Pet peeve phrases III

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Pet peeve phrases III

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Redigeret: sep 6, 2011, 3:14pm

My biggest pet peeve - using "then" instead of "than". I find that quite a few people write in emails "my whatever is better then your whatever." It makes me want to scream. An attorney I know uses then for than all the time.

It hurts my ears....

sep 4, 2011, 4:10pm

One of my peeves is "of" instead of have, often by people who should know better. A former manager used it quite often in official company memos. "I should of..." does not mean "I should have...."

sep 4, 2011, 7:24pm

I hate "laying" for "lying". Laying is for chickens; lying means reclining.

sep 4, 2011, 11:24pm

2> I think the problem there is that your former manager mistook it when people said "should've" to be "should of". Unfortunately, that kind of mistake made by enough people is how languages change.

sep 5, 2011, 12:03pm


The proper spelling of "should of" is "should've" -- obviously colloquial and needs the quotation marks.

sep 5, 2011, 12:03pm

I think you are right, JJWilson. When spoken, it does sound like "should of." Still, she was a very well educated manager in a high-level position and she should of known better. ;-) Or her secretary should have caught it.

The lying/laying reminds me of another set of words often confused: sit and set. I'm going to sit in the chair. I'm going to set my stack of gold coins on my Louis XIV armoire.

sep 5, 2011, 12:08pm

People using the singular when the plural is required.

There's five of them, instead of, There're five of them.

Redigeret: sep 5, 2011, 12:37pm

With the overabundance of reality shows, there are too many Me and him is going to.....

sep 5, 2011, 12:22pm

Exactly. They "is" out to dumb down the language.

sep 6, 2011, 2:24am

8> And one of my pet peeves is people afraid of 'me' - He gave it to Jane and I...

sep 6, 2011, 10:22am

Mine, too. That usage has become quite common. I believe I even heard President Obama make that mistake. (No, I am not trying to start a discussion of politics or the relative merits of the various presidents' speech habits. It just surprised me when I heard it.)

sep 6, 2011, 10:52am


Particularly when the same person starts a sentence with "Me and my girlfriend ...."

sep 6, 2011, 11:36am

6> You make an interesting point that your well-educated manager's secretary should have caught it. When I was still in the corporate world and had secretaries, most of them would NOT have known the correct grammar. In fact, most of the people I worked with would not have known the correct grammar.

I have caught my children's elementary school teachers using grammar that I would be embarrassed to use. Why has our society stopped thinking that proper grammar is important?

sep 6, 2011, 11:51am

#13 Why has our society stopped thinking that proper grammar is important?


I hear gross abuse of the most basic grammar from radio announcers, television presenters, teachers, etc...

Many young people, and even people my age (mid-50s), don't even recognise many of the errors as errors.

Redigeret: sep 6, 2011, 1:11pm

> 6, 13

The other point here is that it would take a very bold secretary to correct a manager's grammar or vocabulary. I once had a manager who always used the expression 'in the thrones of ... ', rather than 'in the throes of ... ' I may have been the only one who noticed, but I wimped out and treated it as a quaint idiosyncracy.

A lot of managers are managers only in the sense that they've managed to avoid being seen to be incompetent! See The Peter Principle!

sep 6, 2011, 3:13pm

Speaking of managers...I once had a manager who kept saying "it's a mute point," instead of "moot point." It's not very nice of me, but I always wanted to laugh in his face.

sep 7, 2011, 11:41am

Yes, it would be hard for a secretary or administrative assistant to correct a manager. And this particular manager was living proof of the Peter Principle.

I think there are quite a few people who think the phrase is "mute point." It's interesting to me how so many people start using phrases when they don't really understand the meanings but just use them because they've heard others say them.

I once had a very menial job and worked with a lovely but poorly educated woman. She told me all about her visit to the "Waldorf Stereo." And "dormant" was "doormat." If I hadn't liked her, I probably would have wanted to laugh, too, but I was just sorry that her life had been so hard and wasn't likely to get any easier.

That manager, on the other hand.... I'm just glad she wasn't my manager.

sep 7, 2011, 8:01pm

She told me all about her visit to the "Waldorf Stereo."

Where she ordered a Waldorf salad, but unfortunately they'd just run out of Waldorfs ...

sep 14, 2011, 2:13pm

"I read where....".

I teacher once pointed out to our class that the speaker would have to have been at the site of the event reading for this to be correct.

Some things just stick with you.

sep 14, 2011, 7:14pm

I teacher once pointed out to our class that the speaker would have to have been at the site of the event reading for this to be correct.

That's not true, though...

sep 15, 2011, 12:07am

>19 omboy:-20
I suppose that failed at "I teacher" -- something's missing there, and it ain't a mere comma.

sep 15, 2011, 12:42am

Ha. I hadn't even noticed that; thought it said "a teacher".

(A phrase like "I read where Karl Marx is buried" doesn't necessarily imply you you were standing at his grave with book in hand; although "I read where Karl Marx is buried in Highgate cemetery" (which is presumably the usage 'omboy' is concerned with) might, if you weren't aware of the idiom.)

sep 16, 2011, 8:29am

I read THAT Karl Marx is buried in Highgate cemetery.

sep 18, 2011, 11:45am

A very common mistake is to write "it's" when "its" is what is clearly meant.

sep 18, 2011, 12:41pm

Or "its" when it's "it's" one means.

sep 18, 2011, 4:16pm

I probly should of told yuns that I read where LibraryThing was better then Goodreads. But its a mute point, cause him and me use the liberry alot more then her.

;-) wink, wink!!

sep 21, 2011, 7:20pm

I turned off the spellcheck feature on my iPad because it kept causing mistakes with it's and I'll.

sep 21, 2011, 8:23pm

Whoa, not merely swapping an its for an it's? (I wonder if, at speed, it can be made to swap an its or an it's for, you guessed it, an its'.)

sep 23, 2011, 5:49am

Not a pet peeve, really, but when I write I always go back to see were I can remove the word ""that"; which is kind of like an can usually survive without it.

sep 23, 2011, 2:28pm

29> Interesting, plodet...I do the same thing.

sep 23, 2011, 5:57pm

I often go back and put it in. I talk to myself without it, so what goes on paper first often leaves 'that' out. When I review my writing, though, it seems to scan better with 'that' in it.


sep 24, 2011, 2:39am

I always use 'that' where it is appropriate and find that there are times when I get confused if people leave it out and I am not sure if they are using a direct quote or not. News readers are notorious and we used to have one who carefully reinserted all the 'thats' for exactly that reason.

And it should never be used in place of 'which' or 'who' but sadly, due to common usage it is becoming accepted as correct.

sep 24, 2011, 3:05am

And it should never be used in place of 'which' or 'who' but sadly, due to common usage it is becoming accepted as correct.

You have that the wrong way around. It always has been accepted; it's only recently becoming thought of as wrong. To quote Burchfield's "Fowler":
Down through the centuries, that has often been used with a
human antecedent. Chaucer, Langland, and Wyclif are all cited in the
OED using that in this way, and examples are also given from
writers in each of the later centuries. The 20c. abounds with writers
who keep to the rule that only who is appropriate when the
antecedent is human (whether a specified person or one representative
of a class).


