Pet peeve phrases

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Pet peeve phrases

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aug 14, 2008, 9:23am

I know that each generation has its own idiomatic phrases; however, my current least favorites are "My bad" and the omnipresent "No problem" in response to the simple "Thank you." This is particularly aggravating when I am the customer and the person saying "No problem" is the sales clerk. And, no, I am not 117 years old.

aug 14, 2008, 11:07am

It's just possible that “my bad” was introduced by Manute Bol:

aug 14, 2008, 11:15am

>2 MMcM:
That's incredible.

Can you bring me the head of whoever came up with "nuff said?"

aug 14, 2008, 11:47am

>2 MMcM:
Thanks for this link. It's your good.

aug 14, 2008, 12:00pm

'Nother thing makes me squiggle eyed. I just about hurled typing it.

aug 14, 2008, 12:54pm

Just as bad as someone saying "No Problem" when you say "Thank you" is saying "Thank you" back. I'm firmly in the "You're welcome" camp.

aug 14, 2008, 5:04pm

Do other cultures have "No worries" (as well as "No problem")? Or is just an Australian thing? Either makes me want to give the speaker a good shake.... a *really good* shake.

aug 14, 2008, 7:28pm

The authority in the reference at message 2 use 'quote' as a noun.


aug 14, 2008, 9:35pm

>8 Mr.Durick: rdurick... I'm intrigued: Could you expand on your post? Is it that 'quote' is an abbreviation of 'quotation' that's the interest here?

aug 14, 2008, 10:12pm

I'm pretty certain that I recall "My bad!" from intramural basketball in the '70s: it is, after all, much shorter/ faster to say / requires much less breath than most of the synonymous constructions.

("Sorry, chaps, that was indubitably my fault!")

It's hard to imagine how the thought could be expressed any more succinctly. (I have heard it abbreviated as "Me!")

aug 14, 2008, 11:36pm

9> Thrin, if a solecism is ubiquitous, is it still a solecism?

To many of us, to all of us before the 19th century or so, 'quote' is a verb. Noun usages that come to mind are 'quotation' and 'quotation mark.' I think the shorter word is easier to say than the longer word and may sound more lively to certain ears, so the uncareful use it wherever something having to do with quotation regardless of part of speech is to be uttered. That saves them the thinking, too.

I hear 'quote' as a noun often and haven't heard 'quotation' in a long time. I see 'quotation' from time to time but not enough to have a feel for what people are doing with it nowadays. I suspect we who are against it are in the rearguard fighting a defensive action as the language retreats.

Did you ever buy a Kindle?


aug 14, 2008, 11:37pm

I don't mind "No prob" half so much as long as they don't say "No prob, Bob!" That really drives me up the wall.

I often say "No problem" as a response to "I'm sorry," but rarely to "Thank you." Is that a pet peeve too, or is it the response to the thanks that's the problem?

My usual response to "Thank you" is "Anytime!" It's polite enough while still having a) less of the formality of "You're welcome" and b) a taste of the ludicrous.

aug 15, 2008, 12:50am

My peeve is with "no problem" in response to my "thank you" when I am the purchaser, and the transaction has been completed. I think "no prob" would send me hurling across the counter at anyone who said it. It's so dismissive. I actually HEARD someone say "lol" after his friend said something funny. Apparently it's come to this.

aug 16, 2008, 4:02am

When I hear "talk the talk, walk the walk" etc. I want to climb the wall. For me it has replaced "strut your stuff" in its encapsulation of dumb attitude.

aug 16, 2008, 2:03pm

I am not originally but the south, but learned recently that the plural of "y'all" is "all y'all." Not a peeve, but definitely worth a thought.

aug 16, 2008, 2:36pm

>15 pdebolt:, "All y'all" isn't a plural of "y'all", though -- it's used in a few very specific cases to clarify or emphasize the extent of the "y'all".

1) I want to emphasize that the group I'm talking to knows that they're all included in something, not just the person I'm most directly talking to.

2) I want to make it clear that an invitation includes not only the person I'm talking to and his/her partner (who would be automatically included in "y'all"), but a larger circle -- in other words, "and please feel free to bring your visiting in-laws along as well".

aug 16, 2008, 2:37pm

Claims of a singular y'all are contentious. The alternate explanation is that it's always plural and "all y'all" serves the same purpose as "all of you," that is, it indicates some larger (possibly partially absent) set of people.

Language Log from 05.
Language Hat from this year (in comments).

Redigeret: aug 16, 2008, 3:32pm

Y'all is most definitely not singular. It is the only thing approaching a second person plural that English has, and it still not appropriate for formal use (much as I love it).

Y'all would be used when speaking to two or three people simultaneously, and then you would expand it to all y'all when wanting to include more people, who may or may not be present.

Ex: new neighbors
Me speaking to husband and wife: I see y'all just moved in. Is it just the two of you?
new couple: No, we've got two boys and a girl around here somewhere.
Me: Well then all y'all should come over for a barbeque on Saturday.

OK, new topic. If I hear one more supposedly educated person tell me they graduated college (as opposed to graduating from college), I shall run amok with a sharp object.

Edit: I see we don't use the CITE tag here. Edited to change to EM.

Redigeret: aug 16, 2008, 3:58pm

Thanks for defining "all y'all," which always sounds redundant to me. Another GIANT pet peeve of mine is using the infinitive after the word have. Have him to call me rather than have him call me. I totally agree with graduated from rather than graduated. Well, while we're on the subject of redundancy, I hate to hear "more fairer" or "most funnest." Let's let the comparative and superlatives stand alone. Another thing that sets my teeth on edge, which I hear more frequently than I can stand, is the intermingling of nominative and objective pronouns: Him and I are going to lunch, or Are you going to lunch with him and I.

aug 16, 2008, 8:46pm

I love the "all y'all"... very exotic to a non-USAn.

>19 pdebolt: rdurick: I think if a solecism becomes ubiquitous it is, indeed, no longer a solecism. I'm thinking of "auspices" as in "under the auspices of...". I don't know if it has happened thus in the USA, but here in Australia we now have the verb "to auspice" as in "the group is auspiced by the local council (or whatever)". It still makes me shudder, but over time I can see it will be a universally (or perhaps just nationally) accepted usage. The English language marches on - ever adaptable.

And, no Robert, I'm not going to purchase a Kindle. Have decided it is something I can do without. By the way, do you know where the name "Kindle" came from. Sounds northern European.

Oh, and we have "No worries" here as well as "No problem". Grrrr...

aug 16, 2008, 9:58pm

Google News Timeline seems to confirm that "auspiced by" is mostly Australian bureaucratese.

kindle = 'start a fire'. (A professional naming company may have been involved; it's very hard to tell unless marketing budgets are public, which they rarely are.) That does come into English from Old Norse, as you thought, but long ago.

aug 16, 2008, 11:31pm

I definitely knew a girl from Tennessee who used "Y'alls." I think she even used "Alls y'alls." Now, being a Yank, I can't say if it's correct or not, but I think it's neat.

aug 17, 2008, 12:10am

>21 MMcM: MMcM: Thanks for the "auspiced by" confirmation. Kindle (as in "start a fire") I know. Its use as a noun I had never heard. "Kindling" - yes. Verbs to nouns, nouns to verbs.... where will it all end I ask myself.

>22 ambushedbyasnail: ambushed: I find "Alls y'alls" difficult to believe! Are you sure about this?

I heard an Olympic Games media person say that an athlete had been "medalled" recently. Or would that be "medaled"?

aug 17, 2008, 12:42am

Maybe it is getting a shiner?

Redigeret: aug 17, 2008, 12:26pm

#23 Thrin re "medalled"/"medaled": a pet peeve of mine is turning nouns into verbs. My dictionary says "medal" is now informally a verb. The one that drives me crazy is "body," used to describe plays in contact sports like hockey: "He really bodied him!"

aug 17, 2008, 12:36pm

We are being verbed to death. Oh, my!

aug 19, 2008, 12:25am

I don't have a problem with nouns becoming verbs and vice versa. This is a feature of English that is at least as old as Shakespeare and just part of the wonderful flexibility of English grammar. In fact there is some evidence to show that this kind of flexibility causes increased brain function. See this link here.

The following are what drive me nutty:

1. this period in time....
2. ...going forward.
3. like...

This last particularly drives me crazy. as does the constant use of an interrogative intonation for statements: "Like I was driving down the road? and I like saw like my friend? And she like waved at me? and I like hit like a tree, like?"


aug 19, 2008, 2:38pm

Okay, another peeve is people talking about past events in the present tense. Instead of "I saw her going to the store and I said hello, " it's "I see her going to the store and I say 'hello.'" I also have an aversion to the use of "like," which seems to be an all-too common speech pattern.

aug 19, 2008, 2:47pm

Things that bother me:

low-hanging fruit
no-brainer (which, to my shame, I used in a post here just the other day)
off of

Redigeret: aug 19, 2008, 2:58pm

How about sentences that end in prepositions, which are too numerous to recount heard daily: What were you thinking of, Where are you going to, and the ever-popular Where's it at.

aug 19, 2008, 2:58pm

There's no good reason not to end a sentence with a preposition, other than some grumpy, old men long ago decided it was 'wrong' to do so.

aug 19, 2008, 3:17pm

My biggest pet peeve is "I could care less" -- since it should be "I couldn't care less."

By the way, here in Texas, it's "all y'alls", not "alls y'alls". That's annoying too.

aug 19, 2008, 3:23pm

Although it's quite fun to use the "proper" form (to whom are you speaking?) and see the astonished expressions. Most people have never heard it phased that way. Out loud, at any rate.

I have to admit, I find "low-hanging fruit" a wonderfully expressive phrase. And "no-brainer", although less so.

I, too, hate "like" as a random interjection, and as a substitute for "said", yet I do it myself constantly. I blame attending high school in the 80s, when Valley speak was all the rage.

Redigeret: aug 19, 2008, 3:31pm

I picked up the "no problem" reaction to "thank you" after a trip to Jamaica. It sounded so carefree, and it seemed to salve my anxiety. New Yorkers didn't take kindly to the expression, so I gave it up.

It irked me when my Brooklyn relatives would say "... and I says...". It sounded sloppy.

aug 19, 2008, 3:37pm

"At the end of the day..." I think I just broke out in hives.

aug 19, 2008, 3:45pm


Lots of languages have a historical present, used particularly when people speak in more of a narrative context. I remember both Ancient Greek and Latin having this.

aug 19, 2008, 4:47pm

Have to agree with tomcatMurr (#27) on point 3...

The constant use of the word "like" drives me absolutely insane. Whenever possible, I try to mock the person using it that way.

Doesn't seem to work, though, and they end up thinking I'm a jerk.

Redigeret: aug 19, 2008, 5:35pm

I say "like" way too often, but I'm too busy trying to keep "fuck" out of every sentence to bother attempting to rein in the "like"s.

So just keep in mind, when you're in agony over the abundance of "like"s, that I may be sparing you from far worse. I use them in about the same context, too.

aug 19, 2008, 9:40pm

#37 A good trick I use is to count the number of times your conversation partner uses it, then politely inform them. "In the last three minutes you have said like 273 times. Like what, may I ask?"

#38 At least 'fuck' adds spice to the discourse. What does 'like' add?

#28 There is nothing wrong with this, it's an acceptable narrative tense, used by many writers, and not only modern experimental ones. Check out the first chapter of Bleak House, for example.

#30 Sounds like you are a prescriptivist of the old school: thou shalt not! #31 Here's what the grumpy old man himself said about prepositions:

"A preposition is something one should never end a sentence with."
George Bernard Shaw

aug 19, 2008, 11:34pm

On terminal prepositionalism: I had a teacher once use "whereby which" frequently in order to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. It doesn't bother me too much except for ending with 'at', which is usually not necessary: "Where are you at?" could easily be "Where are you?" "So that's where my keys are at," etc.

'Like' drives me crazy, and yes, I am, like, pretty guilty of it myself. Also its cousins 'all' and 'goes':
"So my mom goes, 'do your homework,' and I'm all, 'I'm done already' and she's all, 'okay'."

Redigeret: aug 20, 2008, 9:40am

My "hot button" word is irregardless - no such word, but used all too frequently. #31 - a preposition, as a part of speech, requires a noun - and, last time I looked, I'm not a "grumpy old man."

Redigeret: aug 20, 2008, 9:42am

>41 pdebolt:
Last time I looked, I didn't say you were.

Redigeret: aug 20, 2008, 9:49am

I'm a grumpy old man! Like, yeah! Oh no, that's right, I'm a blonde chick.

You know what I can't stand? "Can I come with?" Is is too much to say "you"?

aug 20, 2008, 10:54am

# 41 That is not accurate. Prepositions more frequently occur with nouns, but they can also appear intransitively, with verbs (get out!) the key being 'more frequently appear with' rather than 'require'. Who says they 'require' anything?

I am reminded of Stevie Smith:

'This night will thy soul be required of thee.'
My soul is never required of me
It always has to be somebody else of course
Will my soul be required of me perhaps?

aug 20, 2008, 3:23pm

"AWESOME" sucks! Perhaps Seth Lerer, a linguistics professor, at Stanford, in the Teaching Company lecture series, The History of the English Language, comes closest to how I look on this word: "When the Messiah appears, that, to me would be awesome and I might feel a need to use that description."

aug 20, 2008, 3:27pm

Prescriptivism makes baby pandas sad.

aug 20, 2008, 3:32pm

#45 My wonderful sister overuses awesome. I agree with your and Lerer's take on the word. I use awesome about twice a year, and even then it's deliberate and almost said mockingly.

It seems to be fading somewhat, but the phrase "think outside the box" makes me twitch.

aug 20, 2008, 11:54pm

I find "Go me!" a bit annoying....

(but I've probably said it at least once)

aug 22, 2008, 5:53pm

I agree with the sentiment of #46.

I'm not so much annoyed by "mistakes" people make as I am interested in their patterns of occurrence and how they might be described linguistically.

aug 22, 2008, 8:06pm

oh yes absolutely, me too. But I thought this thread was about over-used phrases which annoyed people, not about the grammar 'mistakes' which people make. then the prescriptivists moved in. Prescriptivists actually have no real understanding of language, what it is and how it is created. They are only interested in authority.

Hence the sad pandas.

aug 22, 2008, 8:32pm

Hi, I'm new. I'm a trained descriptivist linguist who has sold out to make a living wage as a prescriptionist editor...but enough about me. My pet peeve is "in this space," meaning not 3D space but rather conceptual space, overused by my colleagues from the field of education. Example: "I really like what's happening in the Web 2.0 space as far as student engagement." Oh yeah, at least in my milieu, "engagement" is overused enough to make me grimace. Then there's "grow" used for things besides plants, e.g., "grow this business." Can you tell I've been saving these up?

aug 22, 2008, 10:47pm

Can I just ask, what is a pet peeve and if it peeves on your carpet can you have it put down?

aug 23, 2008, 2:40am

Yes, you can either have it put down or you can do it yourself: They have these special tacks and all you really need then is a hammer and perhaps some underfelt.

