Sunday, January 27, 2013

Five Things That Really Annoy Me!

Here I am, early Sunday morning, writing about things that never fail to annoy me. And these are things that never go away. They're always there, staring me in the face, and no one will alter the situations.

NUMBER ONE: The Amazing Shrinking Newspaper--please don't tell me I can read all the news I want on-line, because I already do that. However, I want my daily newspaper thrown at my house for a very good reason. For decades, we have eaten breakfast at the island which I designed for our house in 1989. To get the proper dimensions, I opened two sections of the newspaper and laid them on the floor side-by-side with generous space between them. This nice big island allowed us to sit on the bar stools, read the newspaper, trading sections, while we ate our Cheerios. (On weekends I actually cook breakfast--under a little duress, but I do it.) But the newspaper is gradually phasing us out, pushing subscriptions to the on-line newspaper every day, and also mentioning the expense of physically throwing the paper to individual houses. If they think reading the paper on my computer while I eat Cheerios is going to work, let me tell you--it won't work.  In addition, I want the daily crossword puzzle.
The newspaper has become thinner and the pages are narrower, giving us even more room on the island.

NUMBER TWO: Apostrophes in Contractions Turned the Wrong Way.  I've written about this topic so many times, it should be evident by now. But no, I still see this often, especially at Christmas when the word 'Tis appears in many ads. Rule: If you use curly quotes, please remember that the tail of the apostrophe in a contraction is ALWAYS turned to the left, even if the contraction is at the beginning of the word. I'm still seeing this error in digital books far too often. The author must take the time to correct it, because Word will automatically turn it to the right, as though to enclose the word in quotes, and the writer must manually change it.
The best solution? Use straight quotes and avoid this problem altogether.

NUMBER THREE: Improper Use of Pronouns. This error seldom happens if there's only one "object" in the sentence. "Adam asked Alice to dinner." This is correct, of course, but an error may occur when an additional person is included. "Adam asked Alice and I to dinner." Not everyone can recognize the error, because it does happen. "Adam played the piano for her and I." Uh-uh. Most often, the error occurs in confusing "I" with "me." I've heard politicians do this, and commentators on news programs, persons being interviewed, and car salesmen in television commercials. It seems that many have an aversion to the word "me," maybe thinking it sounds uneducated.
NUMBER FOUR: Names repeated too often in written dialogue. I'm an expert about this topic, because I am the queen of repeating names. When we have a conversation with a friend or spouse, we don't call the name every other sentence. In fact, we may not do it at all. Therefore, in writing dialogue, the author must identify the person speaking some other way. When I'm writing, I'm unaware I'm using the names so much, but I know to edit and re-write to correct the error.

NUMBER FIVE: Rude Drivers. Why does a driver roar up behind you when you have your right blinker on to either exit off the interstate or turn right at the next corner, and zip around you to be in front so he can turn first? And he barely makes it. And he causes me to hit my brakes so he won't take the front bumper off my vehicle. Rant over, but it happens often to make me wonder what possesses a person to do this? There's no reason for it. All he accomplishes is moving forward one car length...or thereabouts.

Now, everyone have a nice day. If you have a rant, be my guest. I'd love to hear it.        


  1. I chuckled at the shrinking newsletter. Ours only comes out two days a week up here in the mountains. Their editorials were getting so annoying we gave it up. Not much in there anyway. When I saw it on the counter of a coffee shop I was dumbfounded at how small it had become. Even the Sacramento newspapers are shrinking. I know they are shrinking products in food packages and think nobody will notice, but the newspapers???

  2. See? Paisley, I wasn't the only one who noticed this. Half of our paper is full page ads, mostly for furniture. There are few pages anymore with newsworthy articles. but I cling to it anyway. They'll have to take it from my cold dead hands!!!!
    This is the Austin American Statesman--we live 30 mi away--and it's been an award winning newspaper for decades. Now,we know they will phase out paper papers altogether, and also phase out customers. We live a little isolated, but there are other homes out here. However, we see the writing on the wall. They've taken away some little thing, one by my weekly tv schedule--they omitted that two years ago--but I'll hang on until the bitter end. I will not be happy.

  3. I am a victim of the shrinking newspaper, at the other end. We don't have enough advertisers. Period. The paper works through advertisement. It is not published out of the good of the publisher's heart.