Fowler wisely observed: 'The relations between that,
who, and which, have come to us from our forefathers as
an odd jumble, and plainly show that the language has not been neatly
constructed by a master-builder who could create each part to do the
exact work required of it, neither overlapped nor overlapping; far
from that, its parts have had to grow as they could.' He went on to
stress that not all writers observe the distinction between
restrictive clauses (which he called defining clauses) and
non-restrictive clauses (which he called non-defining clauses): 'The
two kinds of relative clauses, to one of which that and to the
other of which which is appropriate, are the defining and the
non-defining; and if writers would agree to regard that as the
defining relative pronoun, and which as the non-defining, there
would be much gain both in lucidity and in ease. Some there are who
follow this principle now; but it would be idle to pretend that it is
the practice either of most or of the best writers.'

Redigeret: sep 24, 2011, 4:31am

#30; 31;32

It appears one can never be sure of "that"!

sep 24, 2011, 9:05am

That's kind of wacky.

sep 25, 2011, 5:18pm

I'm wondering if we are talking about the same type of usage here. What I meant, and what I assume plodet meant is the following - I could have said "..what I assume that plodet meant.... or "I see that you are going" The "that" in both of those phrases seems redundant, extraneous....not sure what you would call it. In those phrases, I would go back and remove the "that" - "...what I assume plodet meant.... or "I see you are going"

sep 25, 2011, 8:39pm

Just because a word isn't necessary in a sentence doesn't mean that it should be left out. It could be that the sentence just flows better with the extra word in it. There's a lot of redundancy in human communication and that's usually a good thing because if you miss a word here or there you can still understand the gist of what is said.

sep 25, 2011, 9:19pm

This brings to mind a pet peeve that seems to be coming in waves: minimalism. It is as though peoples in the English-speaking world decided to rebel against poetic (or "purple") prose in favor of simple (or "beige"). It reeks of anti-intellectualism in favor of a supposedly more democratic "people's" language, since The People cannot read a sentence more than two lines long without bemoaning, "Get on with it, already."

sep 25, 2011, 9:19pm

I see a lot of these common mistakes in the books I read and I wonder if proofreading is being left exclusively to computers these days. Surely an educated human eye would notice the more glaring errors. Right? ;)

In a single book recently I ran across these mistakes: its/it's, there/their, would of/would've, several words left out, some spelled incorrectly, and the single worst mistake that felt like a punch in the eye: "My body shuttered at the cold wind."

One of my pet peeves is using an adverb as an adjective, or vice versa. For example, "I wash my hair everyday" or "I don't have anymore cereal."

sep 26, 2011, 12:34am

39> I read a book a while ago that was absolutely full of homonyms. It drove me nuts! There were problems with the story as well, but it was the homonyms that totally turned me off. A couple I remember were "a sword of fine steal" and "the shear curtains" (that she could see through). Ghahh. I'm reading another now, a book I love and have reread several times, and I'm noticing some of the standard errors - your for you're, a couple times, for instance. Bah.

Though sometimes the spell-checker errors can be quite amusing. Another book described the bridge of a small ship as being at its "center of ass"...missing an M! Readers pointed it out in the hardback and I believe it got fixed in the paperback edition.

sep 26, 2011, 3:41am

Spot on #36. "That" is exactly what I was talking about.

sep 26, 2011, 4:26am

#38 Phocion
to rebel against poetic (or "purple") prose

When I was growing up, "purple prose" was the term used to refer to pornographic literature.

You must read some hot and steamy poetry!


sep 26, 2011, 2:12pm

39> UnrulySun - you make the statement "Surely an educated human eye would notice..." I have a feeling that is the issue. I'm not certain that the "eyes" (or "ears") are being "educated" these days. I have read quite a few books recently that have misspellings, misused words and phrases, etc. I sometimes wonder if I could become a book editor because I believe I could pick up more poorly-used grammar than the current book editors.

I don't think that children are being taught proper grammar in school - I have both a 9 year-old and a 6 year-old boy and it is very interesting to read their teacher's newsletters and to hear their teachers speak.

sep 26, 2011, 5:13pm

My comment above was tongue-in-cheek of course. ;) I think "educated" is the wrong word anyway. Current professionals, in the publishing world or not, are generally well-educated people in the sense that they have earned degrees and shown their perseverence in the acedemic setting. We all know that doesn't necessarily translate into knowing a great deal. Perhaps "knowledgeable" would be a better word, indicating that said professional has acquired the necessary information to be proficient at their work.

And I agree with you that the miseducation (ha) starts young. I think there's a general shift toward complacency with error. While idiomatic change is certainly a generational trend (at least since the great vowel shift and the establishment of general English-language grammatical rules), there has always been some sort of standard to which those who call themselves educated and/or worldly strive to achieve and maintain. Not so much it seems any more. The attitude is one of "people know what I mean, what difference does it make?"

sep 26, 2011, 5:46pm

44> I suspect, though I don't have evidence to back it up, that this is a cyclical thing. The general shift is a pendulum - towards complacency and strictness in turn. Probably the pendulum swings over multiple generations - about a century's period, perhaps - so that as far as we're concerned there has 'always' been a striving for correctness which is now failing (we're at approximately the turn of the pendulum). I'm not sure where I'm getting this impression, but it's a strong one - derived from a lot of reading of books written in and for different periods. Anyone have evidence for or against this notion?

The other possibility is that it's an age thing, but now the younger group who tend towards a relaxed view are more 'visible' than they have been before. It will be interesting watching the millennials go through the cycle...

sep 26, 2011, 5:59pm

The ones that irk me are...

'Should of' instead of 'should have'. (which I see, alarmingly, in some of my student's essays)

'Could of' instead of 'could have'. (which I see, alarmingly, in some of my student's essays)

Kinda instead of 'kind of' (which I see, alarmingly, in some of my student's essays)

"&" instead of 'and'. (which I see, alarmingly, in some of my student's essays)

❤ or * instead of a dot on top of the letter 'i'. (which I see, alarmingly, in some of my student's essays)

I could go on......


sep 27, 2011, 4:54am

One that I heard recently during the hurricane scare on the USA east coast was the warning to, "Get off of the beach!"


sep 27, 2011, 6:26am

#46: Pet peeves of mine include people who overuse and misuse the ellipsis, particularly those that don't stick to the standard three- and four-dot forms. The correct character to introduce a list is a colon, not an ellipsis.

sep 27, 2011, 6:46am

> 48

I meant to add, that people who abbreviate.......................................

sep 29, 2011, 1:00pm

The one that seems to make me grind my teeth the hardest is hearing "I graduated high school/college" without the "from". You graduate *from* a school. Graduate is not a transitive verb, unless you are the one handing out the diplomas during commencement.

sep 29, 2011, 2:35pm

Some people uses a passive construction when using the word 'graduate', as in " I was graduated from High School." So, maybe some think that if you drop the 'was' you can also drop the 'from', and not deal with transitivity.

sep 29, 2011, 2:52pm

I actually looked it up in Fowler's at one point -he said the "was" is a very old-fashioned construction, but the "from" is still mandatory.

sep 29, 2011, 3:04pm

The passive sounds very stilted to my hears, but I have heard it used on infrequent occasions.

The usage comment in my Merriam-Webster Dictionary 1997 for graduate (vb) is: In the 19th century, the transitive sense (1a) was prescribed; the intransitive (I graduated from college) was condemned. The intransitive prevailed nonetheless, and today it is the sense likely to be prescribed and the newer transitive (sense 1b) the one condemned. All three are standard. The intrasitive is currently the most common, the new transitive the least common.

Sense 1a is for a construction like: Harvard College graduated Robert.

sep 29, 2011, 3:10pm

Huh. I never would have guessed the transitive was once considered the correct version. And yet it still sounds so very wrong to my ears....

sep 29, 2011, 8:58pm

The progression is this:

Harvard graduated Robert.
Robert was graduated by Harvard.
Robert graduated from Harvard.
Robert graduated Harvard.

