One of my lecturers at University was actually a popular writer in the Romance genre, under another name. He was a grammar nazi of the eleventh order but such a good orator that I could have listened to him talk about paint drying without drifting off…too much.
His pet peeve, which I have been unable to let go of myself is:
the misuse of the reflexive pronouns such as “myself” and “yourself”
How often have you said or heard:
“I will send this to yourself.”
…WTF. It’s like the speaker is trying to over formalise their language just ostracise the potentially uneducated.
Just say “I will send this to you.”
What was one of the major points behind Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language,” in 1946 :
“It [the English language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” – George Orwell
My lecturer strode halfway up the stairs in the theater between where we sat in our uncomfortable plastic chairs, turned around and said,
“If you remember one thing from this course it has to be that self pronouns like yourself, myself, herself, himself…urgh,” he grimaced, “should not be used when they…do…not…refer…to the subject of the sentence.
Thanks Glen, mate…and no I haven’t forgotten! But I have held my tongue sometimes when I probably should not have!