29 June 2009

Pet Peeves

This morning I went through my e-mails, and puzzled for at least a full minute over the Free-cycle posting "ISO: wheel barrel." "A wheel barrel?" I thought, "What on earth is THAT?" Then I realized, the person meant wheelBARROW. So, in honor of all those people whose grasp on some of the nuances of English is...tenuous, here is a list of some pet peeves of mine:

Confusing tea kettles and tea pots. The kettle is for boiling water on the stove. The pot is for brewing the tea (always with freshly boiled water). Any British person can tell you that you need one of each to make a respectable pot of tea.

People who pronounce "etc." as "eksetera". Unlike similar questions regarding chickens and eggs, the question of whether the "t" or the "c" comes first is answered beautifully by the abbreviation itself. This means that even if you aren't aware that "etc." stands for two Latin words, which together mean "and all the rest", you can still pronounce it correctly. Please. "Eksetera" is not a word, and has no meaning whatsoever.

Wheel barrel. This would be a barrel with a wheel attached, which would be handy if you simply wanted to move the barrel, but not very helpful if you were wanting to move anything else. A barrow, on the other hand, is a type of box designed for carrying things. If you attach a wheel to one end, and handles to the other, you can move things around by yourself, which makes it a very handy thing to have.

And an oddity that I have noticed since moving to the Midwest (but which I wouldn't classify as a pet peeve) is the habit of leaving the verb "to be" out of sentences. People here say "The car needs washed and the lawn needs mowed." It's interesting to note these regional tendencies. I'm sure there are some that I grew up with and am not even aware of. I'm also sure I have many other pet peeves, but that's enough griping for one post. Cheers!


  1. Hee, I apologize for saying eksetera and for having no idea that you need two devices to make tea!

  2. Here's a regional one that you should appreciate. It seems to be isolated to New Hampshire, but I might just be isolated in my experiences. People who pronounce the word "both" as if there was an "L" in the middle of it.


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