NBCIts a pedants game, grammar. Relegated to the role of the Nazi, you suffer internal anguish on a level seemingly incomprehensible to others when faced with non-Standard English. To make things worse, you cant imagine how anyone could be so blasé about it all. Once youre in the game, theres almost no getting out, and echoing something a wise man once said in an oft-quoted movie, If you could, would you really want to? Stephen Fry is one of the few to make it out alive (more on that later), and hes got the right idea about it. There are plenty of pedants out there mercilessly, even abusively, correcting the grammar of others, and its those people giving the rest a bad reputation. For the latter, its a simple love of language that is at the heart of that pedantry. Not that that makes it any easier to overlook an error when you see one.
21. Using Public Toilets
Dianne GreyAnd not just because theyre hideously unhygienic. Walk into any public toilet and seven times out of ten* youre going to find yourself faced with a Mens sign. The Ladies sign you can just about justify to yourself, because ladies is actually a word. Mens, on the other hand, is something else entirely. Namely: Not a word. The word they are of course looking for is Mens, apostrophe included. As if using a public toilet wasnt cause for anxiety enough in itself. Things to look out for:
This lack of apostrophes is most frequently found in shopping centres, with examples including 'Mens Suits', 'Childrens Toys', and 'Womens Dresses'. *N.B. It should be noted that this statistic is clearly pulled out of thin air, but is still probably fairly close to its mark.
20. Hoping You Wont Come Across As Pretentious
They say the average man thinks about sex every seven seconds. They must be lying, but thats a different matter altogether. Regardless, the subject of sex is inevitably one that comes up in the course of regular conversation, and its often one in which you find yourself facing a difficult situation. When a particular persons sexual orientation becomes something of a debate without veering towards gossip, before you unleash your judgement and when your friend tries to tell you which way they think this person is sexually orientated, you try to engage them in an interesting tangent regarding orientated vs. oriented. The latter is viewed by many as Standard English, and the former as non-Standard, and you seek your friends position on the debate.
19. But Failing Hopelessly
Your friend, of course, had no idea that such a debate even existed, and you cant help but feel their opinion of you has somehow changed substantially. Things to look out for:
The status of 'disassociate' as a word is also up for debate; the more frequent term, particularly in psychology, is dissociate.