As to one's pet peeve - it is useful to have one to kick around the room from time to time... and much more humane than kicking a grumpy old tomcat.

Redigeret: aug 23, 2008, 4:20am

# 51 Oh God(dess), don't even get me started on academese!

...negotiating the boundaries between...

aug 23, 2008, 11:01am

My pet grammatical peeve at the moment is the use of "myself" when a simple "me" would suffice (and similarly for other persons, although 1sg. seems to be most prone to it).

For example, "please complete the form and return it to myself" when there's no particular need for emphasis.

aug 23, 2008, 11:24am

Whenever my soon to be thirteen year old neice speaks I cringe. Example:

"So me n Jessica right, we were like, sooooo not talking to her, right, n like Jessica's brother, right, he was like, so but what's she done to youse twos anyway right, so like Jessica goes to him well, right, youse didn't listen to what she was like saying to us, right, so like, she didn't even like know it was her bad, right, when it so totally was, so why should we like start to talk to her first anyway right"

She makes me want to stick sharp things in my ears.

aug 23, 2008, 11:34am

I only have a couple of language uses which drive me nuts: "John and me went to the store"; "she was yelling at Mary and I". Oh, well, me will not go on as me can't stand even typing these.

aug 23, 2008, 11:54am

In addition to the myself thing which also drives me batty, my latest cringer is adding a y to things that don't need it. As in dependencey, transparentcy, competencey etc. In almost all cases dependence, transparent and competence would do just fine. People trying to show off that they know grammar and getting it wrong is the height of irony.

aug 23, 2008, 6:14pm

>56 QueenOfDenmark: Jodyreads.... That is beautiful! My first good laugh of the day.

aug 23, 2008, 8:50pm

>56 QueenOfDenmark:
Is your niece Vicky Pollard?

aug 23, 2008, 10:22pm

#58 - The only time I've heard "transparency" is as the sheet you put on an overhead projector - and in that case it makes sense. Do people seriously use it otherwise? In what context?

Redigeret: aug 23, 2008, 10:27pm

aug 23, 2008, 10:45pm

>58 Bookmarque: But how would "transparent in government" work? Isn't transparency the noun form of transparent? (I understand your frustration with competency/competence and dependency/dependence). I never hear the word 'transparence' used.

aug 23, 2008, 10:48pm

Oh, those crazy kids of the 1590s*, coming up with all those -ency words just to show off.

* transparency: 1591; dependency: 1594; competency: 1596

aug 23, 2008, 11:39pm

What irks me is when a speaker adds an "-ate" to certain verbs, so that you end up with "conversate" instead of "converse," and "disorientated" instead of "disoriented." Does anyone know the provenance of this?

>6 karenmarie: I used to work in over-the-phone customer service, and callers would always say "thank you" instead of saying "goodbye." I would often respond with "No, thank you" for the simple reason that they were the ones paying me money. If you pay me, I'm thanking you. I'm not saying "you're welcome," as if it was their priviledge to present me with their credit card number.

>51 grammargoddess: As a fellow linguist-who-edits-for-money, I don't see why it would be "selling out." (Anything is better than customer service!) Verbal & written language are entirely different realms, after all. I wouldn't want prescrptive grammar in conversations or text messages, but I don't want people to write in the same tone/manner as their speech, either.

aug 24, 2008, 8:01am

That's not what I meant 64. I KNOW they are legit. Oy vey. However, people use them incorrectly all the time. They don't know that dependence will work fine and throw dependency in when it's not necessary. Get it?

aug 24, 2008, 11:07am

I fear the use of sophomore to mean "second" will always bother me.

aug 24, 2008, 11:15am

#59/60 - she just might be the inspiration behind Vicky Pollard. She can carry on speaking like that for hours without pause for breath or a full stop. It makes no difference if nobody replies either, she prefers that.

The day she came home from a four day long school trip to France and told me all about it I think I lost the will to live.

Redigeret: aug 24, 2008, 11:35am

Sorry, Bookmarque -- my point wasn't that you were implying that this group of words wasn't legit, but rather complaining because they were new creations. Your description of people "adding a y... when (other word) would do just fine" suggests a recent addition to a long-established form to me.

And, since I'm also guilty of language-peevishness, one of mine is the very common trope of complaining that new words are somehow less legitimate (a poor argument to begin with), when the words in question aren't new at all (fact-checkable). But I think I mistook your point, and I'm sorry about that.

aug 24, 2008, 12:51pm

Fair enough, sabreuse. And boy am I ever snippy before coffee. My apologies.

aug 24, 2008, 4:51pm

>65 Euryale: As a fellow linguist-who-edits-for-money, I don't see why it would be "selling out." (Anything is better than customer service!) Verbal & written language are entirely different realms, after all. I wouldn't want prescrptive grammar in conversations or text messages, but I don't want people to write in the same tone/manner as their speech, either.

Thanks for making me feel better! I agree that I'd never consider going around correcting people's speech or even informal written messages.

aug 25, 2008, 2:22am

I hate two phrases that come up frequently in war reporting: "boots on the ground" and "blood and treasure." What's wrong with "soldiers" and "lives and money"? Too plain-spoken? As though war should be romanticized, especially by people who stay safely away from the battlefield but who indulge their desire to bask in its imagined glory by using phrases like these.

aug 25, 2008, 8:54am

I read all 72 messages and not a one said anything about the most annoying thing about English speakers: the overuse of "you know." I am always tempted to say "no, I don't."

aug 25, 2008, 9:26am

I hate the French phrase "A plus" (often abbreviated as "A+" in e-mails) that stands for "A plus tard" ("See you later" (alligator), or should I write it "CUL8R"?).

aug 25, 2008, 10:56am

Ha! A+! That's brilliant! But then, I don't have to deal with French emails.

aug 25, 2008, 11:14am

> This war has generated far too many annoying phrases such as "shock and awe". The most irritating one for me is "embedded" as in the reporters being embedded with the troops. Even Walter Cronkite commented that it sounded too much like "in bed with."

aug 25, 2008, 1:45pm

Word, varielle. Though in this case, "in bed with" is probably accurate, in the figurative sense.

aug 25, 2008, 9:47pm

After I moved to SW Ontario, I discovered that there is a local second person plural. It's pronounced "yiz" and (if the handouts produced by my children's Brownie, Guide, Cub, and Scout leaders can be credited) spelled "you's". With a pluralizing apostrophe, apparently.

aug 25, 2008, 10:11pm

Mummi-I think that beats "all y'all" and even "youse guys."

aug 25, 2008, 10:54pm

My grandfather was from the Ohio River Valley near Pittsburgh. He used to say "y'uns," which I guess was a contraction of "you ones."

aug 26, 2008, 9:55am

Some of my very southern relatives referred to children as yung'uns, as in young ones. My poor sister spent her childhood thinking they were calling us onions.

aug 27, 2008, 2:49am

I've been following with interest the use of 'like' as a speech act word of some sort. Although I would never use it in any sort of formal context, nor in writing, the syntactic implications are perplexing.

What part of speech would you parse 'like' as in the following example?
"So I'm like 'Oh, no you didn't', and she's like 'oh yes you did', and I'm like 'well fine, then!'"

Redigeret: aug 27, 2008, 4:14am

>82 Choreocrat:

Agree that this is annoying. In your example, we could parse it as "I'm thinking" or "I'm saying", don't you think? (Don't you like...)

This usage was first brought to international attention 25 years ago in Moon Unit Zappa's performance of "Valley Girl". Here's a link and if you can endure these four minutes, you'll have a wealth of variations and syntactical examples. You might need counseling afterward, too.

aug 27, 2008, 6:45am

it depends on what you mean by 'part of speech'. If you recognise 'interjection' as a part of speech, (many traditionalist prescriptivists don't for example) then that's what 'like' in your example could be parsed as.

Alternatively, you could parse 'like' as part of an adverbial chunk or phrasal verb: 'be like', meaning, 'say'.

Redigeret: aug 27, 2008, 11:33am

In some schemes, be like is classified as a quotative, which just like it sounds means it is the verbal equivalent of quotation marks. Other quotatives are say, obviously, go, and be all.

The other use of like back in #56 is as a discourse particle, which means it doesn't fit into the formal semantics of the sentence, but tells something about the speaker's context. In this case, it marks a slight mismatch between the situation described and the words used. Other discourse particles are well and you know.

If you've got access, here and here are some relevant papers.
Also, Language Log has some discussion (that post links to earlier ones).

aug 27, 2008, 2:47pm

>80 Tigercrane: Oh man, if we're going to break out the Pittsburghese...

I'm not sure where "yinz" comes from as the plural of you. Other personal favorites? "Cucky" instead of "crap" and "gumband" instead of "rubber band." Also, the use of "Yoi!" as an interjection.

Less fond of hearing my family say "The car needs washed" or "my house needs cleaned." (I took linguistics classes at Pitt, and my prof brought this up as an example of regional dialect. Half the class looked peeved and said "We don't do that." The out-of-state half groaned in unision and said "Oh, yes you do. Really.")

Western PA sayings and grammar structures can fill a whole separate thread.

aug 27, 2008, 3:17pm

>86 Euryale:

say "The car needs washed" or "my house needs cleaned."

That's where that comes from! I've seen it online (in print!), and couldn't figure out the region it came from. It took me a while to determine it wasn't a common editing error, but the frequency kind of blew that theory.

aug 27, 2008, 6:15pm

>86 Euryale: and 87
I was shocked at and baffled as to the parsing of "needs cleaned" when I first moved to central PA. I definitely would not say that "cleaned" in this instance is a gerund, e.g., "cleaning." Still haven't solved that part.

I was so distressed about this, I e-mailed a former linguistics professor (a Brit), who suggested this form originated with early PA settlers from Scotland. I don't know that's the case for sure.

aug 27, 2008, 6:35pm

I remember seeing "needs washed" written in the dust on dirty automobiles, and other similar usage, in Western Massachusetts in the fifties.

I have a good deal of Scots in me, but the usage didn't occur in my family.


Redigeret: aug 28, 2008, 11:42am

>88 grammargoddess:

A book I've been reading mentions that the original settlers in the Appalachian and Allegheny Backcountry (don't kill me - they used the word "backcountry" first!) were mostly from the border counties of England - very close to Scotland.

You know, I really should should finish reading that. The book is Albion's Seed. It deals with the differences in culture and language (food, architecture, leisure, etc.) in four different areas of the US, as originating from the parts of England the settlers of those areas came from. I've stalled after the third section, and the fourth section is on the "backcountry".

The book is particularly fascinating for someone who grew up in Tidewater Virginia (section 2), had a long-term relationship with a guy from Boston (section 1, New England) and later moved to New York (almost in section 3, Delaware Valley).

Everyone here would probably find it fascinating - at least the ones from the UK and US - not sure about anyone else.

aug 27, 2008, 7:03pm

>86 Euryale:, 87, 88: It's a reasonable hypothesis from the Scottish end. I noticed this construction quite a bit in Scotland. My friend in the Highlands has active twin boys and her floor usually needs swept and her house usually needs cleaned.

aug 27, 2008, 7:07pm

Silly joke I've heard: How do you say Hamlet's soliloquy in central Pennsylvanian?

or not

aug 27, 2008, 7:33pm

92 > Haha. I'm going to bust that out at the next linguist party I'm at.

The "needs x-ed" construction seems to spread west from PA, which is consistent with it being present by at least the end of the 18th century. It's so ingrained in my northern Hoosier dialect that I never realized it wasn't standard English until a linguistics professor pointed it out.

aug 27, 2008, 11:28pm

A friend pointed out my "needs done" habit as being really weird, but I've found that about half the people I talk to say it and half don't. My folks are from Pennsylvania/Ohio, and they both say it, but so do friends from various places around the country/world. "Needs doing" sounds completely unnatural to me.

I looked it up once and I think they're both grammatically acceptable, although I can no longer remember why that was.

aug 27, 2008, 11:54pm

>88 grammargoddess:: I am married to someone from central PA - Carlisle - and was struck when I first visited that there is a definite lilt to their questions that doesn't exist elsewhere. It is certainly not a pet peeve, but I always notice the lyrical quality of the way that people in central PA ask a question. Perhaps it is a derivation from the Pennsylvania Dutch influence. My husband says that he can immediately identify people like me from the midwest by the way we say words with double vowels like roof, root, and creek.

Redigeret: aug 29, 2008, 12:29pm


You must love the phrase me, myself and I.


An alternate to "You Know" is "You See".

aug 29, 2008, 12:37pm

When I correctee a misspelling in the previous messages, I lost the ability to recorrect the Touchstone. So, I redid it below:

Me, myself, and I

sep 5, 2008, 8:58pm

I'm from western PA. Here are my favorites:
"The bathroom needs cleaned."
"The car needs washed."
Wonderful economy of words. But, then, this area has many linguistic quirks. Traceable to the German influence, I think.

sep 10, 2008, 1:32pm

Drives me batty: "literally" used as something like "very, extremely", as in, "The movie had me literally glued to my seat!"

The dread movie theater seat gluer strikes again! That bastard!

sep 10, 2008, 2:21pm

So I saw a commercial on TV that used the pseudo-word 'ginormous'. I HATE that word. Also brazillion. They're stupid and it bugs me. Bah.

Redigeret: sep 11, 2008, 2:48am

Although I share a distate for "where are you at?" and "where are you going to?" with a previous poster, it's not because of the use of a preposition at the end of a sentence, but because of the redundancy of the "at" or "to" in these contexts.

I believe it was Wilhelm Schmidt in Deutsche Sprachkunde that wrote that "preposition" is actually a misnomer in Germanic languages. In Latin, from which the word preposition comes, a preposition must precede its object. This is not the case in German, and in English it makes little sense to use an awkward construction simply to avoid placing a preposition behind the object.

sep 11, 2008, 3:17pm

And baby koalas too. :õ(

Ok, first, I must say that English is not my native language, it's Spanish. :) That said, I've realized that some of the things I find irritating are perfectly acceptable to other people, while some of the most popular (should I say UNpopular? :P) pet peeves are fine by me.

But anyway, two of my biggest pet peeves (in written communication) are prolly and should of/would of/could of. Arrghghghhghg!

sep 11, 2008, 6:15pm

>102 Delirium9: Delirium9.... "prolly"? I agree about the "should of" etc. That makes me cover my ears and run. I've never seen these in written communication though, but apart from LT I don't see much on-line chat (if that's where it's seen mainly). I'm pretty easy-going about grammar: it's only the most egregious errors that bother me, and I suspect that many of these will become acceptable over time (excepting, of course, to the pedants, bless their hearts).

All my pet peeves have already been mentioned above. I'm especially fond of the misuse of "literally": Many's the hilarious picture conjured up there. Thanks for yours 99 nnicole!

Redigeret: sep 11, 2008, 8:31pm

>23 Thrin:

As a person born and raised in the southern part of the US, I can confirm "all y'alls" as being the possessive form, and in frequent use. I have not, however, heard anyone (in my family or otherwise) use "alls y'alls" in any context.