So, we've gone from the college doing the major effort to the student doing the effort.

okt 1, 2011, 3:55pm

I've come to accept the changing distinction between 'which' and 'that', and I would hate it if we returned to burning 'whiches'.

okt 3, 2011, 12:02pm

I don't like the usage of 'noone.' There is no such word. When I see it I imagine a mouth moving lots of Os around. nooo wooon

okt 3, 2011, 6:55pm

There is a book on ER offer that discusses this very topic. How apropos!

okt 3, 2011, 8:51pm

I don't like the usage of 'noone.' There is no such word.

Tell that to Peter Noone.

okt 6, 2011, 8:42pm

Same book as in #39: "He lost his ere of confidence."

okt 6, 2011, 9:30pm

60> Um...that was a joke, right? Shutter? I need the winkie, please - I've seen that too often seriously. And Congradulations, and the like...

Oh, OK - I went back to 39 and saw where it was coming from. Yeah. Ugh.

okt 7, 2011, 10:52am

Congradulations, and the like...

See also, posts #50-55.

okt 7, 2011, 12:12pm

LT is perhaps a dangerous place to say this, but I 'shutter' when I hear or see the word "read" used as a noun to mean "book" or "source of reading material"--

Pride and Prejudice is a great read!

James Patterson is one of my favorite reads!

okt 7, 2011, 12:23pm

63> Or the name of a competitor site, GoodReads.

okt 7, 2011, 12:58pm

(6) TooBusyReading wrote: The lying/laying reminds me of another set of words often confused: sit and set. I'm going to sit in the chair. I'm going to set my stack of gold coins on my Louis XIV armoire.

I think I'll ask you to lend me some of your gold coins. Can you give me a loan?

Lend is the verb, loan is the noun. That's my pet peeve.

okt 7, 2011, 5:26pm

There is an American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language within eyesight, but I am disinclined to get it down, so treat this with a certain amount of distrust. It says that bankers have used 'loan' as a verb for centuries and that that justifies the usage. I respond that bankers are notoriously inept at language and that we should not credit their usage.


okt 7, 2011, 6:28pm

(66) Mr.Durick, my grandmother was an English teacher from the 1920s. She was a stickler for proper grammar, and made sure her grandchildren spoke correctly.

I'll take my grandmother's teaching over what might have been used in popular culture for the last 100 years or so. :)

Redigeret: okt 8, 2011, 7:16am

I have a station set on my car radio. They frequently have interviews and talk shows. Every time when I am alone in the car when I hear "you know" I say aloud "You know?" Sometimes I say it more than once in a sentence. It drives me bats. I would rather they say "ah" which is what they are doing, using "you know" to give them time to think what they want to say

okt 7, 2011, 9:12pm

Sorry, fuzzi, but the gold coins were wrapped chocolate, and I ate them. The armoire was really from IKEA. I was just living in my dreams for a bit.

okt 7, 2011, 10:36pm

68: Sounds, like, uh, a verbal tic, eh? A, er, place-holder, you know.

okt 8, 2011, 3:51am

Sorry, fuzzi, but the gold coins were wrapped chocolate, and I ate them.

And the chrysophobes are always going on about how you can't eat gold...

okt 8, 2011, 3:57am

#68 Schmerguls

The one I hear a lot is, "m!"

When someone uses that when talking to me I say, "Oh! The thirteenth letter in the alphabet!"

It usually trips them up.

okt 8, 2011, 5:31am

#68 Schmerguls -

That ubiquitous "you know" is called stumbling, I think. My ex-husband used to say it all the time and it used to drive me crazy.

okt 8, 2011, 7:17am

#73: Sad to hear it even exists in western Austrailia. Maybe there is no hope...

okt 8, 2011, 5:47pm

A common version here would be, "You know like, what I mean like."

okt 8, 2011, 6:00pm

Here in Australia, I have noticed many things since I have migrated her.

Along with barefoot shopping, people say "Look" ALL the time when they are answering a question (especially politicians).

okt 8, 2011, 6:27pm

...since I have migrated her. (#76)

Since when could you migrate someone else?

okt 9, 2011, 11:20am


I laughed. Obama does that.

I always thought that it would be fun to interview him and start every question with "look".

okt 9, 2011, 12:33pm

My daughter's American fiance always starts a new subject with, "Look, here's the thing..."

okt 9, 2011, 4:44pm

> 77

I am bowled over by your charity.

okt 9, 2011, 10:58pm

>76 LesMiserables:,77,80

My fingers always do the reverse... I am apparently unable to type the word "her" ... it always comes out "here" and I have to correct it.

okt 9, 2011, 11:32pm

It bugs me when people use quotation marks where they aren't needed.

Example (on signs): Buy one, get one "free"

Is it free, or isn't it?

Or this one: "Thank you" for shopping here.

Also, I hate it when people use an apostrophe when a noun is simply plural.

Example: Recycle your bottle's here.

Redigeret: okt 9, 2011, 11:48pm

82: Have a look at the "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks and be astounded at how common this error is. Sometimes the results are, however, "funny".

okt 13, 2011, 6:46am

The interspersing of 'know what I mean?' should always be countered immediately with 'No.' Perhaps the message might then sink in that one should always express oneself clearly in the first place - or stay silent. I suspect you'll find that most users of the phrase don't actually know themselves what they mean, and that they're just lazily listening to the sound of their own voice - know what I mean?

okt 13, 2011, 6:58am

I have tried to say "No" when someone says "you know" but sometimes the you knows come so thick and fast I can't get my "No" squeezed in.

okt 13, 2011, 7:18am

I love tripping people up when they are using meaningless automatic phrases, such as "you know".

Very often when shop assistants here are telling you the price of the goods you are buying, they will say, "That is XXXeuros. Is that OK?"

I always respond, "No!", and make my face as dead-pan as possible.

The stunned look on their face is priceless.

It's never won me a discount however.

okt 13, 2011, 12:28pm

84: So the double entendre has no place in your world, if you know what I mean.

okt 13, 2011, 3:59pm

#87: Shop clerks here are trained to be that way. Your "humor" would just piss them off. No discounts for jackasses. ;)

Placeholders don't bother me, usually, but awkward pauses do.

okt 14, 2011, 10:08am

Tell him to stop talking then and maybe he'll get it.

okt 14, 2011, 10:48am

I have three major pet peeves. The first involves my obsession with commas -- people who use too many, people who put them in all the wrong places, people who have never heard of a comma in the first place, and people who think comma is a misspelling of what one is likely to fall into when one bangs one's head against a brick wall (as when people don't properly respect the comma).
The second is the ubiquitous misplacement of the word "only". Consider these four examples from one of my favorite grammar treatises, Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies by June Casagrande:
Only I have eyes for you (“I’m as good as it gets, Baby”)
I only have eyes for you (“I don’t sell them, pluck them out, or cross them; they merely exist here next to my corneas”)
I have only eyes for you (“So forget my liver or heart”)
I have eyes only for you (“Everyone else grosses me out”)
The third is the inability to determine when to use “I” and “me”. “John gave the slimy newborn dragon to Carpathia and I”. Oy!

okt 17, 2011, 1:09pm

I had a boss who always said, "Right, right, right". I always wanted to counter with "Left, print, wrong."

dec 17, 2011, 8:00pm

A book I tried to read recently consistantly used "summat" in place of "something": ...He had summat to say... I wished that he didn't.

dec 17, 2011, 9:20pm

Was "summat" used in dialogue (dialect, maybe)?

dec 18, 2011, 9:16am

It was used in both, but not dialect, I interpreted it as the author trying too hard to be clever!

