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Top 12 Grammar Pet Peeves that Drive People Insane

Top 12 Grammar Pet Peeves that Drive People Insane

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The English language can be an abundant source of grammar pet peeves that some users thought they were correct all along.

These grammar bits and pieces can be mind-boggling yet enslaving at times. So, we’ve listed the world’s most favorite grammar irritants just for you.

Thumbs up, thumbs up! That’s what we take this time for.

Ready or not, we’re doing it now.


What are the most common grammar pet peeves in English?

  1. “I have got” vs “I have gotten”
  2. “Regimen” vs “Regiment”
  3. “This is she” vs “This is her”
  4. “Me either” vs “Me neither”
  5. “Nonetheless” vs “Nevertheless”
  6. “Then” vs “Than”
  7. “Should have” vs “Should of”
  8. “Pacifically” vs “Specifically”
  9. “Couldn’t care less” vs “Could care less”
  10. “Bring” vs “Take”
  11. “Supposably” vs “Supposedly”
  12. “For my brother and I” vs “For my brother and me”


Twelve pet peeves in grammar that we should know by now

“Pet peeve” is a word that we can truly call an Americanism – an expression that came into use at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The term itself came into use in the early 1900s, although “peevish” dates way, way back. “Peeve” came from the Latin word “pervertere,” meaning “perverse or ornery.”

A “pet peeve” is something that a person finds annoying or highly objectionable, in which “pet” implies being one’s favorite.

Bearing these nuances in mind, we could easily easily draw out a conclusion that “pet peeve” means “one’s favorite source of irritation.”

Although people differ in their reactions, the majority react with adverse feelings when confronted by their pet peeve, let alone a “grammar pet peeve.”

So, here are twelve of the most common personal bugbears in grammar – as people may call it in other words.


1.  “I have got” vs “I have gotten”

The verb “got” is used when refering to a state of owning or possessing something, while “gotten” is used when referring to a process of “getting” something. 

In North America, “gotten” is predominantly used as the past participle of “got.” But, in other English speaking countries, “got” could be the past participle, too.

We could also say that while “gotten” most likely means “achieved” in the US and Canada, “got” highly likely means both “need” and “achieved” in the UK and Australia.

In a nutshell, if we use each expression in a sentence, Americans and Canadians would more likely say the following:


I have got to have the power. (need)
I have gotten the power. (achieved)


Whereas, in England and Australia, they would simply say say:


We have got to make both ends meet. (need)
We have got both ends met. (achieved)


2. “Regimen” vs “Regiment”

Not a few people had almost clawed off their faces when talking with others who mean “regimen” instead of “regiment.”
An instructor in a certain gym told his students “You must follow the new regiment of exercises I gave you!”
Little did he know that one of his students is an English teacher, silently laughing at his deliberate and incorrect use of extra “t.”
The gym instructor, in this case, must have meant “regimen” – a set of rules or a system of exercises.


The new workout regimen is responsible for her noticeable weight loss.


Terry must submit himself to the diet regimen if he wants to live longer.


The dictionary clearly states that “regiment” means a “fighting force of troops consisting of two battalions in the least.”

So, here’s how to correctly use the word:


See the red ants here? They are forming something like a regiment of able-bodied soldiers, truly dedicated to their queen.
The first regiment of marines have landed at the harbor near the cliffs.


3. “This is she” vs “This is her”

At the first glance you would think “this is her” is correct because “this” is the subject and “her” is the object, a object pronoun in particular.

“This is she” is commonly used when answering phones and is agreed to be more grammatically correct than “this is her.”

Since the linking verb “is” is used here to equate the subject and the object, they are one, the same, and interchangeable.

By interchangeability, “this is she” could easily be paraphrased as “she is this.” The “this is she” construction is more common in formal contexts.


A: Hello. Good morning. I would like to speak with Toni, please.
B: This is she.


If “this is she,” is more common in formal writing and speeches, “this is her” is preferred in casual speech, especially in modern English.


A: Hey, there. Is Marie home?
B: Yeah. This is her.


4. “Me either” vs “Me neither”

These days, both “me either” and “me neither” are used to agree with statements that negative connotations.

“Me either” is used to mean “I don’t like it either,” while “me neither” suggests the something like “I neither like it.”

Here’s how to use “me either”:


A: I didn’t like school.
B: Me either! (meaning “I didn’t liked school, too”)


And here’s how to use “me neither”:


A: Robert has never tried bungee jumping.
B: Me neither. (meaning “Neither have I”)


To be on the safe side, if someone makes a positive statement and you want to agree with it, the grammatical reply would be “me too.”


A: Oh, how I wish I were rich!
B: Me too. (meaning “Likewise”)


5. “Nonetheless” vs “Nevertheless”

“Nonetheless” and “nevertheless” are compound words. They are both made up of three words “combined” or “compounded” to form a new one.

“Nonetheless” is an adverb coined in 1830s but only became popular a century later. It also means “inspite of,” “in contrast to,” or “notwithstanding.”

Strict grammarians insist that “nonetheless” should be used when referring to an amount or something that is measurable.


Comfortably at ease with him, she finds it hard to talk with him about their situation nonetheless.


The amount may be small, yet it was nonetheless donated to a worthy cause.


“Nevertheless” is an adverb that has been used since the 1300s. Apparently, it also means “inspite of,” “in contrast to” or “notwithstanding.”