Once I learned Spanish and French, and discovered the usefulness of a second person plural, I was peeved by the lack thereof in English... and I say lack because I am actively discouraged from using the word "y'all" or any derivative thereof in front of my (elementary) students.

sep 12, 2008, 2:22am

I understand 'prolly' to be short for 'probably'. And yes, it is distasteful.

sep 12, 2008, 12:39pm

#103 & #105: Yes, "prolly" instead of "probably." :/ Argh. Makes me cringe.

I did specify "in written communication" because, since I live in a Spanish-speaking country, must of my communication in English is primarily written (fora, chatrooms and all that.) I'm online all day. :)

Also, my biggest, biggest pet peeve is realizing that, in some "circles," so to speak (websites and such), native speakers of English write atrociously. That unnerves me to no end. *sigh*

sep 13, 2008, 11:43pm

So here's a question for all the linguists: if people write "should of" does this mean their mental grammar uses an "of" instead of the "have/'ve"? Are there other places where "of" introduces any type of VP or clause?

Redigeret: sep 14, 2008, 2:11pm

I think "should of" is a misspelling. Of is pronounced uv, and 've is also pronounced uv, roughly speaking.
So, "should've" and "should of" are pronounced very very close to each other. So, I don't think that "of" is being used as a preposition.

sep 15, 2008, 6:05pm

I've seen several of my pet peeves above - 'couldn't care less', 'should of'. One I haven't seen is 'impact' instead of 'affect' - "this will impact our business thus...". Grrrr! Part of bureaucratese that's spread to most of the English-speaking business world and out into casual use as well.

Oh, and a lovely one - 'administrivia'. My father thinks he made it up, but he's discovered that it sprang up independently in at least half a dozen places around the country at about the same time...evidence for synchronicity?

The other one that bugs me is using not-quite-the-right word/phrase - should of is one of those; another is 'loose' for 'lose' (an extra letter? WHY?????). I can't remember any others right now but there are a whole list that show up in email and chat constantly.

Oh, and a funny one - I was reading an article in Dragon Magazine (for non-gamers, that's the grandfather of all role-playing games magazines), in which the author repeatedly talked about getting into melay combat. Which is how you pronounce melee - but if _anyone_ should have caught it, it was Dragon!('s editors).

sep 15, 2008, 7:47pm

It burns me up to see people writing who don't know the difference between "affect" and "effect," "rein" and "reign," and "lose" and "loose."

I suppose I should get a life.

sep 15, 2008, 10:15pm

They probably use impact because they can't remember the difference between effect and affect.

sep 16, 2008, 12:27pm


The U.S. Federal Government requires potential grantees to submit Environmental Impact Studies for their transportation projects. Should these be retitled as Environmental Effect Studies?

sep 16, 2008, 12:49pm

Oh, the easily confused, which your spell checker can't help you with. They drive me nuts. The one I see online a lot is breath vs breathe (verb vs noun, people, not that hard). I also hate cite vs site and discreet / discrete, which I am seeing a lot these days for some reason. Also seen a lot lately: passed to mean past - what is with that? And finally, illicit when you mean elicit makes me grind my teeth.

I'm beginning to think they should de-emphasize spelling in school (hey, they have the option of a spell-checker) and concentrate more on differentiating easily confused words.

The funniest confused word I ever saw, which is not likely to ever be repeated, was probably the result of automatically accepting the spell-checker's suggestion. I was reading a story online in which someone launched "a viscous attack". Now granted, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic, in which that would technically be a possibility, but still....

sep 16, 2008, 12:59pm

And finally, illicit when you mean elicit makes me grind my teeth.

Quite a response that illicits from you.

sep 16, 2008, 1:59pm

I've seen reference to viscous criminals and viscous attacks far too often recently. Those slimy so-and-sos.

sep 16, 2008, 3:05pm

112> That strikes me as headlinese for "study of the impact this project will have on the environment". Which is fine. "This will have an impact on..." works, "This will impact..." doesn't. It's actually verbing a noun - which I can usually accept (I Google stuff all the time!) but this particular one drives me nuts.

So yeah, an Environmental Effect Study would also work. It just doesn't sound as strong.

Redigeret: sep 16, 2008, 3:14pm

v. t. 1. To drive close; to press firmly together: to wedge into a place.
imp. & p. p. Impacted; p. pr. & vb. n. Impacting.
2. To affect or influence, especially in a significant or undesirable manner; as, budget cuts impacted the entire research program; the fish populations were adversely impacted by pollution.
3. To collide forcefully with; to strike.
n. 1. Contact or impression by touch; collision; forcible contact; force communicated.
The quarrel, by that impact driven.
- Southey.
2. (Mech.) The single instantaneous stroke of a body in

Encarta online states that "Many careful writers strongly dislike the verb impact in any figurative sense whatsoever, as in The revised budget impacts the university unfavorably and The revised budget impacts on the athletic program...Use of the verb is uncontroversial only in physical senses: The car impacted the railing. By the same token, the noun impact should not be used as a catchall alternative for words like effect or impression; rather, it should be used to convey the idea of powerful, dramatic consequence:..."

sep 17, 2008, 4:51am

Yeah - that's the annoying thing. It's becoming more and more accepted...and it raises my hackles every time I see it. Meaning 2 above - both examples given drive me nuts.

I _know_ all the good dictionaries are accepting that definition - just _I_'m not. Pet peeve - and like most such, not really reasonable...but strong as heck!

sep 17, 2008, 1:51pm

My peeves are:

"I wanted to touch base with you". How about "call", "write", "communicate"? The only people who "touch base" play major league baseball.

"Hey" rather than "Hi" or "Hello". As a child, whenever I said "Hey", my mother would reply "is for horses." Nowadays, I saw that.

In online forums, people should learn the differcence between "there", "their", "they're". And, "to", "too" (people seem to understand "two").

What is "Teh"?

sep 17, 2008, 3:49pm

I think the "touch base" construction is to keep the interaction from getting too invested. Gosh, if you called someone, you might have to commit yourself to talking, and who knows where that might lead.

sep 17, 2008, 4:16pm

I can't stand it when someone (usually a corporate drone) begins a sentence with "I want to piggyback on what" so-and-so just said. Piggyback? Really?

Redigeret: sep 17, 2008, 4:43pm

I think piggyback has been used for over 50 years as a term for when a railroad car carries one or two truck trailers. So, I'm not sure whether the drone is thinking of people carrying kids piggyback or trains. And I guess the verb "add" has the problem of being of having only one syllable.

sep 17, 2008, 5:15pm

One phrase I dislike (perhaps irrationally) is "Tag-you're it" when two people constantly miss each other's phone calls and leave that message on voice mail. I particularly dislike it when used in business calls.

sep 20, 2008, 5:26pm

Re #30, pdebolt: Sentences ending in "prepositions" are not always ending in a preposition so much as using a preposition in an adverbial sense, like German separable verbs. Besides, the "rule" that it's "wrong" is just another of those Latin-thinking grammarians' idiosyncratic impositions on a Germanic language.

sep 20, 2008, 5:31pm

#48: I've never heard "Go me" and have no idea what it's supposed to mean.

However, I need to inject a word that continues to fray my nerve ends: "cite" instead of "citation". People in newsgroups seem congenitally incapable of using the word no matter how often they want a citation for some bit of information.

sep 20, 2008, 5:36pm

#73 wrote "I read all 72 messages and not a one said anything about the most annoying thing about English speakers: the overuse of "you know." I am always tempted to say "no, I don't."

Actually, I DO say it 8-)

sep 20, 2008, 6:06pm

"You know" in some people becomes "You see". In some Canadians, you'll hear "eh."

sep 20, 2008, 7:33pm

"eh" is OK--it's like "nicht wahr?"

sep 21, 2008, 8:50pm

>125 erilarlo: um...does the translation "Yay for me" help any? 'Go me' is, at least the way I mostly hear it, a slightly sarcastic cheer for oneself - say, "I've got more than a hundred books on my TBR pile. Go me!" I don't actually use it (I don't think) but I hear it a lot from some of my friends (mostly my (younger) sister's friends).

sep 21, 2008, 9:24pm

I don't hear "Go Me" either. Is this a regionalism, or am I too old?

sep 21, 2008, 9:32pm

Looking on Amazon, there is a 1974 book called Go ye means go me by Ivan Robert Stewart, which apparently deals with saving souls for Christ.

Redigeret: sep 21, 2008, 9:34pm

Could be either. I hear it from 30-something Californians - but the place I first saw it was in the Lord of the Rings diaries - (Legolas, main page). Don't know where she got it from.

okt 1, 2008, 1:47pm

The only place I've heard "Yay me!" or "Go me!" is on "The Sweet Life of Zach & Cody", when spoken by a character (I think her name is Paris Tipton) who is a spoiled, wealthy teen who lives in a hotel where this Disney channel show is set. It may have surfaced on other Disney programs as well.

I'm the parent of a sixth-grade who likes this show, bless her heart.

My pet peeves are using "oncet" instead of "once," "twicet" instead of "twice" and "kindly" instead of saying "kind of". The mountains of East Tennessee/Northeastern Alabama are rife with colorful vocabulary.

okt 1, 2008, 5:04pm

I have heard "go me" from my grandson, a senior in high school in the Pacific NW US of A.

When I was still teaching (7 years ago!) we did teach less spelling and more distinctions between easily confused words. The 6th graders did not know how to use Spell Check and also proof-read for using the wrong word, spelled correctly.

I like regional colloquial sayings, even in writing. I would prefer not to hear exactly the same English wherever I roam. I would also prefer eating in restaurants which are not found in every region of the country and who serve Apple Pies of their own creating.

okt 2, 2008, 12:52am

Aside from confusion between there/they're/their, misheard/misunderstood phrases (the only examples I can think of right now: "to all intensive purposes" and "a long road to hoe"), Americans using "lay" for "lie" and "axe" for "ask"; "per say" and similar misspellings. But what really irks me is TV newsreaders here in NZ who keep talking about "pleece" (that's "police", for people who speak English), inter-island "fairies" (ferries), "athaletes" (with an extra syllable) and "aneethatists" (anaesthestists).

okt 2, 2008, 1:07am

Where I come from fairies and ferries sound the same. Is an anaesthestist the same as an anesthesiologist?

okt 2, 2008, 4:29am

Fairy has a longer vowel - it doesn't for you? Anesthesiologist is American for anaesthetist, yes :)

okt 2, 2008, 5:08am

As mentioned above, 'could of' makes my teeth hurt. What annoys me most about misheard phrases is that it tends to be native speakers who get them wrong.

One thing that never fails to make me smile is the misuse of taught vs taut, as in, "She was jealous of her friend's taught stomach". Yes, so would I be; I mean, my stomach is seriously undereducated when I come to think of it...

Then there's of course sight vs site; I have come accross a lot of sites for sore eyes lately.

Oh, and someone 'ommitted' a scream the other day. How nice of them.

okt 2, 2008, 11:27am

"site" for "sight" is just bad, but "ommitted a scream" is hilarious!

Long and long ago when I taught 9th grade English as well as German, I had a whole series of exercises involving a long list of homonyms I attempted to teach my students to distinguish between. Some of them did, at least for that year, but I wonder how long beyond that?

okt 2, 2008, 11:29am

Fairy/ferry have the same vowel in some dialects, including mine.

okt 2, 2008, 2:56pm

Only a small percentage of the American population use the word "axe" for "ask". I know this because it is near the top of my pet peeves list, just under the words "like" and "goes" as a replacement for the word "said."

okt 2, 2008, 4:05pm

For the record, Old English had both ascian and acsian.

okt 2, 2008, 4:19pm

I am always annoyed by the misuse of infer and imply. The simple rule is that the listener infers and the speaker implies.

okt 3, 2008, 3:14am

erilarlo: interesting; do you distinguish between "vary" and "very"?

I just thought of another one: calling the southern polar continent "anartica"

okt 3, 2008, 6:50am

These days the most grating misuse I hear is using "Democrat" as an adjective. Democrat is a noun, it is not an adjective. Who would ever think "We should befriend all democrat countries" was good usage? No literate person. The same is true as to a sentence like "The Democrat Party is in the majority."

Whenever I hear some person of the other party refer to "the Democrat Party" it makes me turn him off as an ignoramus....

okt 3, 2008, 9:01am

#143 - You reminded me of a Weird Al song called, "Close, But No Cigar"! There's a line in the song where the misuse of infer & imply was used as a reason for ending a relationship.

"She was always using the word 'infer', when she obviously meant 'imply'. And I know some guys would put up with that kind of thing, but frankly, I can't imagine why."

I hadn't thought much about this misuse until hearing this song. Who would have thought that Al Yankovic's lyrics would inspire such thought?

okt 3, 2008, 11:41am

I've heard allegations that it has become popular in republican circles to ape the commander in chief by referring to the democratic party as the democrat party as a form of insult.

okt 3, 2008, 12:20pm

Paul Foley: vary and very rhyme around here, too.

And it's not only "anartica", but "artic" as well 8-(

But the one that grates worse than fingernails on a real blackboard is the one that not only our language-mangling president but many people who should know better than to repeat is "noo-kyoo-lar". Can none of them READ?? Where are they finding an extra "u" in "nuclear"?

okt 3, 2008, 12:48pm

minor potatoes: Joe Six-Pack is beginning to drive me a bit crazy. What is Joe Six-Pack?

okt 3, 2008, 12:59pm

'Joe Six-Pack' is the new term for 'the Average Joe'.

okt 3, 2008, 2:26pm

Another one close to the top of the list for me is the interchange of "ideal" for "idea"...

"I have an ideal."
"I had no ideal it was going to happen."

Makes me want to thump them between the eyes.

okt 3, 2008, 2:30pm

In New England, the word ie eye-deer. There, if you look at things the way a deer does, you have a better eyedear of what is going on.

okt 3, 2008, 5:28pm

Having been run into by a deer, I can't say much for the way they look at things!

okt 3, 2008, 10:46pm

Re "decategorizing" well established parts of speech: how about "Thanks for addicting me to this thing." Pardon me, Amysisson; I went to your profile because of your qualifiying "Here in Texas we..." There I found one of your communicants making a gerund of a transitive verb; or is it "gerundizing" a noun? Then there is substituting "obsessing me" (equally as bad) for "addicting me" . Regarding "y'all" and "fixin to", after raising two off-spring, in Texas, we learned to say "you people" instead of "y'all" and "I intend to" in lieu of "I'm fixin to". Our "policy" was "Provincialisms inevitibly alienates someone in one's audience."

okt 3, 2008, 11:48pm

Occasionally, provincialisms can be quaint and provide needed color to an otherwise boring text. Just an alternative point of view rearing its ugly head.

okt 4, 2008, 11:21am

Thank you...Uh, yeah. I rather agree with the idea of "no problem" being an annoying acknowledgement of thanks. I always wonder if the person would have helped me if they had known it would be a problem.

I don't know the real origin of "no problem," but I assume that it came from the French. Several native French speakers have answered my "merci" with "pas de probleme," which translates as "not a problem," I think.

