My grammatical quirks

I’m very by-the-book. Not all people realise quite how so. Here’s a list of grammatical items that may look odd but are, indeed, correct (according to most sources) and their usage.

-ise ending: The -ise ending is Canadian/English. The -ize ending is American. Hence, I use -ise. I have been corrected in papers for this at the U of Toronto.
example: Not many people realise that the proper English ending does not use a z.

who/whom: A toughie. Most people assume using “whom” makes a sentence more formal. “Whom” is used when “him” or “her” would be. “Who” is used when “he” or “she” would be.
example: To whom is that book dedicated? (That book is dedicated to him.)
example: Who will go to the store? (She will go to the store.)

Prepositions: A dear friend of mine gives tours of the barns at a Pioneer Village. She too will not end a sentence with a preposition. She tells me it’s awkward to say “these are the rooms wherein the cows are milked,” as opposed to “these are the rooms the cows are milked in,” but the former is correct (even though it sounds stuffier). I’m always looking for non-pedantic sounding ways to avoid ending sentences with prepositions.

u: According to Jasper Fforde, Welsh humour novelist, there was a shortage of Us in the Text Sea and so The Powers That Be revoked the U privilege from certain geographical areas, hoping to pass it off as idiomatic spelling.
example: Do me a favour and colour the neighbour’s harbour, please. (I didn’t say the example had to make sense.)

Apostrophes: Don’t even get me started. This drives me crazy. It’s an epidemic. Possessives and contractions get one. Plurals and verb conjugations do not.
example: Vanessa’s new tricycle can’t go without a third wheel. Her parents will go get a new one that works.
EDIT: I remembered a case where possessives do not get an apostrophe: in the case of pronouns.
example: That pen isn’t mine, it’s yours.
example 2: That dog has run loose; where’s its master?

I’m not trying to sound pedantic. It’s just that these are the grammar rules to which I adhere, and I often get called out on them even though they’re correct. I won’t correct someone else’s grammar usage (unless they’re extreme offenders), I’m just trying to clarify a bit why my writing style seems overly punctuated or like it has too many letters.

Leave a comment


  1. Yay! Someone that understands the importance of using ‘u’ and ‘ise’ in writing ENGLISH words!!!!

    From two New Zealand English teachers in South Korea teaching ‘american’ we salute you!

    • Omg. First, thanks for replying on my blog, second, I’m so excited to find more people who get excited about this type of thing, and third, your students are going to have the best accents ever.


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