I totally get the expression, and have used it as far back as I can remember to describe extreme personal irritants. But the actual sound of fingernails on a chalkboard has never bothered me. Not anywhere close to the way, say, Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice will cause me to scream and start pounding on radio buttons in a desperate attempt to MAKE IT STOP.
Worse than that, even — for me — is bad grammar. I don’t expect (or want) people to walk around speaking like Queen Elizabeth I. When I say “bad grammar,” I mean really horrific grammar.
Speaker 1 — “Why has the use of improper grammar become so prevalent among members of the news media?”
Speaker 2 — “The reason is because . . .”
STOP. RIGHT. THERE.
There are multiple acceptable ways to answer this question. Options include:
- “The reason is . . .”
- “The use of improper grammar has become so prevalent among members of the news media because . . .” or the more conversationally acceptable,
- “Because . . .”
“The reason is” and “because” shouldn’t appear together in an answer, ever, to any question.