Redigeret: dec 24, 2011, 6:40pm

"Was summat used in ...dialect, maybe?" (94)

I believe it is used in Midlands and perhaps in Yorkshire dialect.
It usually means ʻSomeTHING" (not "somewhat")* So the Standard English (SE) "something" is semantically = to the dialect "summat". (Iʻm American, living in Hawaiʻi, so if youʻre British and familiar with dialect usage, feel free to correct me.)

*Iʻm not sure how you would say the SE "somewhat" in dialect.
We have a dialect, some would say a language, here, Hawaiʻi Creole in which a parallel question comes up. Sometimes the SE word does double duty, having its own dialect meaning OR the SE meaning. E.g., "I like. . ." in Creole means "I want" in SE. But how do you express the SE meaning of "I like"? Possibly just "I like" (understood from the context to have the SE meaning), or possibly by a completely different structure: "I like X" might be
"X is good# fun."

#pronounced "gewed"

dec 28, 2011, 6:44pm

I'm sure that *something* is meant. I'm not clear which dialect is intended, though I'm pretty sure I say it myself is casual conversation. If it is intended as *dialect* it was the only piece of dialect I detected in the book and it was used in places other than in speech. Its use was not necessary to the story, and being an isolated instance of *dialect* its use irritated me.

With regard to the dialect equivalent of "somewhat": people who use "summat" in place of "something" probably do not incude "somewhat" in their vocabulary, but express their ideas quite differently. Again I'm reasonably confident I don't use "somewhat" in my everyday conversation and only (rarely) in formal written work. "That man is somewhat annoying" would quite probably be said as "that man is ****ing annoying me"!

dec 28, 2011, 8:13pm

All I know is that Rowling used summat a lot in Hagrid's speech in the Harry Potter series.

Redigeret: dec 29, 2011, 7:09am

>98 jjwilson61:
I used to live in Bristol, and Rowling (who in her childhood lived just outside Bristol) would have been familiar enough with the West Country use of 'summat'* to put it regularly in Hagrid's speech.

As far as I'm aware it's common through a vast swathe of England (and probably South Wales too), including Yorkshire and Cumbria. Whether or not this is a recent (ie 20th century) development, due to broadcast media, I don't know (I suspect not), but it's certainly regarded by bourgeois standards as 'common'.

* Or 'summut' or 'summit'--the last syllable is frequently a schwa sound, though rather broader in the West Country, approaching 'summaht'. (In my experience, at least!)

Redigeret: dec 30, 2011, 1:30am

> 99

In Glasgow, they say 'sutums'.

Wits the mattur wae hur? (What is wrong with her?)
A dunno. A hink sutums up.( I don't know. I think something is wrong.)

dec 29, 2011, 5:56pm

>100 LesMiserables:
I can see how 'something(s)' could conceivably mutate to 'sutum(s)' (ct 'nuttin' for 'nothing'). But 'summat'?

dec 30, 2011, 3:14am

According to Wiktionary, it's, despite the meaning, a derivative of "somewhat".

dec 30, 2011, 6:38am

I've grown up hearing "summat" on shows such as Coronation Street and in conversations with English friends and colleagues. In my lifetime it has always meant "something". It is slang/dialect, call it what you will, and I have always subconsciously regarded it as "some-it" as opposed to "some-thing"; in this case a common usage word that gets across a meaning that is not exactly the same as it sounds.

"Somewhat" is a word that would have been used by the English middle and uppper classes and would not necessarily be a word that would be in common usage in areas where "summit" would be in common usage.

I would question the etymology of Wiktionary in this case.

The Oxford Dictionary of Enlish defines "Summat" as N. English non-standard form of "something".

dec 30, 2011, 8:50am

I think we're somewhat (!) misled by the current adverbial meaning and use of 'somewhat'. It seems to me that, in the word behind summat, 'what' is just an alternative (obsolete, provincial, dialectical) way of saying 'thing'. An analogous pair would be 'anyway' and 'anyroad' -- the latter also provincial or dialectical.

I find it interesting that formerly 'something' could also be used as we now use 'somewhat' -- for example Hamlet's statement that "the proverb is something musty". Is that sense still current anywhere in Britain?

dec 31, 2011, 4:51pm

Just chiming in: The Doctor (Matt Smith) used the word "summat" in an episode I watched today, "Night Terrors". :)

Redigeret: dec 31, 2011, 7:38pm

It is quite a commonly used word in the UK. People would think summat's up wi' it the way people's goin' on.

It's not summat special, like.

'appy New Year, All!

dec 31, 2011, 10:00pm

>106 pgmcc: "It is quite a commonly used word in the UK. "
I agree its quite commonly spoken ... but it shouldn't be written.

jan 1, 2012, 4:57am

#107 Agreed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending its use in a book (other than, of course, in reporting the words of a speaker) but I am making the point that it is a very commonly heard word in the UK where there is no confusion regading its meaning.

If people are starting to use it in writing then it will be as irksome as someone writing things like:
"There's three of them; There's thousands of them; There's delays; etc..."

My pet peeve is the number of people using the singular when the plural is required. I cringe everytime I hear it on the radio and I am starting to see it more frequently in writing. A really worrying point is that many people don't realise they've made the mistake. :-(

Anyway, a new year to fight the good fight. Onwards and upwards.

Happy New Year - May 2012 be great for you and yours.

jan 1, 2012, 2:59pm

108, a question. How do you know to say onwards and upwards instead of onward and upward? I've gone over it forwards and backwards in my mind and still can't decide. ;)

Redigeret: jan 1, 2012, 5:54pm

Ah, a fellow traveller! It's nice to have company. :-)

As an aside, and apropos your comment, the Oxford Compact English Dicinary states that they are synonymous; I mean, upward and upwards are both valid words meaning the same thing; not that upwards is the same as onwards; or upward the same as onward. ;-)

jan 1, 2012, 6:02pm

>109 Collectorator:

The shorter version is commoner, except in cases of the following type... From the tenth century onwards (Fowler 1st Ed.)

jan 1, 2012, 6:26pm

>108 pgmcc: onward/s and upward/s

'Besides' or 'beside'? An acquaintance I knew in the 60s wouldn't accept 'beside' in a sentence where clearly a preposition was required, and insisted on changing it to the adverb 'besides', which changed the meaning of the sentence entirely in a way that rendered it nonsensical.

Without casting any aspersions, he happened to be American, and I'm guessing this must be a common confusion Stateside, and not one I'd come across in the UK (which doesn't mean to say it doesn't occur here).

jan 1, 2012, 6:32pm

> 112

Beside = prepositional

Besides = adverbial

jan 1, 2012, 6:32pm

112: I don't think that's a common mistake here in the US. The addition of the "s" renders another meaning altogether.

jan 1, 2012, 7:19pm

It's a new one on me too.

jan 1, 2012, 7:25pm

> 115

Its all so a knew won on me two!

Redigeret: jan 2, 2012, 12:13pm

>113 LesMiserables:-116

After your responses, and fearing I was losing my marbles, I did a quick google (no double entendre intended) and actually find that it's not that uncommon a confusion: and are typical, while is helpful in giving some historical perspective. For example, it quotes Bryan A. Garner Garner's Modern American Usage (OUP 2009) who opines:
"While the two words were once used interchangeably, beside has been reserved as the preposition and besides as the adverb since the late 18th century. But they are still confounded."

jan 2, 2012, 1:45pm

>117 ed.pendragon: I like the advice given in the second of your links: "Replace "besides" when writing. Use connective words or phrases, such as "moreover" and "in addition," in formal writing."

