The more language interests us, the more likely we are to grumble about its misuse. Only a shrink could analyze why verbal lapses so minor in life’s big picture annoy some of us out of all proportion, but that won’t stop me from sharing some of my peeves. One is the overuse of myself when little ol’ me will do; another is the tidal wave of dangling participles engulfing the airwaves (“The horror … the horror …” to quote Colonel Kurtz, better known as Marlon Brando, in the film Apocalypse Now.). Milder rants include word mix-ups (pitfall and pratfall are as different as night from day), misused idioms (a pretty penny isn’t pretty at all), and the use of gentleman to describe some of the most ungentlemanly men on the planet.

Speech and writing habits and usages I perceive as abuses crop up like crazy these days – so check back into Run It By Fred to see which fresh offenses this part-time grumpy old man will take on.