Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thing That Grates on My Nerves #36

I just picked that number out of nowhere. But I know that I have "things." So, let's talk about thing #36. The word yet. How is it used? In all of my internet searching, I have never seen anyone discussing whether or not this particular usage is acceptable, and I can only assume that it is because only crazy people use it this way. Crazy people being George and the Michigan branch of his family. I have heard, of course, "are you ready yet?" or "have you heard from your sister yet?" or "we haven't gotten there yet" or "he doesn't know the test results yet." I have also heard "we have yet to discover what the problem really is" or "she has yet to acknowledge that she did anything wrong." So far, so good, ordinary usage of the word yet. (And yes, I realize that for a post on grammar, there is a shocking lack of punctuation and at least one glaring fragment, but that's how most of us speak and I don't have a problem with it.) Also, yet can be a conjunction as in "He asked him to be on time, yet he still arrived thirty minutes late" or "I know that I should study more often, yet I can't ever seem to buckle down." So, the first person I had ever heard say yet in this other totally weird way was George's stepmom. I am not sure if she said it and then George's dad picked it up and now George picked it up, or if it is just a Michigan thing and George's stepmom is just the one who talks to me the most so that is why I heard it from her first. Anyway, it's unusual. And, dare I say, incorrect. Or is it? You decide:

Amabel: "Daddy, are we going on the trip?"
George: "Well, we still have to hear from Uncle Patrick and Aunt Sarah yet."


Me to George's dad when he calls on the way to visit: "Hey, how's the drive? Where are y'all?"
George's Dad: "We have a few hours to go yet."

Why is this so annoying to me? Is it grammatically wrong? In the first example, it is redundant if nothing else. In the second example it is unnecessary at the very least. It also seems like it is in the wrong place in the sentence if it is going to be there at all. "We have yet to hear from Uncle Patrick and Aunt Sarah" is an acceptable sentence (though awkward, in my opinion). And I don't know how to put yet in the second sentence. Am I crazy? I mean, besides in all those other ways. Am I crazy about this?


The Rays said...

i had to read that first one about three times to make sure i was reading it right! never heard that before! and yes, totally unnecessary in the second example. must be a northern thing!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the usage is awkward and wrongly placed. In the second sentence, I would either leave it out entirely, or word the sentence, "We have a few hours yet to go."


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