Gradual erosion of proper English phrases


I am sick and tired of hearing K-9 Police Officers and other animal handlers say "You will get bit."  The correct phrase is "You will get bitten."  Does anyone have an opinion on this? 

asked Feb 19 '12 at 20:12 Sarah Seiderman New member

1 answer


You asked for opinions, Sarah, so here’s mine.  I'm with Lewis and Tolley.  While it is certainly nice to hear others use correct grammar, it is not realistic to expect that everyone will do so.  Getting one's knickers in a twist over it only adds to his or her own frustration.  It does not often change reality.  I especially like Lewis’s advice to step back.

There are few jobs that include "correct use of grammar" high on the list of requirements for that job.  Tolley is a high school teacher and likely has such an expectation placed upon her.  A person's ability to use correct grammar and vocabulary is directly linked, I believe, to how others view that person's professionalism in the workplace.  An attorney is not required to use correct grammar, but will be much more successful if he does.

Police officers are often more successful when they speak in the same manner as those in the community they serve.  This includes lousy grammar, slang, colloquialisms, and even other languages.  The success gained in this manner is certainly a good excuse to do so.  Personally, I would much rather have a successful police officer warn that I might “get bit” than an ineffective one who spoke properly at all times.  There are many other skills valued higher than grammar when hiring a police officer.


If I understood your reply to Lewis, you believe that police officers use the term exit as an exaggeration of leave.  Police forces and militaries do use certain words in order to eliminate confusion.  Leave allows for a lot more interpretation that exit, resulting in unclear direction.  The use of specific words are often required and this is not a recent development only happening “these days.” 


Yes, poor grammar annoys me.  I’m not perfect.  Expecting others to be perfect just frustrates me and doesn’t change them.  Instead, I ask myself, “Does it really matter in the big scheme of things?” and then I let it go.   

link answered Feb 20 '12 at 01:28 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you, Patty, for your response and opinion. Perhaps I should have prefaced all this by saying that (1) I have a PhD in literature and am an accomplished editor and writer and (2) that I have been working in dog training and related fields for about 50 years. I watch a number of TV shows that involve Animal Cops, K-9 Police, etc. and, every time I hear this shouted command ("You will get bit!"), it just makes me cringe. You are right about it really doesn't matter "in the big scheme of things." But, again, my question is more about whether it is CORRECT or not? I have never used that tense, in any command, without the proper construction of the sentence. I have written to the chiefs of K-9 activity in a couple of cities and they have agreed with me, saying that they will instruct their officers to say "bitten"....but they have apparently ignored my request. It just happens to catch me "in the gut" and I cringe every time I hear it. Sarah SeidermanFeb 20 '12 at 02:14

I hear you Sarah, I have certain pet peeves as well. You have much more education and professional experience than I in the field of editing and writing. I’m just a grammar geek sort of gal. Kudos to you for trying to get those chiefs to correct their officers. I can’t say that I am surprised by the result, though. A bit of serenity prayer usually works for me… the wisdom to know the difference. Patty TFeb 20 '12 at 02:29

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