point is so complicated you need to repeat it several times than you probably need to get a simpler message. Either that or you think everyone who visits your site is so dumb they'll never get your message. Either way it's not good.

08-29-2008, 10:05 AM
all of the above!

09-17-2008, 04:52 PM
your and you're or there and their

These are peeves of mine too. (or should I say, to or two)
Then another one that really gets me more than all of the rest is how often people confuse then and than.

How about Caps Where They Don't Belong, this should be on our lists too. :)
I'm so glad you made this point, I've done this too often, for too long. I think that being conscious of it will help communicate better in writing emails, in forums and at work.


Dan Furman
09-17-2008, 05:11 PM
These are peeves of mine too. (or should I say, to or two)
Then another one that really gets me more than all of the rest is how often people confuse then and than.

When people write "loose" when they mean "lose" drives me nuts. You will lose the race if your shoelace is loose.

Oh, and you couldn't care less. Not could care less. Think about it.

09-17-2008, 05:58 PM
How about Caps Where They Don't Belong, this should be on our lists too. :)
Funny, I'm working on an Editing project and that's one of the corrections I have to make a Lot. There are a Plenty of Capitalized Words, but the good news is, the client and I are the only ones who will ever know unless I miss something. At least you are being spared the grief because this client is wise enough to have it edited rather than just publish. For that reason, I don't mind, it's the ones who perpetrate this on the world without professional help that you have to worry about.

09-17-2008, 06:54 PM
The one thing that gets me most is trying to remember, when to use the right one. While i know i probably did all of this in English in High School i just have a lot of trouble remembering it properly. The spell checker often picks up the obvious ones with the grammar though, but does let some through.

09-17-2008, 10:18 PM
Caps where they shouldn't be is a big one for me. I think sometimes people capitalize random words because they think it makes the word stand out more. All it really does is make them look like they don't understand the basic rules of grammar. I find it very annoying and I see more and more people doing odd sorts of capitalization on their web sites.

09-18-2008, 01:56 AM
I must admit that i am guilty of this sort of capitalization. I do not really intend to do it i just find that sometimes i look back over something that i have written and find i capitalized a few words and cannot understand why i did it. But then i catch myself so often not putting capitals on names and place names and the such.

The other thing i have trouble guessing or working out i suppose is that of how to capitalize a title. I am sure i remember from school being taught to capitalize all the words unless they are are words like "the", "if" or other joining words. But really cannot remember.

09-18-2008, 11:03 AM
Title capitalization is a weird one. I remember learning the same rule that you did.

Just to refresh our memories, here are the rules of capitalization in titles. (http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipmar98.htm)

09-22-2008, 03:41 PM
All of those are good.

What really annoys the bejesus out of me is faulty logic - I like to think I am an amateur expert in basic logic. Yet you'll see claims like this:


You can not inherently prove a negative. Period. It's logically impossible. And of course there are the eleven billion forms of logic errors people put in marketing writing which is supposed to be persuasive.

A short list of common logic fallacies is here:

Fallacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy)

Paul Elliott
12-14-2008, 01:49 AM
Just to refresh our memories, here are the rules of capitalization in titles. (http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipmar98.htm)

Thanks for the resource, Kristine.


Paul Elliott
12-14-2008, 01:59 AM
Major Irritants-- :mad:

1. "Hopefully, we can go tomorrow." WRONG! What is really meant is, "It is to be hoped (or "We hope"), we can go tomorrow."

2. This one is more often spoken than written, "Me and him will go." WRONG! "He and I will go," of course.

3. "Everyone who goes will be taking their lunch." WRONG! That is lack of agreement of a pronoun and its antecedent. "Everyone who goes will be taking his (or his or her) lunch." "Everyone" is single and "their" is plural.


12-14-2008, 04:29 PM
Major irritant for me

"seen" instead of "saw"

Don't see that one in writing all that often, but I do hear it on occasion when people speak. Drives me nuts.

01-03-2009, 08:35 AM
There are some good ones here! Mixing up the word usage (to and too) drives me nuts. The spell check doesn't catch it, so they let it go.

Another one...

Using tax return and tax refund incorrectly! A tax return is what you file... the paper form, or electronically. A tax REFUND is the money that you get back! Yes, it is returned to you, but it doesn't matter! We will be hearing that one more in advertising over the next few months.

And while I am at it, when someone refers to a tax refund as "getting your income taxes back." Income taxes do NOT come back to you... the tax is paid.

I hear that one too often in ads... "Buy now and pay when your income taxes come back."

Paul Elliott
01-03-2009, 01:40 PM
Irregardless = WRONG! The word is regardless.

Orientate = WRONG! The word is orient.

Their, there, they're are commonly missused.


01-03-2009, 06:49 PM
I think that the their, there, they're is most commonly misused because people do not think that maintain the knowledge of how to apply them from school. Then it really comes down to no motivation to go and learn the difference and they end up just using the wrong word in the wrong place, and really it is probably a minority that will actually pick the wrong one.

01-04-2009, 10:39 AM
Your and you're is another one that's frequently misused. It's and its as well.

I'm not sure if people don't remember how to use them properly or don't care, but it grates on me. It's not that hard to get it right.

Harold Mansfield
01-04-2009, 02:41 PM
Bad English. It drives me nuts that people who do not speak English as a first language continually try to pass of their bastardization as if no one will ever notice, and, they don't take the time to consult with someone who does before posting their broken version on a blog, web page, or even worse... selling articles, or writing services.