    The trouble is that people post their sales etc on their FB pages or direct mail their customers with email blasts about sales, cutting the newspaper out entirely. And the post office.

    My guess is that both the post office and newspaper, if they survive, will be in a much more limited capacity in ten years.

    I hate those crazy drivers. Every time I'm out on the road, I see someone make a split second decision, racing around someone, cutting in front of someone else, and its a miracle an accident doesn't occur.

    I'm not a fan of straight quotes, but I don't like the backwards curly quotes either. I use a lot of 'em in my southern dialect. Always have to go back in and fix 'em.

    Good post!

  4. Our paper is a joke here in Oklahoma City. It's the only paper. It has a huge circulation. Still it's just ridiculous. I buy a Sunday paper once in a while for the coupons.

    Those apostrophes turned the wrong way are getting more and more prevalent--on television ads, IN OUR PAPER, and I even had an editor argue with me about it. I fought tooth and nail, but she insisted I change them to the wrong way. When she did a bit of research and discovered she was wrong, she said, "I'll fix them..."

    Gary comments all the time about the rude drivers all over here. When we moved back here from WV back in 1984, one of the things he talked about was how considerate everyone was on the road here. Not so anymore. Completely opposite. I think it's all over--just a general decline in consideration for the other guy in our society.

    I had an English teacher in grade school who taught us a rule that's always helped with the "I" vs. "me" problem. If you have a sentence like this: "Bob and I went to the car dealership." Take out the first part of the sentence--"I went to the car dealership." That's correct--you wouldn't say "Me went to the car dealership." Same thing for the other way around "He came with Bob and me to the car dealership." Take out 'with Bob and' ... you have "He came with me to the car dealership." You wouldn't say "He came with I to the car dealership." I love that teacher!

    And as for names repeated too often in dialogue...YES. That is such a pet peeve with me. I'm so glad you had this rant. I was glad to join you.

  5. Celia, #5 is my #1 - Rude Drivers just ruin it for me. Then they call 911 and proceed to rant they were the injuried party. I've taken several calls there the "victim" is being chased by rude drivers. That's scary. I wish people wouldn't so "rude" on the road. Perhaps it's a "side effect" of a lack of socialization and our kids growing up "me" orientated.


  6. Double spaces between sentences went out with the typewriter.

    You shouldn't make a possessive out of a generation, like the 1990s . . . not 1990's.

    Also, it's the boss's, not the boss' (dare I put a period there?).

    And basically, let's limit conversation attributions to "he said, she said, I asked, they . . . you get the drift. You don't need to write "said enthusiastically" either. If you've written your dialogue right, the reader will know it was said enthusiastically.

    Wow. I really wasn't planning on ranting. Hmmmm. Thanks for the push, Celia. Or was it a pull?

  7. Rant on, Celia, I'm with you. The shrinking newspaper must be everywhere. But don't they realize if they reduce the paper to almost nothing and also raise the price, they lose more customers? And the P.O., don't even get me started on that subject. Cherly, we must have had the same teacher as this is exactly the way I remember which pronoun to use. So simple. I smile at those important people misusing this all the time in an effort to be "Correct."

  8. Of all the rants, rude drivers is my main peeve. Everyone is in such a hurry to get nowhere. I was making a right turn when I had to stop to allow a family to cross the road. The impatient guy behind me swung around me to pass and almost hit the kids and their parents. It happens so often, especially on major highways, I take the back roads and neighborhood roads as much as I can. People on cell phones in their cars (regardless of the law) really annoy me. They are in their little bubble ignorant of what is happening in the traffic around them. I was at a 4 way stop on an icy neighborhood road. Just as I got ready to slowly move forward, a woman in a huge SUV talking on her cell phone ignored the stop sign and drove right through the intersection missing my car by inches...and she didn't even realize she almost hit me. Grrr!
    Provocative article today, Celia.

  9. I'm with you on the rude drivers. If Ford ever adds a rocket launcher and debris shield as optional items, I just might have to get them. :-)

  10. Our Cincinnati morning newspaper has gotten smaller but the prices have gone up. Our adult children can't believe we still get a paper but we enjoy reading what there is in the morning.

  11. There's nothing much of interest in the paper these days, mostly ads. I read the headlines online, but the DH goes through the paper faithfully.

    As for rude drivers, they are especially rude to pedestrians. They often try to get ahead of me and succeed when I'm crossing the street in the crosswalk, or don't bother stopping if they want to make a right hand turn and I'm trying to walk. That right turn okay law should be abolished, because drivers most of the time abuse it.

