Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Top 5 Jewish Grammar Mistakes

Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin

Seeing the errors of our grammatical ways

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Help me complete this Top 10 list. I'll start with the first 5.

By
So, you’re learning by Rav Avraham Yehoshua’s? I can tell. The word “by,” much to my mother’s chagrin, has become the Swiss army knife of descriptive words, replacing terms like “at,” “inside,” and “nearby.” I don’t know how the word “by” became so popular, but by me, I am certainly curious.

Brings Down
Many of our favorite grammar mistakes are zecher l’Yiddish. Like the phrase “I’m in middle” instead of “I’m in the middle,” which is from the Yiddish “in mitt’n.” (Fun fact: There is a bagel store in Omaha, Nebraska, that serves an “Egg Mitt” which is also a throwback to its Yiddish customers from decades back that would order a “bagel mitt eggs.”) The term “brings down” crept into our English from the Yiddish term “g’bracht.” Honestly, it’s hard to use the word “cite” when discussing the Rambam. You can cite Maimonides, but it feels more uplifting to bring down a Rambam.

Capitals
Nothing gets a Jew more excited when writing than random capitalizations. He was a Gadol B’Torah? Sure, sounds right. Why not capitalize Lulav? Nothing is more random and whimsical than our rules for capitalization. And why not? When it comes to the Roshei Teivos — YOLO!

Besides for
This is super nitpicky and would only be noticed by a disgruntled copy editor, but the word “for” should not be tagged on the word “besides.” “Who else is coming, besides for the Ringles?” That “for” following “besides” is getting clingy and should find a new friend to hang out with. I know it doesn’t sound like a major issue, but that’s beside the point.

Hold of
So, you hold of him? I don’t know how this became so popular, and while it is not correct English, I definitely love it. Sometimes it feels like we’re all competing in the Holding Of Olympics. Gold medal prize goes to the person who everyone holds of — but personally holds of no one. 


Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 706. Special thanks to my favorite un-gruntled copy editor Refoel Pride, and Sarah “Just the Best” Boczko.

Related Stories

A Simple Offering

Faigy Peritzman

Our obligations are measured according to our abilities

Wholly Holy

Rebbetzin Aviva Feiner

Realize who you are and how you can impact this world

Meeting for Minchah

Eytan Kobre

“A Ten-Minute Appointment for a Five-Minute Encounter”

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
What Are We Supposed to Do?
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A tried-and-true remedy — and it shook the heavens
Badgered into Submission
Yonoson Rosenblum Avatars of political correctness in search of dissenters
Drinking Doubt Away
Eytan Kobre Meaning is indispensable for generating happiness
My Tale of Two Mentors
Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen I wish them both continued nachas and success until 120
Checks and Balances III
Mishpacha Readers The conversation continues...
Memorable Melodies of Modzhitz
Rabbi Mordechai Besser The struggling survivors became kings in shul on Shabbos
A Whole Song and Dance
Rabbi Ron Yitzchak Eisenman One of those small acts that are giant leaps of chesed
Diamonds
Jacob L. Freedman MD "Each Jewish woman is a bas Melech, Dr. Freedman!"
Streamlined Service
Riki Goldstein "JewishMusic Stream is still about classic kosher music”
Perfect Harmony
Riki Goldstein "The arrangements literally changed the entire song"
Hang On to the Glow
Riki Goldstein Back to the warm camp Shabbos memories
Marking Miracles
Faigy Peritzman The miracles are there, but our eyes are blind to them
Going Against the Current
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Wise to deny our kids something all their friends have?
Clothed in Splendor
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz When dressing up is spiritual, not superficial
The Spokesman: Part IV
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Every sentence tells a story; make yours well told