Language Pet Peeve

Language Pet Peeve

I guess I should be happy that we have all integrated well into American society. I am.

But there is one phrase that I hear all the time, and may have been guilty of using a time or two myself.



Scenario One:

Me: Do you want a coffee?

Him: No, I’m good.


Scenario Two:

Me: I am doing laundry, do you have anything to throw in?

Him: No, I’m good.


Scenario Three:

Me: Do you want more chicken / beef / soup / whatever?

Him: No, I’m good.


Sensing a theme here? Why do we say “I’m good” when really we mean to say “No thank you”?

What if you’re not good? What if you are the devil incarnate? Do you still say “I’m good?”

Furthermore – “you did good” seems to be used by everyone. When did “you did well” become so difficult to say?

Where did these phrases even originate?

What are your pet peeves when it comes to speech?



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  1. Stephanie Reifkind Kahn says:

    Orientate! I hate that word! I work in healthcare, and it seems someone is always talking about “orientating someone”…rather than “orienting someone.” That’s my main pet peeve…although, I also dislike when someone refers to a “Reformed” Jew…the term is “Reform Jew.”

    Thanks Hadassah…I love your blog.

  2. Ailuy says:

    where do I even begin about language pet peeves; and as bad as I feel about some, don’t even start around my daughter. She is THE English language police commissioner of this planet.

    Some of ours are:
    … in back of me – NO it is behind me
    … should of – NO it is should have or even should’ve
    … as you have mentioned, good instead of well
    … improper plurals, like fruits instead of fruit
    … using adverbs instead of adjectives, as in badly/bad
    … confusing homophones, like to/two/too
    … etc

    Thank you for your great blog

  3. sheldan says:

    Let’s start with “I’m good.” I think this is an alternative to “I’m OK” or “I’m all right” (whether or not it is followed by “thank you”). “Thanks, I’m good” conveys the same thing. So I would say that with or without “thank you,” it’s probably “harmless.”

    If the devil incarnate says, “I’m good,” it’s probably referring to the speaker’s actions, not the speaker himself/herself.

    “You did good” sounds like “ya did good, kid” :-) which probably came out of the movies :-). I would have to vote this one “harmless” as well, as “you did well” said too much sounds like a grammarian making a point. (Kind of like someone objecting to a well-known well-wishing statement and the other person responding, “Well, DON’T have a nice day!” :-) ). Now, in anticipation of Ailuy’s comment, “you did bad” and “you did badly” might be equally valid.

    I definitely agree that the examples that sound like business words make it sound as if the speaker is trying too hard to be savvy :-).

    Ailuy: Must disagree with “in back of me” vs. “behind me.” Also, “fruits” and “fruit” may be equally valid. I think your other points may be valid. Regarding homophones (I was taught that they were called homonyms), they drive me up the wall when I see them in posts. I seem to remember a poem where most words were misspelled, but the poem would have passed a spell check. I think the posters are lulled into a false sense of security when they post words that are spelled correctly but are not correct in the context. For example, “wile” (as opposed to “while”) away time; “their” when “there” should be used, and “sound byte” (unless this refers to computers, I think you should say “sound bite”! :-) )

    My personal one is the use of the errant apostrophe. Specifically, the use of “it’s” when the speaker means “its.” People, if substituting “it is” for “it’s” does not make sense of the sentence, zap the apostrophe–it’s “its”! (Actually, I think that last phrase was rather clever :-).)

  4. Babelfish says:

    Oh, I thought that your problem was the use of an adjective instead of an adverb, which drives me really crazy, although I’m not a native english speaker…

  5. Babelfish says:

    “confusing homophones”

    like their and there…. I see it a lot on blogs, but be reassured: the worst orthography/grammer is the one of the average frenchman posting online… they make so many mistakes…. they cannot tell the infinitve from past participle (er from é), a from à,

    Internet brings the definitive proof that the french school system does not work… or that they urgently need a language/grammar/spelling reform

  6. Abe Kohen says:

    Pet peeve in English: “off of.” Why the extra “of?”

    Pet peeves in Hebrew: 1. genderizing everything. 2. kamatz katan vs kamatz (gadol) in words like tzahorayim.

    And what’s wrong with “fruits of labor?” Land of fruits and nuts?

    • sheldan says:

      Regarding Hebrew: I learned Hebrew in Talmud Torah, where I learned the Ashkenazic pronunciation–kamatz (a vowel) pronounced “oh/aw” and tav without nikud (dot) pronounced “s,” as opposed to the Sephardic/Modern Hebrew pronunciation–kamatz pronouncned “ah,” like the patach, and tav without nikud pronounced “t.” To understand this, the Hebrew for “State of Israel” is pronounced Medinas Yisroel in Ashkenazic and Medinat Yisrael in Sephardic/Modern Hebrew. (I remembered a book that had a graphic demonstrating this.)

      My Hebrew pronunciation is a compromise. I pray in Ashkenazic Hebrew (other than things like the Prayer for the State of Israel and Hatikva), but I try to pronounce Hebrew words using the Sephardic/Modern Hebrew pronunciation.

      I am currently reading a book called “Becoming Frum” which was written by Sarah Bunim Benor, a researcher who describes the various ways Jews (especially newly Orthodox Jews) pronounce the Hebrew words they use. Maybe this might be a good book for a review.

  7. I have too many pet peeves to list them for you. One that is in my top 10 though, is egregious spelling, grammar or syntactical errors on advertisements.

    I saw “Empbroidery” the other day. I yelped out loud and, to save some face after being on the receiving end of some pointed looks, pointed it out to several bystanders. They all found it funny, but I didn’t.

    Grammar and syntax I understand require a significant amount of knowledge to be flawless in- undoubtedly I make mistakes all the time- but spelling there is no excuse to mess up.

  8. Annette says:

    A whole “nother”!

    Nother is not a word!

  9. Ronnie Fein says:

    I HATE HATE HATE when people put an apostrophe before an S when there is an S at the end of a word. As if every word is a possessive.

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