Irksome Things

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Another mini-irk is to hear someone say something such as “Dave and myself went shopping.” My question might be that if Dave hadn’t come along, how would you describe what you did? Would you say, “Myself went shopping?” Grammar lesson: Myself is a reflexive pronoun. As such, it must be preceded by a pronoun to which it refers, namely its antecedent, within the same sentence. For example: “I, myself, wrote this column.”

Another grammatical irritant is a statement such as “John is taller than me.” Hearing such a grammatical error, Dr. Martin Rosenberg, my high school English teacher, would pitch a fit, sarcastically asking, “Do you mean John is taller than me am?” He’d explain that am is the elliptical, or understood, verb in the sentence, and the subject of any verb must be in the nominative case; therefore, the sentence should be, “John is taller than I.”

An irritant along mathematical lines is when the telephone information operator tells me that the number for the party I wish to reach is 285-77o-8855. On occasion, I’ve asked the operator whether I’d reach my party if I dialed 77o. She’d reply that I’d have to dial 770. Then I’d ask her why she told me to dial 77o, telling her there is a difference between o and zero. I would explain that the letter o is defined as a vowel and the 15th letter of our alphabet. By contrast, zero is defined as a number that when added or subtracted from another number does not change the value of that number. Needless to say, our conversation would go downhill and reach a strained and unpleasant end.

One shouldn’t expect to go through a day, much less life, without annoyances of one kind or another, but I thought I’d share a few of mine with the people who read my column.


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  • Amused

    The trouble with your article is , WHO defines what "great love and respect for the Constitution " really is . Of course another presumption . And so ,it is elitist to have an education ? Why ? Because ANOTHER presumption [goes with your ideology ] is , intellectuals [as you call them ] are A) elitist , B) leftist , and ergo C) responsible [ single-handedly ] for all that is wrong in the world . A truly biased position which can only lead to a biased conclusion . Yea , so lets elect another Hollywood Actor for Pres. , make sure he /she has no college degree – solution ? Palin , of course , certainly dopesn't fit the predetermined definition of intellectual [to a fault ] , elitist /leftist . Oh what a mentality !

    • Brian

      Whatever we elect, let us make sure it isn't another damned lawyer!

    • Brian

      Only leftists think all leftists are intellectuals, leftists think everyone else is like "Palin or Bush" and lives in "fly-over country", probably think they chew straw as well (thanks to shows like SNL) even if they have degress. It is this mix of self-righteousness, arrogance and bias that has co-opted the term "intellectual" and elevated all supposedly "classless" leftists above everyone else in the same way the high priests of religions past would do. If they end up with a degree then the circular reason and logical fallacy is reinforced.

      Leftists aren't intellectuals in the truest sense of the word, however, as "intellectual" means someone who is able to critically anaylise, think and reason their own opinion and position, not just knock down "the opposition" argument in the hopes theirs will win by default. And it certainly doesn't mean acting like a thug by using intimidation and violence against people with whom they disagree.

  • Amused

    BTW , probably one of the worst , was the STUPID , INARTICULATE , and BRUTAL , Stalin .
    Who told you he was intelligent ? He simply murdered ANYONE who opposed him , criticized him , even anyone he thought would oppose him …result 20 million of his own country-men were murdered . And Hitler ? Are you serious ? You obviously dont know the difference between intelligence and sheer unmitigated brutality .
    There's TWO examples . TWO of the world's recent GREAT CALAMITIES . No wonder you're " irked " .

  • john in cheshire

    When I see someone described as an intellectual, my immediate thought is that the person is a communist/socialist. My experience here in the UK is that all socalled intellectuals originate in mainland Europe; we don't have a history of calling our thinkers intellectuals. And all the European intellectuals were to a man leftwing idealists. So, I have an innate distrust of anyone who considers himself or is considered by others, to be an intellectual.

  • palidin48

    The wizards of smart always think they can reinvent the wheel. These people's assumption that they have greater mental firepower than previous generations is pure arrogance.

    Obama, the cool urban hipster, with his academic pedigree has given us an old discredited idea, only repackaged. And that is, that man can save himself. He is so smart, he does not require God's help.

  • guest

    Really? This gets published? Must be a slow day. Or are the editors slyly trying to show by example what an unintelligent, inarticulate post looks like? If so well done, but I want my 60 seconds back!