I in no way mean to present myself as a flawless, highly trained writing-bot. Anyone who has ever read any of my unedited work or who may have a keystroke monitor on my computer will know that to be true. That being said, I have to tell you what drives me completely and totally bonkers.
I hate when people write or speak the phrase” couple words” without the preposition “of”. Oh, I had a couple grapes so a made a fruit salad.
Is that a couple bananas in the cabinet?
I took a couple weeks off to attend a grammar workshop.
What drives me even in crazier is when someone says it. I am listening to a webinar right now, and the host just said, “I’m going to come back in a couple minutes after I get a drink.” Unless you bring me one, too, I do not excuse you for annoying me.
I see this phrase all of the time in published, written work, so I assume that editors do not find this as big of a deal as I do.
Maybe I am just nit-picky.
I’m usually quite patient. Just yesterday I picked up a sub job teaching second grade math and science. Math and science are not my best subjects, but I have to say that my math prowess moved a child to walk up and hug me, mid-demonstration. (I did not realize that I could garner such affection by discussing ones and tens and their placement.)
I was very patient with these children even though they were all a little nuts because they had a sub the day before and had earned an extra recess. Before I arrived to take over, a student had projectile vomited in the classroom, and the custodian was unavailable so 22 children watched their teacher clean up both the child and the chair. The teacher was then called summoned to go and fetch HER child because he was sick. Interruptions make children wonky. Wonky children are all very aware that they have been promised an extra recess.
At extra recess, everything went just fine, the kids frolicked in the unseasonably warm air. Everyone played nicely with each other. (I had been warned that soccer has become such a contentious sport that it was on the verge of being forbidden. I can’t imagine what kind of anger and trauma could emerge on the soccer field between boys at a Catholic Elementary School. I am foolishly optimistic. )
When it was time to go to the next thing (PE) I thought I would just be able to line everyone up and steer everyone into the Gym. Somewhere in the five seconds between lining up and walking, there was a neck punching incident. (I didn’t do it, although I realize why people would assume so.) Said punching was a result of a soccer dispute. I took both boys to the nurse and the principal.
At no time did I lose the run of myself and say. “I have a couple boys who are misbehaving.”
One has to exhibit control in all one undertakes.