An English Teacher’s Latest Pet Peeves

When did published writers (and their copy editors) stop recognizing the difference between verses and versus? Here’s an example from Salon on 10/14/15:  “[Rubio called the debate among Democratic candidates] basically a liberal verses liberal debate about who was going to give away the most free stuff.”  (The fault may be Salon’s, not Rubio’s, who may have spoken, not written, the line.)

When did fraught, which the dictionary tells us means literally “freighted” (like an ocean liner or garbage scow), come to mean “heavy” or “complicated” or “burdened”? In other words, when did people eliminate “with” from the idiom—as in “fraught with difficulty” or “fraught with polarizing feelings”? Now folks simply write of “fraught situations.” What?!

And here’s the big one!
When did there’s stop meaning “there is” and start meaning “there are,” making it possible for absolutely everyone, no matter how formal or respected the forum, to say things like this: “There’s several reasons to hate this trend”; “There’s three storms threatening the mid-Atlantic states”?

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