Spanish speakers say "de nada" (it's nothing) when you say "muchas gracias." I think the Portuguese answer to "muito obrigado" and the Italian response to "molto grazie" is basically the same.

Russians answer "spasibuh" with "p'jalstuh," which gives the general effect of "please don't mention it."

As far as I can tell, English is the only language that answers "thank you" with something that doesn't indicate deprecation of the act done or gladness to be of service. "You're welcome" doesn't really say "I was glad to do it," or "It was really no big deal," or "Don't mention it."

So I guess I'll tolerate "No problem," despite the fact that English tradition dictates "You're welcome" as the polite response. People who come to this big melting pot of a country have so many things to learn as they change languages, cultures, and everything else, can I blame them if they translate their traditional response to "thank you" directly into English?

okt 6, 2008, 1:28pm


You forgot to mention German with a single word that means both "Please" and "You're welcome" - bitte.

okt 6, 2008, 2:51pm

156> Yes - and English's response to 'Thank you' means "I'm glad you're here" (Well-come - you are well come) - which makes even less sense.

okt 6, 2008, 4:32pm

I've just seen a copy of an email in which the sender is recommending a particular DVD. He says he has "just done" the DVD and suggests we "do" it too.

Has anyone else seen this? The verb "to do" taking the place of the more usual (in this context) "to watch" or "to see" or even, I suppose, "to look at"?

okt 6, 2008, 5:59pm

>159 Thrin:
"Do" is all-purpose, for better or worse. E.g., in the 50s, the Lord of the Flies tells Simon, "We shall do you". In the 90s "Beavis and Butthead Do America". Whether serious or goofy, a meaning such as "to see" or "to watch" is only the tip of the ice-berg. It can be more sinister or skanky--among other possibilities--depending...

okt 7, 2008, 9:29pm

>156 Editormum:. In Chinese, the response to thanks is literally "Don't be polite"... I don't think it will catch on in English.

okt 8, 2008, 2:26pm

Another homonym phrase I just saw - her mother had 'past away'. I keep trying to make that make sense and it just doesn't...I know what she meant to say, but 'past away' looks almost like it should make sense in itself. ghhhhhaaaahhhh.

okt 8, 2008, 3:26pm

I just spent half an hour in conversation with someone who ended every single sentence with "to be honest". He wasn't making some candid confession; it didn't even make sense half the time! "It was quite nice and sunny today, to be honest". What's there to be honest about? Aaaargh.

okt 8, 2008, 4:02pm

Most things people say like that are verbal tics. They don't mean it and just say it to say something. It's annoying, but largely innocuous to be honest.

okt 8, 2008, 5:40pm

>162 jjmcgaffey: A variation that I find irksome and have just started hearing over the last few years is "her mother passed" or "her mother has passed". I keep wanting to ask, "What did she pass? Was it a kidney stone? Did she pass gas? Did she pass by? Did she pass go? Did she collect $200?" Fortunately, I keep my mouth shut.

okt 8, 2008, 6:08pm

I like the last one best 8-) Yes, I know, I also manage not to say it, but it is irritating.

okt 8, 2008, 6:39pm

I think saying someone has "passed" is way creepier than just saying they "died."

okt 8, 2008, 7:01pm

Tigercrane, I know what you mean. It's not even the whole euphemism "passed away" and seems almost casual 8-(

okt 8, 2008, 10:06pm

Passed is what someone says who's been near death for some time, and finally 'passed'.

Passed over is someone whose afterlife location is similar to the one on this side of the 'veil'.

Passed away is a metaphorical vaporization.

Died is the term that someone uses who doesn't want to add any theological content.

Succumbed is someone who fought death and lost.

Kicked the bucket happens to someone who was scrappy in life.

okt 8, 2008, 10:39pm

what about those who
"Do not go gentle into that good night"
"rage, rage against the dying of the light" ?

okt 9, 2008, 1:29am

vpfluke, I thought kicked the bucket was a suicide generalized to anyone who had died.


okt 9, 2008, 1:40am

>156 Editormum: & 157:
the German "Bitte" literally means 'I beg you', which is also the meaning of the French "Je vous en prie". This last one is the appropriate answer to "merci" (well, in French at least ;-) and "pas de problème" is as irritating in that language as "no problem" is in English.

okt 9, 2008, 2:15am

172> The phrase, "Il n'y a pas de quoi," if I have spelled it correctly came to mind repeatedly last week, and I wondered what it meant. Now that you have mentioned "Je vous en prie" it seems to me that I was taught to respond "Il n'y a pas de quoi" to "merci." Is that plausible? Has my teaching been overtaken by events?


Redigeret: okt 9, 2008, 4:51am

#172,173: In French, "Je vous en prie" is a very formal way to respond to "Merci". "Il n'y a pas de quoi" (loosely pronounced "Yapadkwa") or "De rien" are much more usual in everyday's use, the equivalent in English being "Don't mention it".

Whenever I run into the German equivalent of "Je vous en prie" ("Bitte" or "Bitte schön"), I can't help remembering the comment of my German teacher at school who used to tell us that "Bitte schön" could be a correct though puzzling answer to somebody's treading on your feet in the bus and apologizing. To show us that this was queer, he used to translate it lavishly into French by "Je vous en prie, continuez, faites comme chez vous"...

PS: To anwer more specifically to rdurick's interrogation, "Il n'y a pas de quoi" is a short form for "Il n'y a pas de raison de me remercier".

okt 9, 2008, 10:23am

^171 I never considered it, but that makes perfect sense -- I assume then that "kicked the bucket" is from someone who hanged him or herself?

okt 9, 2008, 10:51am

I heard "kicked the bucket" many time when younger and I assumed it meant that the person had simply died. It never occurred to me it was referring to hanging oneself, but that does make sense. Creepy.

Redigeret: okt 9, 2008, 12:57pm

There is an interesting short discussion of 'kick the bucket' at
The writer of this thinks that an older meaning of bucket spawned the phrase, where the bucket was more like a collar that an animal was hung from by their feet.

okt 9, 2008, 12:45pm

When one "kick's the bucket" did they also "buy the farm"?

okt 9, 2008, 2:11pm

Only if they "bet the ranch" before hand.

okt 9, 2008, 6:10pm

178> I first heard "buy the farm" early in flight training. If you crash you typically want to crash safely, say in an open field. Nevertheless the crash will do damage. In recompense to the landowner you buy the farm.

There could be another explanation.


okt 10, 2008, 7:46am

178--I suppose if a guy took out mortgage insurance and then died he would indeed buy the farm, huh? But I don't think that is the genesis of the saying....

okt 10, 2008, 1:22pm

"Face the music."

Not yet a pet peeve, but it just strikes me as odd.

okt 10, 2008, 4:39pm

Speaking of euphemistic phrases for the dead, the religion-based "She's with (or gone to) her maker", or "He's with the Lord" suggests that the speaker assumes the listener is a Christian, but to a non-Christian that terminology tends to make one feel both excluded and, to a certain extent, imposed upon.

As a non-Christian, I can commiserate with the person over the death of a loved one, but I cannot deny that their choice of terminology tends to erect a barrier to true intimacy.

okt 10, 2008, 8:44pm

As one who has the morbid habit of trolling the obits, I've noticed a similar trend in the paid and unpaid obits. Phrases like "she's gone to the arms of Jesus" or "she's singing in the heavenly choir of angels", have become common.

okt 12, 2008, 5:54pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

okt 16, 2008, 1:37pm

I just checked out some obits and found died, passed away, passed, departed this life, died peacefully in her son's arms (I liked that one), and finally, went home to be with the Lord.

I live in the South. Don't know if you see much of the going home to Jesus or the Lord in other parts of the country.

And I must admit that I've finally broken down and say "Hey" after 17 years in North Carolina.
Hi sounds funny to me now.

"Hey, sug" (Hay shug) is what I say to my daughter sometimes.

okt 16, 2008, 6:35pm

The ghostly version is: "No longer casts a shadow".

nov 7, 2008, 1:00pm

Wired just did a story on Oxford scholars' pet peeve phrases. Some interesting comments (and some pretty bad ones).

Redigeret: nov 12, 2008, 4:10pm

To #41 - Actually, in many cases where a sentence ends in a "preposition," the word is actually a required part of the verb and does not require a noun. And sometimes the object of the preposition has been 'transformed' as we say in generative grammar - the example given in #30 above "what are you thinking of?" From a linguist's point of view, "what" stands in for the object of "of" and has been moved to the front of the sentence as part of the transformations that make a declarative sentence a question.

nov 12, 2008, 5:38pm

This brings to mind an old prescriptivist joke. No offense intended to either side of the Mason-Dixon.

A Yankee lady and a southern lady are at a cocktail party. The southern lady says, "So, where are ya'll from?"

The Yankee lady responds, "Where I come from we do not end our sentences in prepositions."

The surprised southern lady thinks a moment and says, "Well alright then. Where are ya'll from, bitch?"

nov 12, 2008, 5:53pm

>190 varielle:

Oh, I love that one. I've seen it before, but it's always funny.

nov 12, 2008, 8:49pm

>189 June6Bug:: When a sentence ends in a preposition, that word may usually be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence - i.e. "What are you thinking of?" may easily be altered to "What are you thinking?" Also, "Where are you going to" may be changed to "Where are you going?" It's useful to diagram the sentences to see what can be eliminated. I guess all of us are aware of (and bothered by) different misuses. As a transplanted northerner living in Atlanta, I have heard #190 several times and love it more each time...especially, when followed by "Bless your heart." :)

nov 12, 2008, 11:38pm


Maybe redundancy is good, considering how much we don't listen when we try to communicate. The final preposition is like the check digit in ISBN numbers, the tenth digit helps to insure that the previous nine are what is intended.

nov 13, 2008, 2:51am

Who are you going ...with, for, to (with that big bouquet). Without the preposition the question is meaningless, and there are a number of prepositions that fit.

Redigeret: nov 13, 2008, 10:35am

#194: Think of them as part of the verb, not classical "prepositions", because that's what they actually are, just like separable verbs in German. We don't call them that in English, but that's what they really are. If you need an "English" label for them, call them adverbs; they're closer to adverb function than to usual prepositional function.

nov 13, 2008, 4:32pm

Off the subject of prepositions, something I consider a pet peeve is hearing someone say (usually with a shrug), "Well, that's just the way I am" after being asked why he/she holds a grudge, jumps to conclusions, gossips, etc., etc. as if we can't be held responsible for what we do or change that behavior.

nov 13, 2008, 4:59pm

I agree, pdebolt - it's a worrying trend. There are, of course, more such phrases, but I can't think of any just now (I try *not* to dwell on them - it's too annoying).

nov 13, 2008, 5:48pm

If it's a trend, it goes back at least to 1933 (the other Great Depression), when Popeye said "I yam what I yam..."

nov 13, 2008, 10:31pm

"Well, that's just the way I am."

Whenever we answered questions beginning with "Well", our seventh grade teacher invariably interrupted us to say: "A well is a hole in the ground." "Well" must be the most overused word in the English language.

I believe that it was he who also drilled into us to never end a sentence with a preposition.

Nevertheless, I have an ancient Webster's Dictionary (copyright 1941) with an appendix entitled "Dictionary of Everyday Errors". Under "prepositions" is this statement: "The use of a preposition at the end of a sentence, as in "What are you thinking of?" is often objected to, but is sanctioned by abundant authority."


nov 13, 2008, 10:47pm

I'm glad that "What are you thinking of?" or more commonly in my experience "What were you *thinking* of?" is sanctioned by abundant authority because I, for one, have no intention of ever saying "Of what were you thinking?"

nov 14, 2008, 12:33am

How about "What were you thinking?" as an alternative?

nov 14, 2008, 12:35am

Good point pdebolt... thank you.

nov 23, 2008, 5:55am

All those death euphemisms in the 160's and 170's and nobody said my favorite:

Gone to the last tango in Paris.

dec 4, 2008, 2:19pm

>203 ambushedbyasnail:

Nor my favorite, which I first encountered in a family record made by my great-great-grandmother (who did so in 1907):

crossed the bar

dec 4, 2008, 5:14pm

Isn't "crossing the bar" something sailors did?

dec 4, 2008, 5:57pm

Sailors still do I think. I've crossed bars between, say, a river estuary and the open sea - it is/was, in my experience, the sand-bar that often forms in those locations. Can be treacherous. Do you think that's it?

dec 4, 2008, 7:18pm

Probably less dangerous than before ships had more than oar or sail power, but can still be a problem. That phrase sounds like something one might say of a dead sailor to me. Using it to mean dying could come from poetry. I've read a lot of that, too.

dec 4, 2008, 8:40pm

Wonderful poetry Larxol. I didn't know that one... Thanks.

dec 5, 2008, 5:16pm

Of course! The moment I looked at it, I remembered reading it before, but it was several decades ago 8-)

dec 8, 2008, 6:52pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

dec 8, 2008, 7:49pm

Oh, so many possible pet peeves! I didn't particularly like "obits" as a short form for obituaries above but it certainly isn't as irksome to me as "veggies". Gah! It sounds like toddler-speak that has become acceptable fore all age groups. Subway restaurants, in particular, use "veggies" in their print materials.

dec 30, 2008, 4:50pm

I really dislike the word slather to describe obscene amounts of butter, cream cheese, or other dressing-type food in restaurant menus.

jan 1, 2009, 1:40pm

How about "Happy N.Y.? (after January 20th, of course). Well, Happy New York also - you'll need it after what GWB did to all of your "cool" financiers (Madoff, et. al.)

jan 13, 2009, 7:51pm

Just read all the messages here. Some comments:

Variation on a theme - (athalete for "athlete") - the Olympics always seems to inspire "pentathalon" - adding that extra a.

People who are still saying "think outside the box" obviously aren't.

Ferry/fairy sound quite different in this part of the world (Ontario, Canada)

I hope "hey" as a greeting does not become standard practice around here, but it seems to be creeping in.

Why can't people use "such as" instead of "like". "Such as" means you are giving an example, "like" is a comparison. However, this one is becoming ubiquitous, so I should give up whining about it.

jan 13, 2009, 8:33pm

I couldn't read all 215 posts, so I hope no one already mentioned this, but...

I hate that kids these days (I also hate that I'm 25 and I'm saying "kids these days"!) abbreviate everything!! They "abbreve", if you will.

I actually heard one teenager say to another, after one told a joke, "Oh my god, that was tot. hilar." ("tote hilare")


jan 13, 2009, 8:39pm

Dihiba: I once had an English teacher in high school who challenged us to speak to the class about whatever we chose, without saying the word "like" unless used properly.