One of the issues I have is the confusion between spoken language and written language. Conversation can cope with some small confusions because they can be immediately clarified and can cope with elision for the sake of speed and ease of pronunciation, however the written word is required to be clear and unambiguous.

jan 5, 2012, 4:17pm

My two pet peeves from many years of working with bureaucracy: Using big words instead of simple ones (utilize vs use) to impress the reader. It does impress me but not favorably. I also get annoyed at the signs on virtually all federal buildings: "Automatic doors. Push button to activate." If I have to push the button, they aren't automatic.

feb 18, 2012, 8:01pm

As I see it, people are slipshod when writing quickly a memo here and there. Even though writers know better, they sometimes overlook the obvious, especially in other cases: there/their or too/to. Because they unconsciously move so quickly through the written text, I believe that these noticeable mistakes happen all to common.

feb 18, 2012, 8:09pm

Oops. I started on the wrong end. Let me back up and get my bearings. Big words are used to give authoritative power, or at least an attempt at legitimizing what is being communicated. Such words as "automatic" or "activate" sound more sophisticated than "direct" or "on." So when someone says "affirmative," just say "yes."

Redigeret: feb 19, 2012, 5:02pm

I use deliberately long, complicated words when writing my version of a nasty letter, however 8-)

mar 31, 2012, 3:42pm

Evidence for the debasement of language, I suppose, but whereas people used to add 'very much' to the delightfully simple 'Thank you', people are now adding 'indeed': 'Thank you very much indeed'. Broadcasters seem to do this all the time in the UK.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2012, 3:17am

I am getting very tired of hearing and reading the phrase "convinced to". It should, in my opinion at least, be 'convinced that' and 'persuaded to or persuaded that'.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2012, 6:24pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

apr 22, 2012, 10:26am

It seems to me that you can be convinced to do something or be convinced that an idea is right.

apr 22, 2012, 4:42pm

124: Where are you seeing that? "Convinced" and "persuaded" are nearly interchangeable. (in exactly the way 126 iterated)

apr 22, 2012, 7:56pm

You can be convinced of the merits of a particular action or you can be persuaded to do something which you were formally reluctant to do.

They are not interchangeable. Journalists don't know that the word persuade exists at all and it is creeping into books. By common useage it will become correct but it grates every time I hear or read it.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2012, 8:57pm

It has been correct usage here as long as I've been alive, at least. :) I can convince you to do something, the same way I can persuade you to do it.

One word may sound less awkward in particular instances, but they are interchangeable in usage, if not exact meaning.

ETA: "here" = US

apr 22, 2012, 9:15pm

Yes - I figured that here was US. 'Here' for me is Australia and we watch a lot of American-produced TV.

apr 23, 2012, 5:10am

Do you have subtitles?

apr 23, 2012, 5:19am

I'm australian and thought "convinced to" was common, but after a look in the brand spanking new AusNC, only "convinced that" came up.
I'll have to adjust my prejudices based on objective empirical data ;(
loads of "convinced to"s in the american COCA though.

apr 23, 2012, 5:54am

I know. We are picking up the American phraseology. I grew up before TV and the radio announcers had to sound like the BBC. I think that is where my prejudices came from. It just sounds so wrong.

apr 23, 2012, 7:12pm

One that has always bugged me - and I come across it surprisingly often:
"Here, here!" when someone means "Hear, hear!"

Another MAJOR pet peeve (and I've met less than a handful of people who get this right):
It's the 1990s, people, not the 1990's. (unless you mean "belonging to the year 1990") and CDs not CD's (unless you mean "belonging to the CD"). I've never understood why everyone has such a hard time understanding the difference.

Whenever I read "1960's greatest hits" I assume they mean (as the grammar suggests) "songs released in the (single) year 1960" but, of course, what they mean is "songs released in the whole decade of the 1960s". *sigh* For the love of Jesus, just leave out the apostrophe when you mean the decade.

apr 23, 2012, 7:31pm

That the Media calls the language that Iranians
speak "Farsi" irritates me. True, thatʻs what the Iranians themselves call it, but theyʻre usually speaking it and
not English. The correct word for the language, IN ENGLISH, is "Persian". ("Iranian" is used only for nationality and ethnicity, nt language.)
Do we have to say (when weʻre speaking English), that the Japanese speak "Nihon-go", the French "francais", and the Germans "Deutsch"? Or
can we say that they speak Japanese, French, and

apr 23, 2012, 7:33pm

LOL - that grocers' apostrophe again. I think that it is the thing which bugs us the most.

I would recommend that everyone reads Eats, Shoots and Leaves which, for those who have not come across it, refers to pandas.

Redigeret: apr 23, 2012, 8:05pm

#i37 Surely the Iranians are correct when they refer to their own language as Farsi. Certainly, when I was there I never heard any Iranians referring to their language as Persian. My OED describes Farsi as 'The modern Persian language, the official language of Iran'.

apr 23, 2012, 8:48pm

I get you Roland-- but it's a futile battle. "Farsi" feels better than "Persian" with its connotations of the ancient and forgotten. And it's the feeling that counts, right? If the media insisted on referring to German as "Deutsch", it would quickly become common.

I admit I sometimes use the apostrophe for a decade (and sometimes not), but its misuse is probably the single most annoying and easily remedied mistake of all!

Redigeret: apr 23, 2012, 10:24pm

Good point on " ʻFarsi v. ʻPersianʻ " , UnrulySun. Iʻm not really battling for "Persian". As i understaand it, the
objection to "Persian" is that it "colonialist" --harking back to a period when Iran, though never a colony, was
under heavy British and other Western (later U. S.) influence in its foreign policy. Iraq, formulated as a nation state only in the 1930s, was in the same situation. Strangely, I read that Al Qaedaʻs movement
(of Iraqis and foreigners v s. the U S. has the English name
"Iraq in Mesopotamia"(!) "Mesopotamia" (Greek for ʻBetween Rivers") is the equivalent of "Persia", being of the para-colonial era, changed to "Iraq" when the country became a nation state. I donʻt see why they would revive this name, unless their usage stems from some
reluctance to recognize the present Shiʻa gov ernment of
Iraq. (It had always been a predominantly Sunni (though secular) government up through the time of Saddam Hussein.
"Persian" iin English, and similar adjectives in other Western languages, curiously, originated as a variant OF "Farsi". Fars was a province in Western Iran, the
part best known to the Greeks, so the national name
in Greek (and Latin) became ʻPersai", with a small change of vowel. And with P in lieu of F, which is a common variation in Indo-European languages. Where one language has F, another is likely to have P, and vice-versa. Thus "hilFe"
in German and "helP" in Dutch and English.

apr 23, 2012, 9:50pm

#137: I don't know how you define correct here. Persian is more traditional, but Iranians generally like Farsi for the same reason that Persia become Iran in the 1930s (and #138 mentions): it's more modern-sounding. I don't know; I get tired of English being a global political battleground, with everyone demanding the right to control names of their country and language in it. It's Turin, damn it!* I sometimes roll my eyes when the English name of places get changed as part of a political game. (I have more respect for cases like Rhodesia, because there's a legitimate desire to not be associated with Cecil Rhodes.) On the other hand, I get tired of Greece and Macedonia (FYROM, if you insist) squabbling over the figurative bones of Alexander the Great, so at least the renamers are looking forward. (And really, I understand there are territorial claims, but the borders aren't going to move in the era of the EU, particularly not by war, and Italy has no problem with Christopher Columbus being an Italian-American.)