I see this a lot lately since I am actively looking for bloggers for a few sites, and it drives me nuts that some writers from other countries will swear to high water that they are fluent, however , when you view examples of their writing it's like listening to Charo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charo).

I don't speak any other languages fluently, so I would never attempt to write an article in Spanish.

If you are attempting to create an English language website, or article, shouldn't you be able to speak it, or at least have it reviewed by someone who does?

Why would anyone expect to be hired as a writer, if their content needs to be continuously corrected ?

It is different on forums and such, and I will go out of my way to understand the poster, but nothing burns me more than seeing a webmaster posting a site for review that is written in English, and they haven't even attempted to correct the obvious limitation that they know they have.

That being said, I am guilty of just about everything that has been mentioned in this thread, and find myself re-editing posts all the time. :) I can deal with a mistake here and there, but at least be able to structure a sentence properly so that I don't have to read a sentence 6 times.

Dan Furman
01-05-2009, 01:28 PM
Heh heh - totally biased opinion here, but I feel the quality of the writing is directly related to the price one is willing to pay (or receive, to turn it around on the writer). :)

To see this from a professional writer's point of view, I likely look at blog-type writing the same as a plumber would look at a leaky faucet. In a monetary sense, it's simply not worth the same amount in the professional / client's minds. Do I want to pay $100+ to have a leaky faucet fixed? Heck no. But can the pro plumber charge less? Nope.

I get asked a lot to write blogs (and in the same vein, SEO type articles.) I find most people are willing to pay $5-$15 for such (not implying that's what you are paying, Eborg). Which won't work for me (and those I consider peers.) So the bulk of that type of work ends up by going to the part-timers of the world (the people happy to be paid anything to write) or it goes to (mostly foreign) companies where the "writer" is a (very low) salaried person. And that's where quality issues come in (for what it's worth, I do write a weekly blog for two clients.)

(geez, you think I could have used some more brackets in that paragraph?)

The above isn't a complaint, mind you - it's more or less the way things are in almost any business. To use a plumbing analogy again, there are really two levels - the pros and the "handymen" of the trade. There's a need for both. It's just the handymen (largely) won't do pro work.

Harold Mansfield
01-05-2009, 03:45 PM
You are absolutely right Dan, there is a difference. Even I get a little scared when I see someone willing to write an article to my specification for something like $5. (and I have seen cheaper)

I can't believe that anyone would work so cheap. I wouldn't get out of bed for $5. (unless of course my bed was the floor)

Consequently the articles usually suck.

Of course these type of cheap labor writers cannot write anything other than basic blog posts with a few key words thrown in, which I can do myself. (and the English is always horrible)

For those type of writers, I'll throw out a pay per performance type of offer...basically, you can monetize your own content on my site with either your adsense code or an affiliate link. If your writing is any good, you will get repetitive traffic and make residual income for the life of the article.

Many do not respond to such offers because they know they suck. Only people confident in their research, information and SEO think it's a good deal.

01-07-2009, 12:55 PM
How low can it go? I've seen some offers lately for $1.50 per article. :eek:

And that's for "original, researched, optimized" articles.

Just H
01-27-2009, 02:38 PM
definitely agree with all of the above - my worst peeve is the your/you're wrong usage. right up there tho is the their/they're/there. run-ons are kind of annoying tho you can generally follow. but incomplete sentences where you can tell they haven't been edited and just were a thought that turned into something else, like: if it wasn't for the shower curtain not quite closing, so i noticed the toilet was leaking near the seal and i had to hire this plumber who WAY overcharged me but then his truck wouldn't start and his friend came to jump it and we hit it off right away! that's kind of a run-on, shift focus. i guess just unfocused and unedited writing in general. (i could've spared you that waste of time huh?!)

for websites in general, it really bugs me too when they have a link to something you want and it goes to something completely unrelated and you have to go thru and click numerous times to get to what you were actually looking for. i often just tend to leave the site.

01-27-2009, 04:45 PM
I'm with you on the links thing! I hate clicking on a link to get to a specific thing and the link takes me somewhere else and I have to wade through a bunch of crap that doesn't interest me to get to where I want to be. Very annoying.

01-28-2009, 12:11 AM
The link thing bugs me too, though sometimes I can forgive it. I know I've linked out to pages from my blog and the page later disappears. Reminds me I should run a check to clean those up.

The you/you're, they're/there/their bugs me though I'll accept that sometimes it's a typo. When I see it misused all the time it starts to get annoying. Using txt speak where it's not appropriate is another one. It's fine in certain places, but some people use it in places where it doesn't belong. It won't surprise me when people start using it in resumes.

What bothers me even more than the writing things is when someone can't form a complete thought. I can put up with most any writing as long as I understand what's being said, but when you can't understand at all it's a waste of time to read.

01-28-2009, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the link, Kristine.

I appreciate language resources that give good examples, not just for website content, but for a high school boy, who seems to have missed quite a few of the basics. :)

01-28-2009, 12:43 PM
Glad you're finding it helpful, Dynocat.

I think everyone has a grammar pet peeve or two. Since I write for a living, I tend to see a lot of them out there. It constantly amazes me that so many glaring errors, at least to me, make it on to people's sites.