Everybody failed, and ever since then I've always been sensitive to that word (and more aware of my own speaking habits).

jan 14, 2009, 7:21am

I am always bothered by the usage "in regards to." How much simpler and better to say "in regard to.'' Am I wrong in thinking the first usage is never necessary?

jan 14, 2009, 4:37pm

218> I am also bothered by "in regards to." To take it another step, I'm wondering why 3 words are used when one is enough: regarding.

jan 14, 2009, 5:09pm

I don't think there should be an "s" on "in regard to" - isn't it similar to "in reference to", "in lieu of", and "instead of" (which originally would have been
in stead of). I don't know why people tend to put an "s" on regard.
Also - "going forward", and "going forwards" - what is the point of the "s"? Is it right? We do say "sideways" - really, sideway is good enough, it's not a plural, after all. And it's an adverb or adjective - what do they need an s for?!
Backward and backwards....hmmm....

jan 14, 2009, 10:38pm

Someone should look up in the OED to see when "regards" vs. regard in this phrase came into being. Dropping the "s" out of "in regards to" only makes the phrase 9% shorter. The plural of the word regard has a meaning that goes beyond multiple regards (gazes). It is used to indicate sentiments or respect: I sent him my regards when he became president. So we use the plural form to fool people into believing that we have multiple regards for the person when in fact we only sent the regard once. So, perhaps the phrasal use of regards means we're tamping down our simple directness.

jan 15, 2009, 7:20am

Here's another plural one: this morning's crawl on my local news read "temperatures have fallen" - now I know -25 C is pretty cold, but it is still only one temperature!

jan 15, 2009, 10:30am

What about the word in the phrase "temperatures have fallen all over."

jan 15, 2009, 12:13pm

Yes, that's okay, but the crawl didn't say that. And I hear people put it in the plural all the time.

jan 16, 2009, 1:27pm

"Feeling well" is my pet peeve phrase and I'm afraid it's becoming common usage.

jan 16, 2009, 11:44pm

Seekimgee ... I love your book collection. In fact I'm rather jealous. Yours is so easy to keep clean, and dust free, which is always a problem here in the desert. It's reminiscent of Thoreau's cottage, after he threw out everything, and afterwards extolling the virtues of the Native American tribe who annually burned everything they owned.

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

Why is it so difficult to learn?


jan 17, 2009, 8:03am

Rood, you make me laugh!

jan 17, 2009, 2:50pm

Hope it is not too late to add a little to the many thoughtful posts (I hope I saw them all) on the subject of ending a sentence with a preposition.

1) I agree that many instances are accounted for by the fact that the preposition is part of a verb phrase, which, even if transitive I think, can find itself in a proper construction where the preposition is found at the end. In a famous anecdote, Churchill once replied to an impertinent editor who chided him about this apparent grammatical sin with "This is the sort of English up with which I will not put".

2) Others to me might be thought of as somewhat idiomatic. Here I am thinking of "thinking of". I am not sure I agree with you pdebolt (#201) that "What were you thinking?" can substitute for "What were you thinking of?". Perhaps it isn't just a matter of idiom either; even when the latter is not used to express incredulity, I think there is a nuance that should be honored in the difference between the generality of the former (and weaker?) construction and the particularity of the latter. "Of what were you thinking?" I can only imagine being said in jest - with an affected accent.

jan 17, 2009, 8:49pm

I think sometimes "What were you thinking of?" is using the "of" rather like an intensifier 8-)

jan 17, 2009, 10:04pm

How about: "What the hell are you suggesting?"

jan 17, 2009, 10:36pm

If you mean "the hell" is an intensifier, I'd agree 8-)

Redigeret: feb 6, 2009, 11:29pm

>21 MMcM:
>22 ambushedbyasnail:

True 'dat. (Don't you hate that expression?)

It may vary by area, but as a transplanted Texan Y'all is singular and All y'all is plural.

My pet peeve is the death of the adverb. No one says more importantly any more. It's always more important.

feb 6, 2009, 11:44pm

I firmly believe that prepositions are perfectly good words to end sentences with. The alternative is "arrant pedantry, up with which I shall not put."

feb 6, 2009, 11:46pm

How about "it's all good" in response to "I'm sorry"? I find that somewhat annoying.

feb 6, 2009, 11:50pm

The euphemisms for "layoff" are also very annoying.

"reduction in force"
"headcount action"
"surplus" (as in "You have been surplussed.")

feb 7, 2009, 12:00am

Isn't layoff a euphemism?

feb 7, 2009, 12:03am

>236 jjwilson61: Not entirely, although it may be these days. There used to be a difference between getting fired and getting laid off. In the latter case, you could be recalled to work when business picked up.

feb 7, 2009, 12:05am

"nuff said" comes from Stan Lee. If you enjoyed Marvel Comics, you might like this phrase.

feb 7, 2009, 12:23am

'nuff said' has been around a lot longer than Marvel Comics.

I hate the phrase 'hone in.'


feb 7, 2009, 12:55am

"He was in the military - something to do with calvary."


feb 7, 2009, 7:51am

Did he then become a REALator?

feb 7, 2009, 9:46am

Yes! He did that before getting his bachelors' degree.

feb 15, 2009, 3:09pm

>240 Collectorator:, At the risk of extending your screaming fit, I'm wondering what exactly do you hate about that sentence? There is a mismatch between the two parts. I guess I filled in the missing words - that his job in the military had something to do with the calvary.

feb 15, 2009, 3:14pm

It's cavalry, not calvary.

Redigeret: feb 15, 2009, 3:33pm

LOL! And I thought I was a good speller! :-)

Don't go nu-cu-ler on me! :-D

feb 15, 2009, 3:59pm

I'm able to control myself in this instance since I didn't actually hear it. :o}

feb 15, 2009, 4:21pm

How about "the hoi polloi" being used to mean the, so called, upper echelons of society? (I know about the redundant "the" by the way.)

feb 15, 2009, 5:47pm

"hoi polloi" for the UPPER echelons? Are you serious? What has the language come to?

feb 15, 2009, 5:48pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

feb 16, 2009, 7:25am

I got a new one: from last night's "LT is down" message - "back in a couple hours." Arrgh!

feb 16, 2009, 10:05am

OK, I'm going to be the "dummy" again (and maybe I shouldn't put that word in quotes). The only thing I could see wrong with the previous statement is that I would have said, "...a couple of hours" or "a few hours."

feb 16, 2009, 1:09pm

Well, Tim, or one of his cohorts, changed "couple" into an adjective, not really uncommon thing to do in English.

Now "couple of" is more of a classifier phrase, like "loaf of" vs. "slice of" bread . Using "couple of" is a way being less specific. Maybe making couple into a adjective was to push the meaning closer to "two". Who knows, most computer down time is approximate in my experience. Maybe using "approximate" language is useful in this territory. Some languages like Thai require classifiers a great deal of the time.

feb 16, 2009, 9:20pm

How about "It makes me nauseous" instead of "It makes me nauseated"? What's the correct response -- "I suspected that about you"?

feb 17, 2009, 10:20am

>215 dihiba:: dihiba, even after minoring in linguistics at University of Toronto and living in Ontario for nearly 40 years, I failed to pick up on ferry/fairy "sounding quite different" in Ontario. Please explain -- thanks.

I just read a call for volunteers that made me want to run the other way: "Please remember the birthday for the residence at Vision Nursing Home -- xxx can use all the help she can get." The custom at local nursing homes is to have a monthly birthday celebration for the residents -- normally the building itself doesn't celebrate its birthday. Illiteracies like this really, really bother me.

feb 17, 2009, 10:27am

Hamburger's $2.50


!!!This is not French with little decorations for you to place all around your words!!!

feb 17, 2009, 10:28am

Hamburger's what?

Redigeret: feb 17, 2009, 10:34am

An error of omission I could understand. Forgetting an apostrophe is all right, I suppose. But to ADD one where it is not needed? I just want to take a frying pan to the flat side of their head.

edited to add: This is more than a "pet" peeve for me, obviously. It's more like a zoo peeve.

feb 17, 2009, 10:41am

My elementary school principal, who has probably been dead 30 years by now, used to weed out prospective teachers by asking them to explain the difference between it's and its.

Redigeret: feb 17, 2009, 10:44am

> 255 - 257: Well, not strictly necessarily wrong is it? (not a native speaker) - apparently there's this person named Hamburger, and it must be his/her $ 2.50... ;-)

feb 17, 2009, 10:46am

---> 259 :)

feb 17, 2009, 3:47pm

There is, of course, the city of Hamburg in Germany. If this $2.50 belongs to a citizen of Hamburg, perhaps the error is using a dollar sign instead of a Euro sign.

feb 17, 2009, 10:16pm

"1 year anniversary" and its co-conspirators, "3-week anniversary," "50-year anniversary" etc., drive me up the wall.

Anniversary is derived from the Latin "Annus," meaning "Year." Ergo: "First anniversary" "50th anniversary" and there is no such thing as a "3 week anniversary" because such a phrase is logically nonsensical.

By the bye, This month is February. Where has the first "r" in February scampered off to? I came from a tough neighborhood in the Bronx, and if anyone said "Feb-u-ary" our eyes would roll. We may have been tough, but we still spoke English. Now even the T.V. anchors say Feb-u-ary. So I guess the game is lost. What say we go all the way? Let's change next month's name from March to Mark.

feb 18, 2009, 1:37am

Let's change next month's name from March to Mark.

Or Mach. Mach 1, Mach 2, etc.

feb 18, 2009, 3:52am

I was taught in elementary school not to pronounce the r in February. It's in my nature to pronounce it - rolls off the tongue better - but every time I do, I feel like I'm doing something subversive.

feb 18, 2009, 11:19am

I'll be damned. Below please find Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary pronunciation of February:

February: feb/roo er'e or feb'yoo....

---Pronunciation: Many people try to pronounce February with both (r) sounds, as shown above. The common pronunciation (feb'yoo er'e), with the first (r) replaced by (y) is the result of dissimilation, the tendency of like sounds to become unlike when they follow each other closely. An additional influence is analogy with January. Although sometimes criticized, the dissimilated pronunciation of February is used by educated speakers and is considered standard.

Who wouda thunk!

feb 18, 2009, 12:12pm

Just because anniversary is derived from the Latin for year doesn't mean that its meaning couldn't have broadened. It happens to lots of words.

feb 18, 2009, 12:57pm

How about "sphincteruary"?

feb 18, 2009, 1:03pm

>267 Naren559:
I think I love you.

Ok, maybe not, but you almost made me spew coffee.

feb 18, 2009, 1:05pm

Speaking of the omission of "r" in words - how about library? I wince when I hear libary - sadly, it's not always small children who pronounce it this way. My all-time peeve remains the misuse of pronouns. I am only one person trying to convince people that it's never correct to say "Him and I" followed by a verb or she and I preceded by a preposition. Why is this concept seemingly so difficult?

feb 18, 2009, 5:17pm

Case endings aren't taught in English, so no one knows that him is the objective case (i.e. dative or accusative). The other reason is that it is easier to pronounce 'him and I' than 'he and I' because one has to be careful when pronouncing two vowels together, rather than just eliding the m of the him into the "and".

feb 18, 2009, 6:44pm

>269 pdebolt:. It's spelled "liberry". Anyone who would spell it "libary" must pronounce "fairy" the same as "ferry".

feb 18, 2009, 7:47pm

Can't say I've ever heard liberry/libary (libree, yes), but not pronouncing "r" in many places (non-rhotic) is standard English, outside the US. There's no "r" in March, either.

feb 18, 2009, 7:57pm

I am only one person trying to convince people that it's never correct to say "Him and I" followed by a verb

I can think of sentences involving "Him and I" followed by a verb that would be correct :)

feb 18, 2009, 8:47pm

>273 PaulFoley:

So can I, but in all of mine, the "and" is connecting clauses, not pronouns.

Redigeret: feb 19, 2009, 12:36am

From Fowler's Modern English Usage : February. The only standard pronumciation in BrE is /februari/, with both rs fully articulated. But dissenters are at the door. In numerous dells and vales and suburbs some people are content to say /febjuari/ i.e. to convert the first r into the initial sound of words like "yell." The process is called DISSIMILATION. In America the largest dictionaries report that, despite criticism, dissimilated pronunciations of February (...) are used by educated speakers and are considered standard.

I checked out "Anniversary" and found a very long entry which I won't repeat here. Essentially, it says that 10th anniversary, 15th anniversary etc., are standard usage. Then it goes on to a long discussion of "silver anniversary," "golden anniversary" etc. Fowler's doesn't mention "1 year anniversary", "3 week anniversary" etc. I guess the editors haven't run into that usage yet. I believe it is very recent. I doubt if anyone spoke like that earlier than 15 years ago.

I did find a dictionary discussion of the 1 year anniversary question, and I'll try to link to it here, but I'm not sure how to do it. Here goes:

I tried underlining this link to make it work, but it's not happening. Sorry

feb 19, 2009, 1:59am

That link worked for me, IronMike.

feb 19, 2009, 2:38am

I love that line - "it appears less defective than...other popular usage". Moniversary...think we could get it going?

feb 19, 2009, 3:28am

The OED lists Febjuary second in its UK pronunciation list and first in the American. (Granted their list might be alphabetized, for all I know, but I'm guessing it's based on frequency.)

I sometimes say libary. :/ The fact is, I think there's a sound that falls between b and br, and that's what gets used in both words. (Kind of like how there's a letter that's between a b and a v, and I tend to use it by accident and people don't know which I said.)

feb 19, 2009, 9:15am

So how do all you "Febrooary" people handle "Wednesday"?

feb 19, 2009, 12:38pm


feb 19, 2009, 12:53pm

How about Whensday? ;-)

Redigeret: feb 19, 2009, 2:21pm

It's more like Wendsday.

And about February, I do pronounce with both r's, but it sounds stupid to my own ears so I try to avoid using the word as much as possible.

feb 19, 2009, 8:17pm

>275 IronMike: Oh, then I suppose the source you consulted probably didn't cover this coinage of mine:

feb 19, 2009, 10:11pm

I should be having a Thingamonthatary soon.

Redigeret: feb 19, 2009, 10:33pm

A very happy Thingiversary, grammargoddess; I share your enthusiasm. OMG (as the kids would say, ) I just realized that today is my fortnightLibrarythingaversary!!!

p.s. I particularly enjoyed the dictionary reference to 3-month-anniversary as a "currently popular abomination." Pretty strong stuff in dictionaryspeak.

feb 20, 2009, 1:54am

My aren't we getting curmudgeonly on this thread! I really don't like "no problem" instead of "you're welcome" and "my bad" instead of "I'm sorry". Such phrases are indicative of moral decline in our society ... (kvetch, complain, more geezerly comments). But Febyouary? Liberry? Two week anniversary? These are the variations that make language interesting.

How about use of "they" as a singular pronoun? As in, "If a citizen wants to vote, they must first register." Let me say that I support this usage! "He must first register" should have been recognized as inadequate since the day that the 19th amendment passed. "He or she must register" doesn't work either. Try doing 40 pages of an instructional manual that way, and it will drive you nuts. "(S)he must register" ? Nonsense. For one thing, you can't pronounce it. "They must register" is the usage we need!

Redigeret: feb 20, 2009, 2:10am

Yes - I've been a secret supporter of 'they' for many years, and use it regularly. It fills a gap in the English language. No one has ever picked me up on this usage, and I have some very picky friends who would not hesitate to pounce on errors of usage in English. They accept 'they' without demur. Thank you jmcgarve - I feel I can now come out waving my banner.

