Tell me where it hurts.
The scattered readers of these postings have begun to respond to the invitation to air their peeves.
Mike Livingston writes: I'm still not happy with "e-mail" as a countable noun. As one of my favorite house stylesheets put it, ‘You cannot send an e-mail any more than you can send a mail.’ You can send e-mail. You can send an e-mail message. You can e-mail a message. But you cannot send an e-mail.
Even Bill Walsh has softened on that point. Am I the last one standing?
Run up the white flag. Merriam-Webster and a number of online references list both senses of the word, and it appears to have been broadly accepted. Even e-mail as a verb (Ick.) has become commonplace.
The style sheet you mention reasons by analogy to mail, but analogies in English usage are slippery. There are other words that can have a collective and a singular sense. For example, talk can mean conversation, but one can give a talk.
A digression here. In checking the OED, which does not yet have an entry for e-mail as a message, I came across an 1877 citation for email, "a process which consists in flooding colored but transparent glasses over designs stamped in the body of earthenware or porcelain."
Cassidy writes: Here are some peeves past and present from various folks on my copy desk:
impact (should be effect or affect)
over (should be more than)
accident (should be wreck, crash, collision)
wreck (should be crash, collision)
over (should be during, as in "during the weekend")
My personal peeve is "over" to mean "more than." It's probably a losing battle, but I keep fighting.
Impact is still identified so strongly with pretentious bureaucratic writing that it should be shunned.
The distinction between wreck and accident or collision eludes me. It doesn’t appear in any of the usage manuals I regularly consult and appears to be someone’s idiosyncratic preference. I’d be interested in hearing the reasoning for it. As for collision, R.W. Burchfield says that there is no foundation for the belief, expressed in the AP Stylebook and some other authorities, that it can only be applied when two objects in motion strike each other. "A car can collide with a tree, a bollard, or any other fixed object, as well as with another moving vehicle," he says in The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. He does, however, prefer hit.
Over for more than is a common usage, and the rule against it is a shibboleth.
Dan writes: Ah. a place to vent. My pet peeves:
Both (If the two people or items are listed, you don't need it)
Redundant phrases (ATM machine, hearken back, join with...)
Reply: What most vexes me is the execrable safe haven.
Watch out for hearken back, which is not a pleonasm but an error. Hearken means to attend to or heed. Hark back is the expression that means to be reminiscent of.
Alison Parker writes: I kept fighting to allow over for "more than." I also stood for "hark back."
You are fighting the good fight.