I understand there are times I begin channeling my high school English teacher, but the world’s inability to understand the grammatical distinction between “good” and “well” is a hardship to me.
Here’s how it usually goes:
Me: “How are you?”
Other: “I’m good.”
Me: [external voice] “Super.”
Me: [internal voice] “I’m thrilled you think you’re a good person, but that’s not what I was asking. I was asking after the state of your health.”
While I understand this type of grammatical nitpicking can seem like just that—nitpicking—this is the type of small mistake that can lodge in the mind of your superior, making him or her reluctant to have you step in as their number two should the necessity arise. Conversely, the use of the grammatically correct, “I’m well,” might be just enough to reassure someone that you are, in fact, their go-to person in moments when they themselves cannot.
What are some other grammatical missteps that might be worth investigating? Well, there’s always the who/whom conundrum: who being used when there is no direct object in the sentence, and whom when there is. Can versus may—while incorporated into the children’s game, “Mother may I?” appears to have dropped by the wayside for many adults. Can is used when there is, in fact, a genuine question as to whether or not something can be accomplished, may when the question is merely rhetorical. Lie versus lay represents an ongoing challenge for many; lay requires a direct object, lie does not. Further versus farther takes you further into the dilemma: further being used when you talk about metaphysical distance, farther when it’s physical. I draw the line, however, at elucidating piqued versus peaked (which seems to run rampant in personal ads everywhere) as it does not pique my interest.