Redigeret: feb 20, 2009, 4:37am

I was taught that you edit that sentence to read: 'If citizens want to vote, they must first register.' My 16-year-old son uses 'he' and 'she' interchangably. I have not been able to get it into his head that you use different pronouns for males and females. I have been trying for at least 14 years. He 'knows' it, but he really doesn't get it.

feb 20, 2009, 11:00am

>285 IronMike: IronMike, you had time to enter 1,051 books in two weeks? Wow, somebody got the LT fever! I am in awe.

feb 20, 2009, 12:00pm

I'm just glad that anyone talks to me. I overlook the flaws in the speech, since none of us are perfect. I learned tolerance in the Netherlands, and find that I am happier overlooking rather than looking for mistakes. Have a great day.

feb 20, 2009, 2:12pm

>287 Thrin:, 288

I kind of like the archaic, "if one wants to vote, one must first register." But it does sound a little affected. Still, if it became common usage, it wouldn't sound affected any more, would it?

feb 20, 2009, 2:23pm

One would think so

feb 20, 2009, 6:53pm

How about: "Been there; done that"? at the estuary?

feb 20, 2009, 9:57pm

How about it?

feb 20, 2009, 10:08pm

>289 grammargoddess: grammargoddess, Yes. I'm also amazed at my 1000+ entries. I've slowed down a bit (entering my books) and I've entered none at all today. Last night I began reading Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair and I am too caught up in the adventures of Thursday Next (the book's heroine,) to enter books for a bit.

I had never heard of Jasper Fforde until I joined LT. Based on the reviews I read here I decided to give him a go, and I've been greatly rewarded. I really love this LT thing.

feb 20, 2009, 11:41pm

Ha-ha, oh yeah, we're also supposed to be *reading* our books as well as cataloging them!

feb 21, 2009, 8:51am

I listened to the audio of The Eyre Affair and the female narrator was fantastic.

Redigeret: nov 17, 2009, 12:18am

In reference to, quite a few postings back, the euphemisms for going to that big x in the sky , I have a friend who always uses "went belly up" instead of the less evocative "died".

nov 17, 2009, 7:37am

At my age (77), although I do get a lot of suggestions from reading the daily obituaries (e.g. "went to the arms of Jesus', etc), I have chosen (depending upon the sensibilities of whomever arranges a funeral or memorial service) "checked in with the big G". Having already arranged, with the Neptune Society, for immediate cremation, I would settle for "ashes spread with the compost on his organic garden"). Q.E.D.

nov 18, 2009, 10:45am

to Naren559 and like thinkers: I really like that last suggestion. I don't have an organic garden per se, mine would more likely be "ashes spread in her pine trees".

nov 18, 2009, 11:32am

I have heard "Back at ya."

nov 18, 2009, 1:11pm

Oh! This death discussion just reminded me, I want them to play "Another One Bites the Dust" at my funeral! I'd better write that down somewhere so I remember when it's time to write a will.

nov 18, 2009, 8:29pm

#301 "Back at ya"...... What does it mean?

nov 19, 2009, 2:39am

> 303 "Back atcha" (which it's more generally pronounced around here), is pretty much the same as "Same to you." Just a little social remark, meant to acknowledge some friendly comment.

Redigeret: nov 19, 2009, 11:58am

In "expiring", one has no friends; You're all alone. Everyone else is just standing around feeling schadenfreude.

nov 23, 2009, 12:22am

I freely admit that I have not read every single post from the beginning of this topic; so if someone else has already brought this up, they have have my apologies.

I have reached the end of my rope with the ubiquitous use of "there's" when someone means "there are" and "where's" when they mean "where are".

Also, these two little words: had went. Those two should work like opposite magnetic poles.

nov 23, 2009, 8:56am

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

nov 23, 2009, 6:59pm

According to Seth Lerer, a professor of linguistics at Stanford, in his lecture series, The History of the English Language, with the Teaching Company (, the over use of such apostrophes, is just laziness, not to mention just plain lack of ordinary grammar sense, such as who for whom, etc.

nov 23, 2009, 8:00pm

I was taught - and I was at school in the pre-deluvial times - that one was allowed to say 'weren't', 'can't' etc but NEVER, NEVER write them; we always had to write 'were not' and 'cannot'.

nov 23, 2009, 10:24pm

>309 pinkozcat: Surely an exception could (and must) be made if one is writing dialogue. I may write "cannot" but I more often than not, in casual conversation, say "can't."

nov 23, 2009, 11:30pm

309> Why stop there? Cannot is so informal. You should write "can not" instead.

nov 24, 2009, 2:08am

LOL - and yes, in dialogue it would probably have been OK but we didn't do that sort of interesting stuff.

On the internet I do my own thing but in formal letters I get more formal and correct; it is a generation gap thing.

nov 24, 2009, 12:57pm

#299ff regarding that final trip hometown's historical society reports the deaths of members in its quarterly newsletter under the heading "Promoted to Glory".

No one has mentioned double negatives, have they? Those make my lip curl. My current pet peeve, however, is the phrase "We're back after these messages", which seems to be standard now for TV hosts. I guess in the 21st century everything happens in the present tense.

nov 24, 2009, 3:57pm

@282 I'm sort of relieved to see someone else with a weird quirk like this (avoiding saying February because it sounds so weird). I hate the word "twelfth", I can't pronounce it, and no major event that I can choose the date of will ever be on the 12th of the month. (Because you get to pick so many of those dates, eh? My wedding day was the 9th of the month, and barring suicide, I'm not likely to get to pick any more...)

A recent sign that went up ALL OVER my building, in multiple uncorrected iterations, regarding absolutely interminable and noisy and messy construction: "Thank you for your patients." I fixed them. All. Angrily.

nov 24, 2009, 6:05pm

314 > "Thank you for your patients."

Only if you work in a hospital ...

Redigeret: nov 24, 2009, 7:23pm

#314 Thank you for your patients

Reminds me of the time that the government was building a secure forensic unit at our local psychiatric hospital. I used to drive past it every day and was bemused by the sign marking the building work. It said:

"Western Australian Government. Building for your future."

nov 24, 2009, 7:54pm

@315 Sorry, by "my building" I meant the one where I live. There are no patients here.

nov 24, 2009, 8:51pm

Overheard yesterday: "I don't read much, I'm a more visual person." Huh?

nov 25, 2009, 10:21am

>318 Thrin:
Perhaps they read aloud to themselves.

nov 25, 2009, 10:29am

From an obituary I read in the morning paper: "she was a vicarious reader". Voracious, perhaps??

Redigeret: nov 25, 2009, 10:32am

No, she listened to audiobooks! :)

Edited to point out that I am in a VERY silly mood.

nov 25, 2009, 11:52am

I've just joined Library Thing today and have spent a happy hour reading through this thread and agreeing with most of it. Just to add my fivepence worth, 'burglarize' with a 'z' just to compound the sin. What's wrong with the verb 'to burgle'. 'Burglarize' indeed!!!

nov 25, 2009, 12:44pm

>322 artandrabbits:
'Burglarize' was the original form. "To burgle" is a back-formation from "burglar."

nov 25, 2009, 10:08pm

A New York Times thread made some mention of "no prob" as a peeve. And quite a lot of mention of the use of "no Problem" as a response to "Thank you". Of course there is no semantic reason for saying thereʻs no problem, if you are thanked for something: Who said there WAS a problem? None of the posters (except me) seemed to think "Youʻre welcome" is just as far off base, semantically. Why do I have to assure you Iʻm youʻre host and youʻre my guest, if you thank me for something?

A peeve I have --not a very important one, since it doesnʻt make the meaning ambiguous -- is saying "problem" in Spanish -- and getting it wrong ; "No problemO". (2nd syllable rhymes with "tame".) Why end the word with an -o, to masculinize it when it is masculine anyway, despite its feminine appearing ending?

nov 26, 2009, 4:44pm

Roland, Happy Thanksgiving,

Could you say a few more words about the inappropriateness of 'You're welcome?' I've heard complaints about it but never fully understood them. I have, of course as a native speaker, assimilated 'You're welcome' as the official response to 'Thank you,' but I realize that may be some idiomatic thing.


nov 26, 2009, 5:48pm

Hi Robert:

Happy hanksgiving!

On "Youʻre welcome", Iʻd like to have an unabridged dictionary at this point; my Websterʻs Collegiate doesnʻt tell me anything I didnʻt know. It puts the usage as a reply to "Thank you" behind the traditional use, which I think is short for "Your arrival is a good thing." ("Arrival" = the com- element; and "wel-" is the adverb of "good".) I suppose that this usage is much older than the reply to "Thank You" usage, but I donʻt know the chronology of it.

What I questioned was why the "Your arrival is a good thing" phrase makes an appropriate reply to "thank you". No more and no less appropriate than "No problem", I would say.

French, Spanish, and (Iʻve read somewhere) Hebrew phrases that = ʻYouʻre Welcome" essentially mean that what youʻre being thanked for is "nothing". "Of nothing" in Spanish, and the rather far-fetched "of which there is nothing" in French. (Sp. "De nada"; Fr. "il nʻy a pas de quoi".) The cryptic Italian "Prego" is evidently short for "I beg you NOT to thank me." The Hawaiian equivalent is, literally, "Just not a thing, in regard to you" (Mai mea wale aku oe).
I donʻt suppose that A French or Spanish speaker really feels that what he/she is being thanked for is "nothing". An Italian doesnʻt really feel that heʻs "begging" for anything in saying "Prego". These phrases become formulas and lose most of their original meaning.

Awkward as the above are, they are more logical than "youʻre welcome" (to my mind) and
certainly more logical than "no problem".

I donʻt have any personal objection to "Youʻre welcome", nor even to its threatening successor "no problem." I wrote elsewhere that I DO object to the pseudo-Spanish "no problemo".

nov 26, 2009, 5:58pm

Thank you. I guess you are narrowing 'welcome' down more than I. I have no problem, for example, with 'you are welcome to try.' So 'you are welcome to presume upon my charity' works too.

My problem with 'no problem' is not so much that it is illogical but that it is usually wrong (that's why thanks were offered) and because it is facile at a time when some minimal solemnity is called for. Your foreign examples show that my first objection doesn't matter internationally. My second objection is a sort of crankiness.


nov 26, 2009, 6:16pm

TO Mr.Durick:

Youʻre welcome!

Yes, the "you are welcome to try" usage is still a 3rd one, according to Wenbsterʻs Collegiate, apart from the traditional "Welcoming (a guest)" and
the "thank you"-reply. And they quote Thackeray to justify it.

nov 26, 2009, 6:29pm

What about: 'Thank you'. Reply: 'Don't mention it.'? Just thought I would mention it. Of course it means 'There's no need to thank me', and is not a command.

nov 27, 2009, 6:36pm

To me, both 'Don't mention it' and 'No problem' fit into the 'it's nothing' spectrum - much better than 'You're welcome' (btw, the etymology is "You are well-come" - yes, "Your arrival is a good thing").

Redigeret: nov 27, 2009, 6:51pm

As interesting as etymology is, it is not the source of meaning. Usage is the source of meaning. We credit Wittgenstein for that, but it seems to me almost self-evident. So 'welcome' perhaps has had usages added since it was 'well come.'


nov 28, 2009, 1:49am

Well, if literal meaning is irrelevant, then the complaint that "no problem" doesn't make sense is beside the point.

nov 28, 2009, 12:10pm

>332 jjwilson61: I don't think it's the literal meaning per se that is the issue with "no problem." I think it's the fact that the expression -- as a response to "thank you" is likely no more than a few decades old, probably around 1960, well within the living memory of many. "You're welcome," on the other hand, dates back to at least 1900, and has been taught to small children for generations, along with "please" and "thank you." I don't think anyone deliberately teaches "no problem." It's much too colloquial.

nov 28, 2009, 6:56pm

Here in Australia the phrase is "No worries" which, of course, means the same thing, that the service hadn't overtaxed the person being thanked.

nov 28, 2009, 7:07pm

People seem to need meaningless noises such as 'You're welcome', 'Uh-huh', and 'Have a nice day', just to signify the end of a verbal exchange.

At the other end of an exchange, 'How are you?' has always seemed to me to be insincere and irrelevant, but now the phrase has been augmented (at least in the UK) with 'Alright', normally rendered as 'Orroight?' People don't even seem to realise that they've asked a question, and would be shocked or puzzled to receive an answer. Things do get worse, it seems ...

nov 28, 2009, 7:26pm

Clifford, when I worked, people would call on the telephone and, to start things off, phatically ask me, "How are you?" I would most often answer, "Beleaguered." On the thirteenth, though, I would say, "Triskaidekaphobic." I came up with other terse and accurate responses from time to time.

I think maybe 'no problem' falls into the idiomatic category and may be phatic. I think my main reasons are as I mentioned above and are exacerbated by my crankiness. And jj I think you have a point in 332, although I would not say that the derivation of a word is its literal meaning. Literal meaning is not all that we convey in words.


nov 28, 2009, 9:36pm

"How are you?" drives me crazy too. The checkout chicks in Woolies used to always say it and I used to complain that "Hello" would be better and less intrusive. I notice that "Hello" is what they all say now, so I must have been one of a crowd who found it offensive.

I used to be tempted to actualy tell them how I was, at length, but never quite had the courage.

Robert, I like your approach.

nov 28, 2009, 10:35pm

No, the etymology isn't the (current) meaning - often it's completely unrelated. I just think it's fun to think about what the word/phrase _originally_ meant, related to what it means today.

I've known a few people who would actually answer 'How are you?'. And they usually got shocked stares - it fell into the category of 'when I am an old woman I will wear purple...' as most of the answerers were older and enjoyed talking, to anyone about anything...

nov 28, 2009, 11:42pm

'How do you do?' was the polite thing to say upon first being introduced to someone when I was a gal. The response, naturally, was 'How do you do?'
Sigh..... Things were so simple then.

nov 29, 2009, 12:35am


Me too. From a very early age I was schooled to shake hands and say "How do you do" when introduced to someone.

nov 29, 2009, 4:07pm

Perhaps rather than the omnipresent "No problem" in response to a "Thank you," the least offensive response would be "I'm happy to help." Two of my teeth-grinding, most hated words that are used way too often are "irregardless" and "heighth." I wince as I write them.

nov 29, 2009, 5:43pm

I sometimes use replying to "how are you" to initiate a somewhat more realistic exchange:
How are you?
Not that great, really. How about you? etc.

nov 29, 2009, 9:29pm

#341 My grandmother, who was as near to a natural lady as anyone I have ever known, answered "Thank you" with a nod and "I was pleased to do it". Similar to your suggestion.

nov 30, 2009, 2:47pm

What drives me nuts about "how are you" is that some people are so used to saying it, they insert in a conversation when it's already past that point.

I work in public service. I often greet people who approach with, "Hello, how can I help you?" to be answered with "how are you?" It always throws me, because then I have to say, "fine, thank you, how can I help you?" And I really hate to repeat myself. But it seems to be some kind of verbal tic - they can't start a conversation without "how are you". Annoying.

nov 30, 2009, 6:00pm

For me the verbal tic is adding "and you?" to my response to "How are you?" I know this seems normal and polite, but when it's a waitress or cashier, I always get that *blink blink blink* before a response.