Grammar purists insist that “nevertheless” should be used when referring to something that has occurred, is occurring, or might occur.


He is very popular on campus; nevertheless, he lost the student government elections.


This year was not the company’s best. Nevertheless, big profits were accumulated.


6. “Then” vs “Than”

Both “then” and “than” have become linguistic workhorses that we already tend to misuse both of them these days.

When talking about things that involve time, the word to use is “then.” “Then” can also be used in phrases like “now and then,” “even then,” and “and then some.”


We were all just kids back then.


Since then, we became inseparable anywhere we went.


While “then” is used when talking about something relating to time, “than” is used when we talk about contrasts and comparisons.

Than is also used in common phrases like “other than,” “further than,” “more than,” “less than” and “rather than.”


Blood is much, much thicker than water.


Her complexion before the accident was smoother than mine.


7.  “Should have” vs “Should of”

There are so many grammar mistakes that are misheard in speech and then get written down incorrectly, and this is one of them.

“Should’ve” is the contracted or short form of “should have,” and this is clearer to see in written form.


(correct) I should have known better with a girl like her.


(correct) I should’ve chosen to be a different person.


But in spoken conversations, it is so hard to distinguish it from “should of” because they sound the same.


(incorrect) I should of confronted her with my feelings.


Nevertheless, “should of” is incorrect and not to be used. The same goes for “could of” and “would of”.


8. “Pacifically”  vs “specifically”

This is another commonly committed error in grammar, yet there are some people that disregard such errors for thinking that they are the same words.

While both are adverbs, “pacifically” means “having a soothing appearance or effect,” or in other words, smooth or peaceful.


The speaker talked rather pacifically about the evils of cigarette smoking.


Specifically, on the other hand, “specifically” means something that is clearly defined, free from any ambiguity, and therefore, accurate.


The discussion was specifically about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking.


9. “Couldn’t care less”  vs “Could care less”

“Couldn’t care less” is the phrase from the British and is the older, more established version of “could care less.”

“Could care less” is the Americanism of “couldn’t care less,” and more and more Americans are in favor of its use.

When you say “I couldn’t care less,” you mean that you care so little that you could not care any less.


Jerry says he couldn’t care less if he gets fired.


“I could care less” means that there’s still room for you to care or that you care a little still, hence a more polite choice.

The argument on both sides borders on who is logical, formal, and which among them uses it more.

Both being widely used at present yet bearing an informal connotation, the verdict is that we can simply use both expressions.

However, if you want to avoid annoying complaints, sticking to “couldn’t care less” is recommended.


 He could care less no matter what happens.


10. “Bring” vs “Take”

Back in grade school, we probably learned the difference between “bring” and “take”; we’ve just probably forgotten it along the way.

You “bring” something to a place, but you “take” it when you go away – that’s the way, and you can never be wrong.


You can take your report cards today when you go home, and bring your parents tomorrow.


Therefore, you can “bring” something “toward” a destination and “take” that thing with you when you leave.


11. “Supposably” vs “Supposedly”

We can never blame some people who make a mess of these two words which could appear as twins, having much resemblance to each other.

 For all intents and purposes, each of these words have meanings distinct and far different from each other.

“Supposably” means “conceivably,” “possible to imagine,” or “anything we can suppose or assume.”


Being at the vicinity at the exact moment the crime was committed, he could supposably be the criminal.


Meanwhile, “supposedly” means “according or based on what they say, claim or believe.”


Standing before you now is the man who supposedly saved the stranded family.


12. “For my brother and I” vs “for my brother and me”

Although this fault is common among kids, a lot of adults still fall for this mess. This happens due to the preposition “for.”

On a side note, people are also confused about whether “for” is an adverb or not. We have already covered this topic in before, so feel free to check it out.

When you want to use a subject in your sentence, the preposition “for” should be dropped, leaving you a compound subject.

That said, “my brother and I” simply equates to the subject pronoun “we.”


My brother and I went to the forest to hunt, but we failed.


When you need something in the predicate part of your sentence, the correct choice is  “for my brother and me.”

That said, “for me and my brother” equates to “for us.”


Dad caught a rabbit for my brother and me later that day.


Frequently Asked Questions on “Grammar Pet Peeves”


What do we mean by “grammar pet peeve”?

A grammar pet peeve is an annoying grammar-related mistake or confusion that we love and enjoy thinking and talking about. In other words, it is a person’s favorite grammar topic based on incorrect usage or a lack of understanding of it.


Should we always use proper grammar when speaking?

Proper grammar is advised in formal writing and speaking contexts, but grammar modifications are also allowed in informal or colloquial cases. The way we use language in real life is heavily dependent on style, context, and purpose, which simply means that grammar is not necessarily set in stone.


What is the importance of proper grammar?

Having the skill to use proper grammar mainly suggests communicative competence, which gets better through time and exposure – no matter what language is involved. Language competence helps us gain more world-based and field-specific knowledge, hence a life-saving tool.



English is a flexible language that continues to evolve as the years go by, making it a language that “breathes,” just like us.

Changes in its appearance, usage, and rules can’t be avoided, but it pays to stick to the known rules and abide by them to stay safe.

Thus, having our very own grammar-related pet peeves is a natural circumstance that makes every language even richer and worth taking care of.