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


MM217
 
When the Fog Lifts
Rabbi Moshe Grylak In retrospect, we will understand everything
Coming Full Circle
Yonoson Rosenblum A final goodbye to my special father-in-law
Right Turns Left
Eytan Kobre Conservatives can no longer speak their minds
Searching for Olam Haba at Disney World
Rabbi Elchonon Zohn A distorted and perverted view of life and the afterlife
10 Questions for Eli Samuel
Rachel Bachrach “SafeTelecom really is the refuah before the makkah”
Work/Life Solutions with Fran Jakubowicz
Moe Mernick “I turn to daas Torah whenever I encounter a gray area”
A Debt of Gratitude
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman If Ina Perlmuter believed in me, others would follow
Gemara Detective
Jacob L. Freedman “Tell me a bit about the bochur behind the medication”
Tidal Waves
Riki Goldstein “Holding Back the Tide” is comforting on so many levels
Ari's Picture of Redemption
Riki Goldstein Ari Fuld’s incredible photo gives a visual to this song
Not Just for Kids Who Love Music
Riki Goldstein “Every Yiddishe kid is essentially a part of Yingerlach”
Dream Duet
Riki Goldstein “He’s been my singing idol since I was a little kid”
Nix the Nickname
Faigy Peritzman Handing down concepts through family names
Do Your Homework
Sarah Chana Radcliffe What parents really want to teach during homework time
Day of Confinement
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz If Asarah B’Teves isn’t a day of destruction, why fast?