Grammar pet peeves are just few of the many things that can really fuel my muse. Hence, I occasionally make a blog post about them.
The first time I blogged about grammar pet peeves was when I am still in the academe. That blog post is titled “Masteral and Other Filipino Concoctions“, which talked away some of the most commonly used grammar bugbears that I find most grinding to the ears and eyes. Leaving the four corners of the university for the time being to work as a secretary in one of the reputable companies—whose lifeblood is in the form of emails—in the Middle East, gave me the chance to discover another interesting batch of grammar pet peeves. Needless to say my job entails receiving an array of bearable and unbearable grammar pet peeves, which I want to call lethal grammar sins this time.
For more than four months of working “here”, I was able to sieve the seven most commonly committed
among the plethora of lethal grammar sins in our office from a gazillion of emails in my box. Complete with explanations and screenshots, here they are in no particular order:
•the usage of with regards to
For years, I was unaware that the subject idiom is beyond question under the balls of nonstandard usage until I attended a three-day workshop about Assertive Communication three years ago. In one of the topics, the idiom was discussed. According to the lecturer, Standard American English considers with regards to as another bastard of English’s solecism. The standard usage is with regard to, without the s at the end of the word regard. For example, “With regard to your email below, are they based in the Head Office?”
Anyway, if you are one of those who cannot bear the thought of losing the precious –s sound in the word regard, do not fret because reliable dictionaries have as regards to, which bears the same meaning, for you to use.
•the usage of request preceded by for when used as a verb
Yes, it is grammatically correct to use the phrase request for if the word request functions as a noun as in this example: “I have submitted a request for three female secretaries to my line manager today”. The exception is, when request is used as a verb. The rule dictates that request should never be followed by the preposition for when it is used that way because of its meaning at that form: to express a desire for or to ask for. So to correct the sentence in the picture, for should be omitted as in, “Sonyboy Fugaban of Sales Division requested ABC envelopes”.
To get more familiar with the proper usages of request as a verb and a noun, please refer to the following examples:
request as a verb
- May we request your comments on the above subject?
- He requested permission to speak.
- My line manager did not request any of these stuff.
request as a noun
- There have been many requests for Fugaban’s Collection of Commonly Misused/Redundant Idioms, Verb Phrases, and Words.
- Our request for the transfer of one of our employees has already been taken care of.
- Our division’s most important policy regarding requests for stationery is that requesters must fill out the Stationery Log Sheet.
•the usage of in behalf of to imply as representative of someone
Leading dictionaries and Grammar Nazis concur that on behalf of is the correct idiom to use if what we mean to say falls under any of the following: as a representative of, as an agent of, or on the part of. For example, “On behalf of Mr. S, I would like to inform you that the visas are to be sent today”.
On the other hand, in behalf of means for the benefit or favor of someone as in, “We raised money in behalf of the earthquake victims”.
•the usage of return back
It has been said and written countless times but the fact remains: return back is redundant. The word return is enough when we mean sending something or someone back; going back to a former place, position or state; etc. For example, “Please proceed with the timing before 1:00 p.m. and the same for the return trip as in the email below”.
Grammar sticklers are, for sure, with me on the explanation.
•the usage of stationeries as the plural form of stationery
First of all, stationeries is a nonexistent word. Secondly, stationery is a collective noun. Some collective nouns such as stationery and money do not require the –ies rule in spelling to form their respective plural concepts. And lastly, reliable dictionaries attest that stationery refers to office supplies such as packets of bond paper, pens, ink, envelopes, and the like.
•the usage of attached as a noun
It should be noted that the sentence in the photo is as common as these sentences in our office:
- Please see attached for your reference.
- As requested, please see attached.
The rule says the past participle of a regular verb (i.e., ending in ed), can only function as either the past tense or as the adjective of a particular regular verb. Be that as it may, attached–in this case–can not and can NEVER function as a noun; it can ONLY describe a noun (e.g., bruised face, mangled pair of sunglasses, and attached file). Therefore, the correct word for the sentence in the photo is attachment as in, “Could you please check the attachment and forward the TRA with approval to Mr. Unknown”.
Grammarians, particularly at dailywritingtips.com, say that anything attached to an email is called attachment (pl. attachments).
•the usage of below as an attributive word
As can be gleaned from photo, the usage of below attributively is like a staple food for the eyes. In any case, below cannot be used as an attributive word or adjective. In other words, it cannot be used before a noun to qualify it. The sentences in the photo all fell into the electric chair.
On a side note, below can function as an adverb as in, “Mr. S is asking for the approval of the request below”. Also, as a preposition (e.g., below the knee).
At this point, I am planning to circulate a memo containing these lethal grammar sins with explanations and screenshots in the office. That is, of course, a joke.
I pride myself on my knowledge of the English language considering that it is not my native tongue but I will not go beyond blogging about lethal grammar sins. Like I said before, I am well aware that I still need to dig the English language deeper.
- Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
- Why Grammar Counts At Work (govigseniorcare.wordpress.com)
- Focus On: Grammar Blogs (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- Where to Find Help for Your Grammar Sins (cowpasturechronicles.wordpress.com)
- A grammar rant: “me and him” is ALWAYS wrong! (marciebrockbookmarketingmaven.wordpress.com)
- Minimize, Don’t Nominalize: Effective Writing Isn’t Affected, Part 3 (changeitupediting.com)
- The Seven Deadly Grammar / Punctuation Sins (emilyjanuary.wordpress.com)
- Take a grammar quiz to see if you should be concerned about ‘grammar gaffes’ (costofcollege.wordpress.com)
- Common Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (asserttrue.blogspot.com)
- Best Practices for Teaching English to Young Learners by Joan Shin (lahwati.wordpress.com)
- What is the difference between prescriptive grammar and descriptive grammar? Why might a linguist take a descriptive approach to grammar? What is teaching grammar? (clearhorizonsintl.wordpress.com)