I Can’t Get No Satisfaction


You don’t have to be a fussy English teacher to find grammatical errors annoying. Or maybe you do. Then there are a number of widely used expressions that -- while not incorrect -- are just plain irritating. Here’s my list:

No Problem

Why does every waitress in America use this phrase? Of course there’s not a “problem” if we need a fork or the dessert menu. We’re not asking for a favor.

Like, Like, Like -- I Don’t Like

Many young people (including my daughter) use the word like as a pause filler. Repeated constantly, the word has a staccato effect that can be dizzying.

He Goes, She Goes

Going nowhere. In telling a story, what’s the matter with “he said” or “she said”?


Not a word. Regardless, people use it all the time.

A Declarative Sentence Shouldn’t End with a Question (?)

This unusual locution that has come into fashion? The voice of the speaker goes up at the end? It’s as if the speaker is asking a question? Even though she is not?

I Feel Badly

People say this because it actually sounds more correct than saying “I feel bad.” But in this case “badly” is an adverb describing the word “feel.” You would only “feel badly” if your hands were wrapped in bandages or you were wearing extremely thick mittens and were unable to button your coat.

Between you and I

Another phrase that sounds correct, but isn’t. Should be between you and me.” Jessica Simpson’s popular song -- Between you and I and the stars that light up the sky -- is wrong. She could sing: Between you and me and the stars that light up the sea…

And Speaking of Popular Music . . .

Ain’t it a shame but this is often one of the worst offenders. All those double negatives in country music – it just don’t make no sense. Ok, Bob Dylan is a real poet, so we can excuse “Lay Lady Lay.” But Justin Timberlake’s lyric (when you cheated, girl, my heart bleeded) makes me cringe.