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
 
Think It Through
Rabbi Moshe Grylak The import of the name Anshei Knesses Hagedolah
Face the Facts: Don’t Suppress Them
Yonoson Rosenblum The left behaves more and more like a cult
You Never Looked So Good
Eytan Kobre Growing hunger for the fleeting high of the superficial
Top 5 Shiur Title Techniques
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin The answer to “what’s it about?” can fill or empty rooms
Power of Suggestion
Rachel Bachrach Mikey Benzaken is a stage hypnotist based in Jerusalem
Make It Happen
Jacob L. Freedman “If I’m a bum then let me be a bum”
Hard Knocks
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The Langer boys never forgot that apology
The Classic That Almost Didn’t Make the Cut
Riki Goldstein “It took only ten minutes to write, so we weren’t sure”
Hevel Pihem Keeps the World Going
Riki Goldstein The purity of their eyes and their innocent chatter
Yussi Sonnenblick never imagined they’d be singing “Eilecha” half a century later
Riki Goldstein “It’s nice to hear people still singing those songs”
The Rebbe’s Smile and the Rav’s Slap
Riki Goldstein “That was probably my most memorable performance”
Life in the Other Lane
Faigy Peritzman We should honor every Jew as if he were a talmid chacham
Needy
Sarah Chana Radcliffe The needier a person, the more they push people away
Touch of Light
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt “A person cannot live without any kavod”
Stay-at-Home Therapist: Part I
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer She turns to me. “You know the type, smart and silent?”