* Turin, Italy was the home of the Summer Olympics, but it was advertised as being in Torino (which is the local name in Italian). Part of that was the decision of English speakers at American networks, though, IIRC. (I'll note that this is stepping in the middle of a local cultural war, too; in the traditional local tongue, Piedmontese, it's Turin.)

apr 23, 2012, 10:15pm

134, you mentioned my most severe peeve. It's just infuriating, to put it mildly.

apr 23, 2012, 11:07pm


I agree. How dare foreigners decide for themselves what name their country should be known as. We, of course, stick to Ceylon and Siam. What a nerve those countries have to decide on Sri Lanka and Thailand.

apr 24, 2012, 12:12am

I pronounce M.y.a.n.m.a.r. 'Burma.'

134 and 136, those apostrophes are not grocer's apostrophes. Plurals of numbers and abbreviations take an apostrophe before the s presumably to distinguish that s from a part of the singular expression. This comes directly from a grade school text book and teacher; I associate it with the room in which I attended part of fourth and all of sixth grade.

Eliminating this apostrophe and the serial comma seems to arise from secretarial laziness and be propagated first in their manuals.


apr 24, 2012, 12:25am

Mr.Durick, please may we have an example of apostrophes with plural numbers and abbreviations. I can't quite follow your argument and need to see it written down.

Sorry about that - maybe it is a seniors' moment.

apr 24, 2012, 12:37am

See 134. So, "My Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy set comprises three DVD's." And, "I came of age in the '60's." That's official from the school system of Springfield, Massachusetts, in the '50's although neither example had occurred yet.


apr 24, 2012, 1:06am

LOL - not the way we do it in Oz. DVDs doesn't need an apostrophe. That turns it into a possessive noun and one has to ask what do the three DVDs own? Three DVDs' jewel cases? One DVD's jewel case?

I'll have to dig out Eats, Shoots and Leaves to get Lynne Truss' spin on apostrophes.

I realise that things are done differently in USA but it would be interesting to get some other people's opinion on this subject.

Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 1:27am

You may be right about the DVDs although I'd argue against it. Lynne Truss says that "how many f's are there in Fulham?" is correct. She also says that an apostrophe is used for the plural of words as in "What are the do's and dont's'?"

But basically an apostrophe indicates a dropped letter as in "Henry VIII's wives" is a contraction of "Henry VIII his wives", hence its use as an indication of possession. Except in the case of the possessive its since it's is a contraction of it is.

Interesting stuff ...

apr 24, 2012, 1:30am

Surely the Iranians are correct when they refer to their own language as Farsi.

No more correct than Germans referring to their language as Deutsch. If they're speaking German, they're no doubt right; if they're speaking English, they're just wrong.

Certainly, when I was there I never heard any Iranians referring to their language as Persian. My OED describes Farsi as 'The modern Persian language, the official language of Iran'.

If you google "Persian not Farsi", you'll find many Iranians begging you not to call their language "Farsi".

apr 24, 2012, 1:37am

#142: How dare foreigners decide for themselves what name their country should be known as.

And yet if we dictated to them what our country or language should be known as in their languages, we'd be accused of imperialism. Calling our language αγγλικός? How dare they? We would much prefer they call it εγγλις and will have our academies and such declare that to be the official word for English in Greek; who cares what actual Greek speakers use?

#143: Eliminating this apostrophe and the serial comma seems to arise from secretarial laziness and be propagated first in their manuals.

I'd be interested in some evidence. I don't know about that apostrophe, but I would wager money that there never has been any consistency on the serial comma.

#146: Personally, as an example of an American, I would not used the apostrophe after abbreviations and have probably been inconsistent about the use of 's after a decade. I don't really understand the reasoning espoused in 143; in STAVKAs, there's no question in my mind that the s is a plural, even if you're not hip to Soviet acronyms.

Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 1:46am

Yeahhh...but then google "Farsi not Persian" and you get a good many results (admittedly, not as many as the reverse). I'm a diplomat's daughter and grew up in Afghanistan and Iran - and the language I was taught then, in both countries, was Farsi. Afghan Farsi differs in many ways from Iranian Farsi - the Afghan dialect is more old-fashioned, and is sometimes called Dari to distinguish it from Iranian Farsi - but officially, among both English- and Farsi-speakers, it was Farsi. Calling it Persian was regarded as about as accurate as calling Iran Persia - it shares more or less the same territory as the ancient country, but not much else.

And at this point, Farsi has become not-a-word to my eyes... ghahh.

149 et al.> Actually, the problem arises, to my eyes, with things that _could_ be mistaken for words. Of course, I can't come up with any at the moment... but that's why I'm personally inconsistent about 's. 90% of the time, I skip the apostrophe on things like DVDs, but every once in a while I run across something where I write it with just an s and it looks _wrong_. So then I stick in the apostrophe - it still looks wrong, but at least I (and, I hope, my audience) can tell that I meant it as a plural on the word. Hmmm, acronyms that end in S, maybe? BTW, American, but (see above "diplomat's daughter"), taught when young by more British teachers than American.

apr 24, 2012, 2:09am

Lynn Truss's take on the serial comma was wrong. It has not always been known as the Oxford comma; it was once known as the proper way to do it. There was no option and there was good reason for it (for example clarifying compound serial items. I remember being marked wrong when I turned in an example of, "My sister's cat likes ...., and macaroni and cheese," where macaroni and cheese was a single dish. I was not wrong; the teacher was wrong). So, though I found her book interesting, I don't hold her as an authority.


apr 24, 2012, 2:53am

Ah - and, but and because are supposed to replace a comma but sometimes they need one. I suspect that is what your teacher was on about. I put in commas where is makes for easy understanding and particularly something which might be read aloud as it makes it easier for the reader to get the phrasing right.

apr 24, 2012, 3:51am

Nope, she saw two instances of 'and' toward the back end of the series and no comma before the final 'and;' she was a grade school teacher, so interpretation and paying attention were above her pay grade. I got the lesson, however, from the textbook and knew what it said. And or in some cases preceded the final element of the series but did not replace the comma.


Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 4:51am

"Persian" iin English, and similar adjectives in other Western languages, curiously, originated as a variant OF "Farsi". Fars was a province in Western Iran, the
part best known to the Greeks, so the national name
in Greek (and Latin) became ʻPersai", with a small change of vowel. And with P in lieu of F, which is a common variation in Indo-European languages. Where one language has F, another is likely to have P, and vice-versa. Thus "hilFe"
in German and "helP" in Dutch and English.

We-ell. Both Fars and Persia come from Old Persian Parsa - the Greeks didn't substitute P for F, the Iranians eventually changed the other way. And the name of the part didn't become the name for the whole because it was the bit best known to Greeks (that would have been Susiana) but because the Achaemenid dynasty came from there.

Oh, and of course, Fars still is a province in western Iran. (Looks sort of central on a modern map but that's because much of the eastern bits of historical Iran is in the modern states of Afghanistan and Pakistan.)

Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 5:57am

1. Apostrophes are an indication that something (a vowel usually) is missing ("it's" for "it is", as we all know). So CD's, 60's are strictly incorrect usages, as nothing is missing. (Yes, I know that when "sixties" becomes "60s" the "y" of sixty is transmuted to "ie", but the principle remains true.)
The same is true of the possessive apostrophe. In Old English the possessive or genitive case ending was often -es, where the vowel was pronounced. The possessive apostrophe is simply an indication that the "e" has been omitted, principally because we don't pronounce the vowel in Modern English.
(By the way, I don't believe that "apostrophe s" is a shortening of "his" (as in "Billy Bones his locker" in Treasure Island) because this doesn't work if the owner is female. I suspect it's a folk explanation or, more likely, antiquarian speculation surviving as folk etymology.)

2. I wonder if the modern naming of Iran is an attempt to claim hegemony over the region. Iranian is an ethno-linguistic term, an umbrella word for different groups of historical peoples (Persians, Medes, Sarmations, Parthians, Scythians etc) and cognate with the (originally apolitical) word "Aryan". Persia, with its fluctuating borders over time, must have originally been dominated by the original ethnic group we call Persians.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Parsi religion in the context of the Farsi/Persian discussion. (There, I've mentioned it now.) This is the name given in India in historical times to the religion of Zoroastrians who had migrated to India, and thence elsewhere. Probably the most famous Parsi is Freddie Mercury, born in Zanzibar and raised in India before moving to Britain.

apr 24, 2012, 5:56am

#151: it was once known as the proper way to do it. There was no option

Do you have a citation? I'm skeptical that in the wild and wooly, unregulated history of English that this was once universally mandated but now is not.

there was good reason for it (for example clarifying compound serial items.

Wikipedia points out that both

They went to Oregon with Betty, a maid, and a cook.
They went to Oregon with Betty, a maid and a cook.

are ambiguous. With the serial comma, it could be three people, or the maid Betty and a cook. Without the serial comma could have three people, or Betty who's both a maid and a cook.

apr 24, 2012, 6:30am

Mr. Durick: 134 and 136, those apostrophes are not grocer's apostrophes. Plurals of numbers and abbreviations take an apostrophe before the s presumably to distinguish that s from a part of the singular expression

Not true. The Oxford dictionary suggests The general rule is that you should not use an apostrophe to form the plurals of nouns, abbreviations, or dates made up of numbers

See link:

Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 6:44am

jjmacgaffey Actually, the problem arises, to my eyes, with things that _could_ be mistaken for words. (...) 90% of the time, I skip the apostrophe on things like DVDs, but every once in a while I run across something where I write it with just an s and it looks _wrong_.

I think that's correct. For example, you should never use an apostrophe in the plural of numbers unless there's a chance of misunderstanding. E.g. "There were a lot of 0's scribbled in his notebook" - you use an apostrophe because otherwise it might look like the capital letter "O" - so there could be some confusion as to whether he's scribbling Os (letter O) or zeros in the notebook.

I think that's the only exception to the rule, though.

apr 24, 2012, 6:49am

>157 girlunderglass:
Yes, I agree. As an extreme example I can't help thinking that 1960's' or 1960's's albums, in the sense of "albums issued in the nineteen-sixties", looks anything but unwieldy and somehow wrong.
If there was a hierarchy I would imagine it could look something like this:
1960 (sing), the year
1960s (pl), the decade
1960's (sing possessive), as in "1960's outstanding album"
1960s' (pl possessive), as in "the 1960s' outstanding album was Let It Bleed" (no, this is an example, not a statement of fact).

Of course, you could circumvent all this palaver by either spelling it out ("sixty / sixties / sixty's / sixties'") or using the date as an adjective.

Redigeret: apr 24, 2012, 7:00am

>158 girlunderglass:
In your example, I would spell it out as 'zero' or 'nought' to avoid any real confusion ("there were a lot of noughts scribbled in his notebook"). I disagree, I wouldn't think that was an exception to the rule.
In the case of writing figures of small denomination in text (as opposed to in maths) I always spell it out, leaving larger numbers in figures ("At sixes and sevens", "there were about 25 or 30 warships on the horizon").

apr 24, 2012, 7:21am

When I did a typing course we were told that the numbers one to ten were typed as words and anything larger used numbers. I have always stuck by this rule since then. I would use zero to avoid confusion with the letter 'o'.

apr 24, 2012, 8:49am

On "convinced vs. persuaded", I think anyone might be persuaded they are different if they compare those two Jane Austen classics, Persuasion and Conviction.

apr 24, 2012, 10:29am

When I worked in KPMG the house style was "spell any number up to seventeen and use numerals for anything above that".

I side with the 's only for possession, never for plural.

I'm conviced of these matters and will never be pesuaded otherwise.

apr 24, 2012, 11:01am

Re: Country names

I suspect the 'Myanmar' nonsense passed most people by - and I've seen indications that Burma is now back to calling their enlightened domain just that. Who (apart from regretful British Imperialists) kept track of all the new African country names? For instance, 'What was the original name given to Namibia?', and (What is Southern Rhodesia called now? would get blank stares in any popular TV quiz!

And how many UK citizens call Wales 'Cymru', even when it's part of the Union.

I suspect we're just going to have to live with the language chaos!

apr 24, 2012, 11:27am

#164 CliffordDorset

How do people in Britain refer to the Republic of Ireland these days? There used to be quite a few who would call it Eire. I presume this has died out in recent years.

BTW does "Dorset" in your username relate to your abode? I visited Dorset on a Geological field trip in 1976. It's a beautiful place. We even found a dead body.

apr 30, 2012, 12:03am

NZers seem to say this a lot "dub dub dub" instead of "www" for a website address. It annoys me so much!

apr 30, 2012, 2:31am

i used to hear "dub dub dub" here in Aus, but not anymore. Now i hear "voo voo voo" on the radio, which makes me cringe.
"dub" seems like a natural shortening though. a VW car is a "vee-dub", or just a "dub".

maj 1, 2012, 4:38pm

>165 pgmcc:

I live on the Costa del Dorset, yes - although I hope to be taking a break during the period of what Will Self calls 'The East London Festival of Running and Jumping'. If he gets locked up for the non-PC crime of hating sport and other drug-taking pursuits, then I hope to be locked up with him ...

With regard to the body you found, I hope you left it where it is. A few of us are trying to stimulate the thriller genre in this area.

Redigeret: maj 1, 2012, 4:45pm

Good luck Cliff!
For the rest of us who live this side of "the Pond" here is a link:

maj 1, 2012, 5:28pm

Surely we need to think of London now as a surface-to-air-missile base? I only ask.

maj 2, 2012, 3:39pm


Enjoy the games. It will be an exciting time to be in London.

We had to tell the police about the body. It was still warm. The unfortunate lady had fallen from the top of a 150' cliff. Sad case.

I hope you don't get locked up, and remember to keep your head down lest it be hit by one of those ground to air missiles.

When I first read about the installation of these weapons I wondered about the thought given to the debris falling on the city.

Have fun. (A flackjacket and helmet might prove useful.)

maj 10, 2012, 11:47am

>172 pgmcc:

Please forgive me if I intrude with a bit of pedantry. The word is 'flak', not 'flack'. It is a German acronym for 'fliegerabwehrkanone' which translates as ‘pilot-defence-gun’. No doubt Roberta Flack is suitably thrilled at the increasing usage of her name in this context, but some of us are trying to 'shoot down' this mistaken usage.

Given the flight exclusion zones that will be in operation, anything falling on London (100 miles from me in Weymouth) will most likely be a misthrown javelin!

maj 10, 2012, 6:51pm

So a flackjacket is what someone wears who's trying to dodge paparazzi? Maybe it's made of that stuff that bends light and makes you (more or less) invisible...

jun 25, 2012, 9:03am

Before we get really immersed in the Olympics (trade mark protected, don't you know, as is 2012, apparently), I'd like to register a recent peeve.