But really, I mean, "How are you?" requires an answer. I kind of prefer "What's up?" because it's more versatile - on one hand, you can say "Hey, 'sup?" and they'll tell you what they wanted to tell you, but on the other hand, you can walk past an acquaintance and if they say "'Sup?", all you have to do is nod, raise your eyebrows, and say "Hey, 'sup?"

nov 30, 2009, 6:21pm

" ʻSup?" has the added advantage that, if said to someone who is into archaic English, it can be taken to be a verb inviting her/him to an evening meal.

nov 30, 2009, 6:29pm

Roland - that could just as easily be a disadvantage... say it to the wrong person and they show up at your house at dinnertime!

dec 3, 2009, 5:45pm

My own response to "How are you?": "OUtstanding! Anything less is whining."

dec 4, 2009, 1:41am

To ambushedbyasnail:

#347: Exacrly; Iʻm afraid* I said "advantage" with tongue in cheek.

*b t w isnʻt "Iʻm afraid..." a possible pet peeve?. Are we really in fear of anyhting that we preface with "Iʻm afraid. . ."

dec 7, 2009, 5:50am

Try "actually".

dec 7, 2009, 6:04am

I'm afraid to be the only one on Earth who cannot properly read rolandperkins's messages: I get a square (ʻ) whenever (s)he uses a single quote ('). Am I really alone? Does anybody know how to fiddle this on IE?

dec 7, 2009, 9:23am

Pepys - in #349 there is a typo and an extra full stop but otherwise it looks OK to me.

dec 7, 2009, 11:55am

349: In terms of "I'm afraid" -

A few years ago I was typing up course evaluation sheets for my dad, and came across the best misspelling ever: interfear. Since then, every time something's scary or disturbing, I say it interfears.

dec 7, 2009, 2:18pm

To. Pepys (#351):

I donʻt know how that happens. What you put following "square" in your post comes out on my screen as a single quote in parentheses! So I was wondering why a "square" is followed by a single quote in parentheses.

Whatʻs worse, re-reading my last post, I donʻt
even see that I used a single quote. I used double quotes twice and an asterisk once.

dec 7, 2009, 2:19pm

To. Pepys (#351):

I donʻt know how that happens. What you put following "square" in your post comes out on my screen as a single quote in parentheses! So I was wondering why a "square" is followed by a single quote in parentheses.

Whatʻs worse, re-reading my last post, I donʻt
even see that I used a single quote. I used double quotes twice and an asterisk once.

Redigeret: dec 7, 2009, 4:17pm

355> The single quotes are in the contractions - I'm and isn't (hard to see, aren't they?). I don't have the problem with you, but I've seen it before. Your computer, for whatever reason, is using curly quotes instead of straight ones - ’ (that's & #146; , take away the space between the ampersand and the pound sign to make the symbol) instead of ' (& #39;).

If you're writing in a word processor and copying to LT, this sometimes happens - MS Office is totally enamored of curly quotes. You can kill that by fixing AutoCorrect not to change them. If it's just coming out in the text field on LT, it's probably the code page you're using for your keyboard - when you hit the quote key, it reads it as a curly quote. And Pepys' code pages don't contain the curly quote at all, so he/she gets the 'not a symbol' square whenever you use it.

ETA - Oh, weird. I guess you're not using that code - I get a square on & #146; (and & #145;) as well, but not on what rolandperkins is using. Well, same discussion applies, just I don't know what code you're using. And when I go back in it's a curly quote rather than the code, and saving that lets me see the curly quote (not the square)...very odd.

dec 7, 2009, 9:19pm

Let us just be "punctual".

dec 8, 2009, 5:14am

#356: Thanks. I don't want to be a nuisance, and I apologize for the time you spent to investigate the problem. But I begin to understand what happens. Funny that my square was sent back to here as a '. I copied/pasted it in the original message from rolandperkins; I should have thought about what could happen...

BTW, typographically speaking, "straight quotes" introduced by computers are a nonsense. I think their use comes from the time when computers weren't used as word processors, but only for command line purposes. (And nobody cared then if they were straight or curly.) But typographists insist on using curly quotes.

Since we're discussing peeves here, I must say that I'm very sensitive to straight quotes in a word-processed text, especially when I copy/paste passages coming from different computers. They are disgracious to my eyes; I must avow that I sometimes try to replace them by their curly equivalents...

dec 8, 2009, 5:33am

Oh,that's funny - I hate curly quotes and will replace them with straight quotes in any bit of text I'm hanging on to - partly because of code problems, but largely because they look better to my eyes. Each to his (/her) own...

And no problem (hee hee, wrote that without thinking), I enjoy investigating computer oddities.

dec 9, 2009, 4:13pm

Although I do use a lot of quatation marks for emphasizing "snide" or semi-snide word placement. I also think that they were originally only meant to indicate actual quatations; but, then perhaps I am being too "punctual."

dec 9, 2009, 5:22pm

#68- I should not have read your posts while manning the reference funny!

Redigeret: dec 9, 2009, 5:33pm

I live in West Virginia now and have heard some good ones, for example:

"I seen the mailman down the street." Instead of
"I saw..."

"The shelves should go all the way acrossed the wall."
Instead of "across..."

"I need to warsh my clothes." Instead of "wash."

Last but not least, I got this question when I worked in a clothing store:
Customer: "Do you have this shirt in a different collar?"
Me: (confused) "We have t-shirts and polo shirts, etc."
Customer: "No a different collar, collar (emphatic now holding up other shirts).
Me: (light bulb moment) "Oh different COLOR, yes we have that in a different COLOR."

The last two are more of an accent thing but it still drives me crazy!

dec 9, 2009, 5:37pm

360> Also known as Sneer Quotes.

dec 9, 2009, 5:47pm

Ohhh, here's one that drives me absolutely nuts: "Close the lights."

While we're at it, why don't we turn off the door?

dec 9, 2009, 7:48pm

Whereas, it is quite common to say :"Take me to the store", in east Texas, one requests: "Carry me to the store.".

In the San Joaquin Valley (California): "Almond Joy" is pronounced as "Ammin Joy."

dec 14, 2009, 11:16pm

My thoughts on this thread, in no particular order:

1: "Hey, Mr. Cunningham!"

2: Actually, going forward, we are restructuring and hopefully this will result in less complaints.

3: "He's in the Marine Corpse!" she said.

4: I went to stay by her house but I forgot to close the lights before I left.


dec 15, 2009, 12:06am


Reminds me of when I worked in a psychiatric hospital where I used to read in the medical notes all about the men who had 'prostrate' problems

Redigeret: dec 22, 2009, 6:40am

Long ago, I noticed a propensity, in my own conversations, to use "favorite words". or phrases (e.g., "no problem") and to adopt variations on cliches (such as "you too"--instead, in reply to "have a nice day", my reply: "you also"). Even now, my self- censure tells me "stop trying to be cute": Whereas, I noticed, that my reply to "How are you?": "Outstanding--anything less is whining" was becoming a bit overworked, To mollify myself the, that I am not the only one to "wordify", now, when I watch movies, I end up counting over-used words or phrases (e.g. Emma Thompson's "actually", in Last Chance Harvey or David Bamber's "I flatter myself", in Pride and Prejudice. When I was 15 (circa 1948), I caught this, in the word "obvious--obviously" and this began my new fetish. Of course, we "sailors" (early 1950s) did over-work any number of four-letter obscenities. In my academic experience, when to used "zeitgeist" in a thesis' the chairman humiliated me, by implying that I was trying to show-off (and I was). Thus began strict scrutiny of word use in academic papers and bureaucratic memos (during my government tenure). Recently, a friend asked me to "edit" his daughter's petition for entry into Northwestern's graduate school (linguistics). She had liberally sprinkled the verbalization of "transition--transitioned" through9out the paper. Otherwise the petition was extremely well thought out. So my only caution was such a "cute word" was good only once in a paper and even then I cautioned its use as a verb. I do hope that I am not alone in this fetish.

feb 14, 2010, 6:01am

356: The single quotes are in the contractions - I'm and isn't (hard to see, aren't they?). I don't have the problem with you, but I've seen it before. Your computer, for whatever reason, is using curly quotes instead of straight ones - ’ (that's & #146; , take away the space between the ampersand and the pound sign to make the symbol)

No, it isn't. & #146; is not a graphic character, which is why you get a square. The correct code for the single quote is & #8217;

feb 14, 2010, 6:03am

{Oops...didn't notice this thread was months old...}

feb 14, 2010, 8:46pm

When I first began reading Le Ton Beau de Marot, by Douglas R. Hofstadter, I was struck by something he brought out in the use of quotation marks (") around words to emphasize sneering usage. That I had actually been doing just that without realizing it. Thus have I retreated from this, via self-censure.

Redigeret: feb 14, 2010, 11:59pm

369> That's OK, that's one of the great things about LT - a conversation can lapse for months and then start right up again with new thoughts and/or new participants.

The code I put in is the HTML for ASCII curlyquote (I searched for 'ascii curly quote' and got this page as my first response). Where (what coding system) is 8217 from? And why would it need to be a graphic character to show up? {confused}

BTW, you can edit your posts any time you like - on your own posts you'll see a pencil and an x in the top righthand corner, which will allow you to edit or delete the post (it doesn't go away entirely, the header is left and a statement that the post has been deleted). You do have to be careful with it, though, so that a conversation continues to make sense - if you delete a post or a line that someone commented on, it looks very odd. Strike code works, as does commenting that you've edited to add/change {whatever}.

Um. Obviously I've been spending too much time in Welcome to LibraryThing! group - hadn't realized you'd been on longer than I have! But it did look odd to me that you made a new post instead of editing your old one.

feb 15, 2010, 1:09am

FWIW, I did edit my old one! For whatever reason it made a new post.

8217 is the Unicode codepoint for the typographic single-quote (usually given in hex: 2019). 146 is a control character in all standard ASCII-based encodings (Microsoft put characters in those positions, but Microsoft nonstandards are to be avoided). By "graphic character" I mean a character which has a graphical representation -- like "A" -- not just "picture" characters; obviously a character that doesn't have a graphical representation -- such as the control character at codepoint 146 -- can't be displayed in any very meaningful way.

feb 15, 2010, 1:28am

Huh, OK. I use HTML codes for various things - including displaying HTML in Talk posts! - but usually use the letter codes like & amp; and & gt; rather than number codes, so probably just haven't run across the code conflict. And thanks, now I understand what you meant by graphic character - I thought you were saying that curly quotes weren't graphic characters.

If you use the browser back and write in the box that you already submitted, it makes a new post. I've been caught by that a few times! I've never had it make a new post if I clicked the pencil.

feb 16, 2010, 9:40am

In hoc signo vinces!

feb 16, 2010, 5:14pm

In this signal conquer? Related to codes and graphics characters?

:) Neat, now translate and explain...

feb 16, 2010, 5:30pm

In hoc signo vinces is the motto of Pall Mall cigarettes. Although I was normally a three pack a day smoker, I got up to five packs a day for awhile, of Pall Mall golds that is.


feb 16, 2010, 8:56pm

"Now I'm a fella, with a heart of gold, with the ways of a gentleman, I've been told; but I've just gotta have another cigarette. Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette. Smoke until you smoke yourself to death; then tell St. Peter at the Golden Gate, that you hates to make him wait, but you just gotta have another cigarette."
More Doctors smoke Camel cigarettes than any other cigarette. "The "T" Zone--Taste and throat." Ain't that just glamorous? Marlboro man and all?

feb 16, 2010, 9:05pm

Really..shouldn't that be "in hoc stinko vincies"?

Redigeret: feb 17, 2010, 6:38pm

Somehow, I cannot help but look upon someone, who smokes, as having a somewhat weak character. They began smoking to conform with something they perceived as cool or glamorous and even continued upon learning that they might end up dying of lung cancer (e.g. Arthur Godfrey and the Marlboro Man); because they are now addicted. So much for "classy mottos".

feb 17, 2010, 7:05pm

I think that that is a dangerous oversimplification. Cool maybe, oral gratification certainly were reasons I started to smoke. By the time I quit I had to deal with multitudes of causes not least of which was addiction. If I had not dealt with most of them, first of all by admitting to them (denying the idiot who says, "Well everybody knows you smoke for one reason..."), I would not have been successful; I was heavily addicted and could have used any excuse or habit to get me started again. That I haven't smoked in over twenty four years is a sign of some competence on my part; I have felt an urge to smoke a few times a day every day in those years.

The people who still smoke I assume either to be stupid or severely addicted. I don't feel that either can be held fully accountable.

So the sign in which I conquered was the truth about my addiction and my fears.


Redigeret: feb 17, 2010, 9:22pm

Dangerous? Oral gratification, quite Freudian. It's all perspective. See "Nietzsche's Presence in Freud's Life and Thought: On The Origins of A Psychology of Dynamic Unconscious mental Functioning" by Ronald Lehrer Available at 3 new from $28.956 used from $23.98. Sorry for the commercial.


feb 18, 2010, 12:39pm

I've smoked for six years. I've tried to quit several times and it hasn't happened yet. I do not have a weak character. I spent twelve years of my life thinking about suicide every single day and never once gave in. And if I picked up a couple addictions along the way, it's what I had to do. I'd like to see you try it.

feb 18, 2010, 4:09pm

ambushedbyasnail, here's a pet peeve phrase I hear at some meetings I go to, "Keep coming back; it works." While others overload it with pious and self-righteous adumbrations, I add, "for some people." Nevertheless, I am one of the fraction for whom 12 steps have worked, including in my smoking, but, God, was it hard.


feb 18, 2010, 7:54pm

#383 Although I cannot presume to have a "strong character", however, I did try it, circa 1952, in U.S. Navy (suicide that is) and was unsuccessful; subsequently, I did try smoking cigars (not very glamorous), but was unsuccessful in that also (the next morning my mouth would taste like the whole Russian Army had marched through it bare-footed).

feb 20, 2010, 4:43am

>65 Euryale: I was told that when you 'oriented' something you turned it to face the east (the orient) and when you 'orientated' something you aligned it. So according to that 'disorientated' is the correct word unless you are actually going to face west instead.

feb 20, 2010, 8:05am

#384 Your reference, to the "it works" comment, brings to mind my own response to the question "Do you believe that?"; to which I can only reply: "No; I don't believe in a damned thing, however I do believe in never using the word 'believe'; it's too 'on/off'; whatever works."


feb 20, 2010, 11:24am

65, 386>

When one is "oriented," one knows which direction is east, no matter in which direction one is facing. When one is "disoriented," one does not know which direction is which.