    Morgan Mandel

  12. Love the list. I too love getting my newspaper delivered to my door (or end of my driveway is it were). And I also wonder about drivers sometimes. It's like "I have to be first, no matter what." We are too much in a hurry, it seems.

  13. Maggie--that's right. I'd forgotten that you see the other side of the newspaper business. We know it's inevitable, but nice habits are hard to break, and I won't give it up until I have to. We did stop taking the local paper a few years ago--it truly became laughable. It did have great human interest articles, and columns by citizen, etc. All that disappeared and it became, as we said, a photo op for our female mayor--half a dozen photos every day.

    It's a wonder we don't see more accidents on the streets and highways than we do. There are a lot of daredevils and aggressive drivers--for no reason. Thanks.

  14. Cheryl--I just see you arguing with the newspaper editor about those apostrophes. I contacted one of he owners of one of the publishers where I have books a few years ago, because this was appearing in too many books. She had to be convinced, but then she said she'd alert her editors. You'd think the editors would know such a simple thing.
    And how you remember how to use "I" or "me?" Same here...that's how I learned it in 8th grade English class--I remember it clearly because I love diagrammiing sentences--haha--and learning those neat little rules.
    Thanks for your opinion!

  15. Steph--since you're on the road in LA so much, I can just imagine what you witness on a daily basis. And being a 911 operator? I'm sure you shake your head in amazement quite a lot.Thanks for coming by--I do appreciate it.

  16. Charles--yes, yes, yes--especially making possessives out of generations or years. So annoying.
    Using "ly" words was the first lesson I learned from my first editor--who was a true lady who held my hand through the editing process. I will never forget her, nor the lessons she taught me.
    Thanks for your comment.

  17. Linda--newspapers and the post office--both are riding into the sunset. We'll just have to get over it.
    It was easy for me to give up much of the reasons why I needed a post office. I buy few stamps, and I get those at the grocery store. If I mail a book to someone, that's when I become annoyed. Four workers, and twenty people in the line, and each worker moving at the speed of a sloth. They're all very nice--but slow as Christmas.

  18. Sarah--How frightening that the care could have hit those children. Some people just go crazy behind a wheel, thinking only of themselves and disregarding others on the road. We live in a university town, and while the school is 35,000, the town's not very big. Very crowded when school is in session, and every one of those 35,000 kids have a car or a huge pickup.
    It's common to see a drivers on cell phones--both male and females. At least the males don't put on make-up--we were driving out to the interstate, and a car came up on our right. A college girl had her left hand on the steering wheel while holding a container of some kind of make-up. With the other hand, she used a small brush to dab make-up around her eyes, and to do that she had to look in the mirror! Good grief--she was weaving all over the place.
    Be careful out there!For they are in their own little bubble.

  19. Keena--good idea.We'll all buy those!

  20. Diane--well, our adult children can't believe a lot of stuff we still do. And our grandsons, now, questions why we do this or that. Funnny. Face it...we're set in our ways. When I have to give up the newspaper, I'll adjust to something else. I just won't like it. Thanks for you comment.

  21. Morgan--you're so right. Pedestrians are at risk. But we've been in a few place where drivers always stopped when someone was crossing the street. Our town? No one pays any attention to pedestrians. But everyone knows to watch for cars, so it's generally safe.
    I appreciate your visit!

  22. Anna Kathryn--it truly is the "me" mindset. Too many of use don't want to be generous to others. Our world often seems so out of control.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  23. Fab rants. Celia. I share the 'I' versus 'me' one. As you say, people seem to think that 'I' is a more elegant way of saying 'me', whereas,of course 'I' is the subject pronoun and 'me' the object pronoun. If in the singular it would be 'me', as in "John gave it to me", so it would be in the plural "John gave them to Anne and me." Making it plural doesn't make it the subject of the sentence. aAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!

  24. Jenny--you do know your grammar rules. Much of the basic rules we learned in 8th grade, and I remember that class so well because of two things: my teacher was a man who wore a suit and bowtie every day. This was very unusual in a small West Texas oil town. He always seemed out of place, but was a good teacher and good discipline.
    The second reason I remember the class is that the principal came on the intercom that was a wooden speaker attached above the blackboard, and told us the Dwight D. Eisenhower had been elected President.