My pet hate? Like many others here, it's the "Different to"
, NO- different from
. OK, so it maybe that 'different to' is
now seen as 'acceptable', but that's merely because it's just too much trouble for people to bother to get it right and the fact that we can't be bothered to teach our English children, in English schools, correct English any more.
Next on my list comes '5 items or less'
, people, fewer
- it isn't difficult, you use 'less' when referring to something that can’t be counted or doesn’t have a plural and fewer
when referring to people or things in the plural.
How hard is that?
Now, I know I'm a fully paid-up member of Pedants Anonymous, but as any pedant will tell you, the correct plural of referendum is referenda, and it doesn't matter how many times you tell me that 'referendums' is now acceptable, it doesn't make it right - accepted it may be, but it's still wrong. Referendum - referenda: memorandum - memoranda; addendum - addenda.
And finally, (well, not finally, but for now anyway) H
-aitch. From where, in the name of English, did that one come from?
I recently placed an order over the telephone (for a dining suite totalling over £2,000). I told the woman the items I wanted - 1 table, 5 chairs, 1 'carver' - and she replied "Right, that's one table item No. 3177A, and the chairs are item Nos. 31778 and 31788"
I jotted it down and thought no more of it until I took one of my daughters into the shop to show her what we'd ordered - just as well I took my jotting with me; a man approached and I explained we were just looking at the dining suite on order, he frowned a bit at my note and asked if I was sure the item numbers were correct. 'Well, that's what your lady on the 'phone said'.
He took my sheet of paper, disappeared for a bit and came back with the news that what she had in fact
said was 3177H
. Apparently, item No. 31778 was a dressing table mirror, whilst Item No. 31788, turned out to be .... bright blue upholstery fabric! Of course, if she'd just said 'aitch', rather trying to be 'posh' (as she no doubt saw it), then the confusion between 8 and H would never have arisen.