I'm getting fed up with reading "meh" in book reviews on LibraryThing and elsewhere. It adequately conveys what the reviewer feels about a book, but as an intelligent critique or justification of opinion held it leaves a lot to be desired. It's just lazy. As with the description "boring", all it does is reflect on the writer, not the book. The Simpsons have a lot to answer for.

jun 26, 2012, 11:33am

I don't mind "meh" or "boring" if the person explains why, but if there is no reason given, those words are as helpful as "the best book I've ever read," which I think some reviewers tend to put on half the review they write. Maybe "the best book I've read this week" or "the best book I've read today" would be more appropriate.

jun 26, 2012, 12:15pm

Perhaps those readers are really fortunate and that each subsequent book they read surpasses the previous ones and captures the position of "Best book I've ever read" until each book in turn is deprived of the title by another amazingly good book.

If I were one of those reviewers I would worry about being trapped in an upward spiral of book quality and that as time progresses I would be afraid that I will end up reading increasingly amazing books and at some point I will not be able to cope and my mind will explode with the amazingness of the book I'm reading.

What a way to go!


jun 26, 2012, 12:16pm

> 176
I don't think it matters when they read the best/worst book ever, or within what timeframe, what's important is, as you say, that they explain why they think that.

That is, of course, if they want to communicate or have a conversation with the person reading the review. If someone just writes "Meh" for Great Expectations, say, then that tells me nothing about the book, just that the 'reviewer' can't string a sentence together, let alone give Dickens the great communicator due consideration.

Mind you, it's only slightly less grating as an absolute judgement than "Awesome!"

jun 26, 2012, 12:35pm

With a pang of guilt I scuttled off the check my reviews where I had used Meh - a word I never heard until I joined LT and found Tim using it.
With some relief I find I have only used it as a tag and any book so tagged carries a review that explains how it was earned.

jun 26, 2012, 12:59pm

178> You forget that some people may be writing reviews for themselves, to remember how they felt about a book sometime in the far future, and don't really care if you like their review or not.

jun 26, 2012, 5:10pm

>180 jjwilson61:
That's true, I did forget. And if they don't care, well I don't suppose I should either.

jun 26, 2012, 5:14pm

I use meh (and similar - eh, bleah) in quite a few of my reviews - but they're always _in_ a review, and then at least a few details as to why.

jun 26, 2012, 8:43pm

I find myself disbelieving the tag on so many books I buy; The Number One Best Seller.

They can't all be ... can they?

jun 27, 2012, 1:41am

Since it changes weekly, if not daily - yeah, there can be a lot of Number Ones. Not to mention the different lists - NYT fiction/non-fiction, paperback/hardback, then the Amazon lists by genre and overall...and lots more, those are just the ones that have impinged on me while I tried to ignore the whole thing. Best-selling and best are _not_ synonymous...

Redigeret: jun 29, 2012, 3:15pm

It may follow the same rationale as the ability to say,
e.g., that your product costs
"$ 2 0!! (and up)"* when the normal price is $60 or $70 -- if in the past year you did sell ONE (probably a defective
one) for $20. In many jurisdictions this makes you
immune to "False advertising" charges.

*with the "and up" in very small print.)

jul 23, 2012, 3:54pm

Not exactly a peeve, just something that jumps up and pokes me now and again - the verbification of nouns, specifically in computer stuff. I was just posting about "favoriting" a message - same as "friending" someone. And Googling something, though that one no longer strikes me as strange (whether capitalized or not).

jul 23, 2012, 5:51pm

#186 I share your pain.

One that always makes me stumble is, "texting".

I suppose I'm just getting old. I'm ageifying.

jul 23, 2012, 6:32pm

Those don't bother me at all, in the context of computer stuff.

What does get me is the shortening of words, like "tots adorbs" (totally adorable), and "faboo". I will use them sarcastically in a playful conversation with a friend, but I hear them in everyday speech among grown people (strangers even!) and I cringe.

jul 23, 2012, 6:34pm

I suppose I'm just getting old. I'm ageifying.
'Ageing' would do; I think the noun came first. I suspect a large number of verbs in English began as nouns, so I have no problem with the examples in #186. I do, however, object to nouns derived from verbs becoming verbs again, only longer.

jul 23, 2012, 7:15pm

We have to be able to friend people so that we can unfriend them.

jul 23, 2012, 11:16pm

I have just finished reading Glimpses of the Moon by Edmund Crispin and for all that there is very little plot he seems to have set out to either fill the pages with obscure words or mangle them into new words altogether.

I enjoyed the book enormously but intend to re-read it with a dictionary to find out which are real words and which ones he has adjusted simply for the fun of it.

jul 24, 2012, 4:06am



I forgot to include the sarcasticon after my ageifying..

jul 24, 2012, 4:37am

One I see alot that bugs me is unchartered when it should be uncharted, e.g. "unchartered waters".

jul 24, 2012, 4:43am

#193 I would say they are using the wrong word. Unchartered would relate to a flight that was not chartered, i.e. not rented.

jul 24, 2012, 5:06am

I think I face the same prob some times hehe!

jul 24, 2012, 5:54am

>186 jjmcgaffey:: "verbification" - some would say there ain't no noun that can't be verbed.

jul 24, 2012, 10:52am

>193 sugarmonkey:
One I see alot that bugs me...

'Alot' as one word bugs very very much; yes, I know it's been around for a long time, and I regularly use such compacted words as 'already' and 'moreorless' and 'notwithstanding' so why am I fussing, but 'alot' just feels wrong to me. A deputy head of my acquaintance used it a lot in pupil reports, and my teeth have suffered a lot of attrition as a result.

jul 24, 2012, 12:09pm

196: I believe you meant "verbified". ;)

"Alot" bugs me too! I've never seen "moreorless" as one word like that, though. I can't even stand to look at it-- my eyes!

jul 24, 2012, 2:02pm

Granted, moreorless is not common (a quick google came up with precious little) and Word spellcheck doesn't recognise it, but it's not my imagination that it's a usage that's turned up before. Perhaps on the analogy of 'moreover' and 'moreish' (both of which are in my dictionary).

But, since online dictionaries claim not to recognise it and it's not in a couple of reference books I've checked up on, I shall cease to use it henceforth!

jul 24, 2012, 2:19pm

Good man!

aug 8, 2012, 6:49pm

> 175 The Simpsons have a lot to answer for.

I thought "meh" was a Yiddish interjection — in use long before Bart Simpson was a doodle on Matt Groening's scratch paper. But the Wikipedia article (of course there's a Wikipedia article) introduces doubts.

aug 9, 2012, 4:14am


the Wikipedia article (of course there's a Wikipedia article) introduces doubts

All Wikipedia articles introduce doubt.

aug 9, 2012, 6:00am

>202 pgmcc:
Including the one on Certainty

aug 9, 2012, 6:16am

Can we be sure of that?

aug 9, 2012, 7:04am

>204 pgmcc:
We have to accept that there are several possibilities

aug 9, 2012, 7:11am

#205 but many of them may not be probable.

aug 9, 2012, 7:29am

aug 9, 2012, 10:24am

Fortunately, some problems resolve themselves: Doubt (disambiguation).

aug 9, 2012, 2:30pm

Perhaps within a margin of error
Denne tråd er fortsat i Pet peeve phrases IV.