Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0: Birthday Edition

Every Wednesday, Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 features handy tips to enhance all of our writing, from daily emails to articles to books. After all, everyone needs to write, right?


Since Friday is my birthday, this week's Editing for Grammarphobes 2.0 is all about me—my biggest grammar pet peeves. I know I'm not perfect, something my old bones remind me of daily, but there are just some issues that drive me insane. You know. You feel the same way. So here are my Top Five Grammar Pet Peeves.

Unwittingly making plural things possessives

No matter how many times I rant about this, I still see people using an apostrophe "s" when all they want to do is make the word plural. A plain, old "s" is just fine and grammatically correct.

Happy Holidays from the Smith's

From the Smith's WHAT? Using an apostrophe s connotes possession. It does not make a word plural. 

Graphic courtesy of See Furthest

Not using the Oxford comma

Sorry, AP Stylebook, but I LOVE my Oxford comma and cringe every time I have to leave it out. The Oxford comma (or serial comma) comes before the conjunction in a series. Using it makes the sentence more clear. This graphic from The Gloss shows why.

Adding an "s" to reindeer

The plural of reindeer is reindeer. I don't know why. It just is. Same goes for fish, moose, sheep, bison, buffalo, and plain, old deer. When I hear "All of the other reindeers..." in the Rudolph song, this is how I feel. 

Photo by Maks Karochkin on Flickr.


I hear it's actually in some dictionaries, but I don't care. Irregardless is still not a legit word because it's a double negative. Regardless is correct.

Socialism and communism

Despite what certain members of the press and various politicians have said for the last eight years, socialism and communism are not the same. 

Socialism is “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective governmental ownership and administration of these means of production and distribution of goods” by the community as a whole.

Communism is “the governmental system which advocates the elimination of private property and in which all good are common and available as needed.”

Thank you. The rant is now over. Please continue with your regular activities. Enjoy your day.


A professional writer/editor for almost 30 years, Karen Wojcik Berner's wide and varied experience includes such topics as grammar, blog content, book reviews, corporate communications, the arts, paint and coatings, real estate, the fire service, writing and literature, research, and publishing. An award-winning journalist, her work has appeared in several magazines, newspapers, and blogs, including the Chicago Tribune, Writer Unboxed, Women's Fiction Writers, Naperville Magazine, and Fresh Fiction. She also is the author of three contemporary women's fiction novels and is a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association. For more information on Karen, please visit www.karenberner.com.


Happy birthday!!!!

Your list looks very much like mine! I am a true believer in the Oxford comma. I drive my editing clients nuts with it. ;)
I know, Kelly. I'm so used to using the Oxford comma, it's difficult when I switch to AP Style. I get why AP doesn't use it, with concerns about space and all, but I still think clarity is improved with the Oxford comma.
Doug said…
I'm a YUGE believer in the Oxford comma. The modern fashion of omitting it is a terrible mistake in my view. But, then, so too is the dumbing down of basic English, such as substituting "like" for "as" because some people can't be bothered to learn the difference, or using "real" in lieu of "really". I dislike that "real bad". And don't even get me started on ending sentences with a preposition, especially when it's apparent the the perpetrator did so because of a lack of comprehension on contractions — "Where's the remote at?"

Drives me nuts.
I agree, Doug. Thanks for stopping by.
Anonymous said…
Another Oxford comma fan here!
Yes! Glad to hear it, angel011.
brenda said…
Happy belated birthday! Oxford comment image is the best.

Popular posts from this blog

One Word or Two? Or Is It Hyphenated?

Common Abbreviations and What They Mean

Five Fun Facts About Ralph Waldo Emerson