According to my OED, "orientated" is a back formation from the noun form, "orientation," so I'd guess it's the same case for other "-tate" and "-tated" words.

feb 20, 2010, 1:32pm

I "hesitated' thus did not comment.

feb 21, 2010, 7:32am

Its usage seems to be declining these days, but I used to hate hearing 'At the end of the day ...'. Now it just makes me sleepy.

feb 21, 2010, 10:26am

How about: "In conclusion"?: or "When It's all over"?. Maybe just plain "Who cares?" As for anything soporific, I"m all for it, especially after retiring for the night.

feb 25, 2010, 10:14am

#388 - Oh god, I must never be oriented, then... the only time I know which direction is east is at sunrise... and even then I'm not so sure!

feb 25, 2010, 12:39pm

The sun rises over the East Pole. It sets on the West Pole.

Redigeret: feb 25, 2010, 1:35pm

>393 Naren559:
I thought it rose over the North Pole and set over the South Pole. ;)

feb 25, 2010, 3:58pm

A friend e-mailed me yesterday reminding me that I rant against the use of 'acronym' to mean abbreviation. Have I mentioned that before? Nevermind, I am mentioning it now.


feb 25, 2010, 10:07pm

Although, I develop personal acronyms as gnomonic prods to aid my failing memory, I would imagine, that many "abbreviations" are sometimes also acronyms. As I recall, a Navy installation, at which I was emplyed (circa 1972) A.R.A.D.M.C. (Army Aeronautical Dempot Maintenance Center), morphed into the acronym ARADMAC. Then the military has always been a source of acranyms, e.g. "radar", "fubar", etc.

mar 2, 2010, 11:12am

My favourite acronym is the veterinary DMITO - 'Dog More Intelligent Than Owner'!

mar 2, 2010, 6:13pm

A very UN-favorite is "cancelled" when the speaker
means "postponed". (Or vice-versa, lbut I don't
think many say "Postponed wheni it's really cancelled, but I've heard "cancelled" quite a lot when it's really "postponed, but I don't know the new date".)

mar 3, 2010, 6:02am

How about "No longer in use."?

mar 4, 2010, 9:33am

I would like to address the misuse of the lowly pronoun - small in letters, but so necessary to a sentence. I am very weary of hearing sentences such as "Him and I went to the store" or "It was given to her and I." Perhaps I'm a purist, but I will unceasingly defend the correct usage - and forever cringe when I hear pronouns abused.

mar 4, 2010, 11:44am

#400, Unfortunately, it is all too easy to identify an uneducated or a semi- educated individual by his or her misuse of the subjective and objective personal pronouns. Perhaps i am somewhat of a snob when I usually avoid continuing contact with an individual who does just as you indicated.

Redigeret: mar 4, 2010, 1:23pm

Oh, pet peeves; where to start?...

Using the future tense instead of the conditional, and the conditional instead of the future tense (maybe that's a local problem?);

Using "bring" instead of "take". Correctly: Dad will take our son to school, and I will bring him back home;

When an air hostess announces "We will be landing momentarily", it gives me the giggles - I wonder momentarily if we will only touch down for a few seconds before taking off again;

When people don't say 'on' when they are talking about a day. On Saturday, I will explain this;

When people say 'Lore' instead of 'Law', or 'MischEEv-I-ous' instead of 'Mischievous;

When people use the present tense instead of the past tense;

When people use singular verbs instead of plural.

etc., etc., etc. ...

By the way, "you" is second person plural in English, also used as second person singular with respect (compare French 'vous' if talking to, say, a grandmother). Otherwise, second person singular is "thou".

edited to add:

You could reply "My pleasure" to "Thank you", instead of "You're welcome", if you'd prefer. It's less dismissive of thanks than "No problem".

mar 4, 2010, 5:06pm

In Texas, the second peron plural , "y'all", however, I avoid this by addressing more than one person as "you people".

mar 4, 2010, 6:32pm

In phrases on the formula: "X-ing is ONE thing, and Y-ing is quite ANOTHER" -- to leave out the Y-Part of it is a peeve. E.g.: "Negotiation (x) is ONE thing, BUT . . ." and then get on with your defense of the argument, rather than saying "Negotiation (x) is ONE thing, and appeasement (y) is another." The Y-phrase is supposed to be understood without being said. ANd, I guess it usually is, so this isn't a case where the "peeve" affects the meaning. And making the meaning ambiguous is the main source of my being "peeved" with "bad" English.

I could live without any use of the above formula, correct or incorrect; and also without speeches that begin with: "X is ALL VERY WELL, BUT....." This is at best a condescending reference to X, and the speaker doesn't really think that X is "very well" at all. So I would just as soon be spared the condescendingness.

I consider the above merely bad, aawkward style, not "bad English".

mar 4, 2010, 7:34pm

When people say 'Lore' instead of 'Law'

How can you tell which they're saying, if they don't write it down?

second person singular is "thou"

You realize this is 2010, not 1610, right?

mar 4, 2010, 8:55pm

I suppose it's a pronunciation thing. And as a linguist, I have to say, it's a bit iffy to get really upset about things like lore vs law that are really more of a dialect issue than a "correctness" issue. It's sort of like getting mad at the Brits/Americans for spelling things "wrong" - it's not "wrong", it's been quite long-established as a difference in regional style.

mar 4, 2010, 9:42pm

#402: It took me so long to realize mischievous and mischeevious were the same word.

I would definitely not hold out for universal use of the word thou, though. I use it with my mom, but we kinda speak our own family dialect. One that includes the word "strugglicious."

mar 5, 2010, 4:49am

Our Federal Minister for Education in Australia has just announced that in future school children will be learnt grammar.

Oh, dear!

mar 5, 2010, 10:07am

#405 - I keep hearing trailer announcements for "Lore rand Order".

- I just came across this thread & read all the way from the beginning, a year and a half ago; the second person plural v singular v 'y'all' discussion kept coming up regularly

Another pet peeve is when my husband doesn't use an 'and' in a list; he always says things like "We'll go see" instead of "We'll go and see". I realise that a lot of Americans also do this, but he is not American!! I'm always left waiting for the next part of the sentence ... what - he'll go, see and come back and report?

mar 5, 2010, 11:12am

I was enthused by all the publicity supporting Laura Norder, but then I found she wasn't on the list of candidates.

But then I always stay indoors when I hear a weather forecast of Apache Rain over parts of the country.

It's part of our autocue culture. If the reader of the rubbish can't be bothered to make sense of it, why should we?

mar 5, 2010, 1:09pm

Oh, you may be excused, for being enthused, just do not be orgased. People do talk!

mar 5, 2010, 6:47pm

Another teeth-grinding moment for me is the misuse of infer and imply. The simple formula that the speaker implies and the listener infers is apparently not as universally known as I'd thought.

mar 5, 2010, 7:34pm

The speaker also may "suggest" and the listener may "gather".

apr 20, 2010, 8:31pm

ref #7

What about the closely related (to my ear anyway)
"It is not to worry" ? You hear that from Indian English speakers worn down to "Not to Worry"

Strangely enough, yiddish speakers have been known to say "It is not to verb" in English, but as far as I know that's not a yiddish construction, i.e. they would not say the equivalent when speaking yiddisn. Go figure.

apr 20, 2010, 10:57pm

As in "no sweat"

apr 20, 2010, 11:09pm

#414 - I hear "Not to worry" all the time but have never heard "It is not to worry." Or did you mean they add the "it is" part in Indian English?

apr 21, 2010, 10:24am

#1 deals with this in "no problem".

apr 21, 2010, 10:55am

#414, #416

"Not to worry" is a very common phrase and isn't peculiar to Indian English speakers. It was widely used by English English speakers when I was growing up. I've never heard "It is not to worry" from either Indian or English English speakers.

apr 21, 2010, 4:30pm

ref 416

The older generation, generally native English speakers who also spoke yiddish growing up, can be heard to say "It is to laugh" , meaning that something is laughably foolish.

I think I've heard "it is not to worry" before I heard (mostly in England) "Not to worry" and then (mostly from Ozies ) "No worries".

apr 21, 2010, 4:31pm

And by the way, I first heard "my bad" from Buffy (the Vampire Slayer, that Buffy).

apr 21, 2010, 5:09pm

I heard my first "my bad" from one of the characters on the show Scrubs. I had to go to the urban dictionary to figure out what it meant.

apr 21, 2010, 5:14pm

#1 My mom's favorite phrase is "No problem." lol. I have heard her say that so often to her friends (never to me), I think she subcontiously instilled in me a false perception of reality. When there is a problem, I tend to ignore it, or forget about it, pretending that there is "No problem."

apr 21, 2010, 11:22pm

Something that drives Mrs Bear bonkers is the new usage
of "folks" where "people" used to be.

She'll cry out "Aren't there any more people? Why are all the politicians calling people 'folks' ? Is the consitution written for 'we the folks', or what? "

Redigeret: apr 22, 2010, 5:29am

#423 I know there's no law that says it should be so but we in the UK were astonished when George Dubbya referrred to the 9/11 bombers as 'these folks'. To us, 'folks' sounds rather friendly and cuddly and a bit as if he were talking about much loved relations. Maybe he was.

ETA _ And 'my bad' makes me want to hit people. Starting with that bloody Buffy.

apr 22, 2010, 7:24am

GW, our linguist in residence, here in the Fort Worth/Dallas "community), was, no doubt feeling cuddly, over the 9/11 perps, as they ensured his reelection, in 2004; then we had "Mission accomplished!"

People, who say "my bad", are also, in effect implying that "I also am cuddly", therefore, "you should overlook this gaffe."

apr 22, 2010, 9:33am

424> Be careful...Buffy hits back.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2010, 2:19pm

As I recall, from my childhood, in Long Beach, California (circa 1930-40s), that "Buffy" became the nickname of the matriarch of Buffums Department store chain. see: Buffum's - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, which eventually was swallowed up, in a good capitalistic free-enterprise manner, by one of the larger chain department stores. During her time, Buffy wielded the usual Southern California political money to put that area solidly in the system to eventually support the rise of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and an assortment of like-minded nut cases.

apr 22, 2010, 11:00am

I think it's comical when the argument-starved widen their nets to include forums that are not political in nature. Something about arguing politics regularly seems to make people over-confident of the value of their opinions. :D

apr 22, 2010, 12:54pm

I have lots of pet peeves. I can't remember now, but some of them must be words.

Redigeret: apr 22, 2010, 1:03pm

Luckily, I have no pet peeve phrases. It all depends who is saying what during when. Although I have dropped my false teeth in the toilet bowl several times, and thought of burning down a whole town when old Latino men called me "mami."

apr 23, 2010, 8:47am

>405 PaulFoley: what sets my teeth on edge is to hear people on TV animal programmes talking about squirrels and things "norring away"; it is so common I had to go and check the pronunciation of "gnawing" in my dictionary to make sure I do it properly.

apr 23, 2010, 3:32pm

"Anymore people want things to be fast and simple."

I'm so flabbergasted by this usage of "anymore," which I guess is Pennsylvanian but seems to have carried over into Ohio, where I'm living now, that I usually can't even identify how it's used and what's wrong with it. But I heard something like the above recently.

Anymore I want people to stop using this word incorrectly? But no, that's not the right incorrect usage. I really don't understand! Can somebody from PA jump in and explain it to me?

apr 23, 2010, 3:41pm

>432 ambushedbyasnail:
I've heard "anymore" used that way in NW Indiana all my life.

apr 23, 2010, 7:47pm

>432 ambushedbyasnail:
"Positive anymore" is well-known to linguists studying language change, and is pretty widespread. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and don't remember ever hearing it until I was an adult, but now I hear it reasonably often. In that usage, "anymore" means the same thing as "nowadays" or "these days". If you can substitute one of those for "anymore" and have it sound right, then that's the "right incorrect usage".

But no linguist would consider that usage "incorrect"; it's just a new usage. Traditional "anymore" is a negative polarity item, meaning it has to be used with a negative in the same sentence (e.g. "I never go there anymore" or "I don't talk to him anymore"). In this new usage it means pretty much the same thing, but it's no longer a negative polarity item.

Redigeret: apr 23, 2010, 8:27pm

Well, I certainly learn something new nearly every time I visit LT.
432 ambushedbyasnail: I had no idea what was meant by your example Anymore people want things to be fast and simple. 434 dkathman has explained it though. Thank you. Not sure I understand the linguistic explanation, but I don't need to; understanding the usage is the important thing.

Something that's annoying me at the moment (and I'm certainly no pedant) is this sort of thing:

e.g. "Both people didn't understand what he meant."
or "Both Bill and Jim didn't understand it".

Is the neither/nor thing disappearing?

apr 23, 2010, 9:22pm

431> how does your dictionary tell you to pronounce "gnaw"? It's indistinguishable from "nor"

Redigeret: apr 23, 2010, 9:30pm

Paul: re gnaw and nor: I wonder whether it has something to do with USAn English usually pronouncing the Rs at the end of words and Australian and New Zealand English (and others?) usually ignoring them.

Redigeret: apr 24, 2010, 10:09am

>436 PaulFoley: I can't do the phonetics, but gnawing: n - open o - hiatus - ing (no r sound in there). Like knowing but with aw instead of ow. Like crows cawing - you wouldn't put an r in there, would you? Though I have heard drawing prounced droorring.

apr 25, 2010, 10:49am

maybe this is comparable to a "new gnu".

Redigeret: apr 25, 2010, 12:56pm

>436 PaulFoley: Maybe not where you live, but where I do, "gnaw" does NOT have a final pronounced "r" sound. Ever. On the other hand, "nor" does.

apr 28, 2010, 10:07pm

In the midwest, "idea" ends with the sound of "r", as if it were "idear" so I suppose "gnaw" does too.

But here on the upper west side of manhattan, "nor" ends with the sound of "r" but "gnaw" doesn't.

While we're at it what's the story with "will call" ?

I had been living mostly in New York and had never heard of such a thing as a "will call". Then, circa 2001, in the Sourhwest, (specifically, in Durango Co) we went to a concert at the local College's Auditorium. We ordered our tickets in advance by phone, then went to pick them up at the box office.

By contrast, the usual drill, say at a New York Broadway Theater, would be to see a number of windows at the box office, one of which would say "Current Performance", the other(s) might say "Reservations".

At the Fort Lewis College Auditorium, there was a sign
saying "will call". Somehow, my wife who went to High School in America understood at once that that's where we should pick up our reserved tickets.

OK, I said to myself, we've learned a new word today "will call" means "reservation desk".

Imagine my surprise, when a few years later, back in New York, I step into a b'way theater, and there, bold as life, there's a sign saying (yeah, you guessed it) "Will Call".

Was it a westernism that traveled east? Is it a new usage that swept the country when I wasn't looking?
Is it an old usage that I just plain missed first time around or something that somehow was used everywhere but NY, and then NY caved?

Can anybody sort me out about "Will Call" ?

apr 29, 2010, 8:15pm

Will call has been around in the south forever it seems.

apr 29, 2010, 9:43pm

I thought it was an old theater term.

apr 30, 2010, 4:37am

Sort of Off-Topic, but related to Show Business:

Does anyone know when and how the 1950s music style REbop became known as BEbop? (Are they even 2 sequential names for the same style; if not, what ever happened to REbop?)

apr 30, 2010, 8:37am

441: The same "swept the country when I wasn't looking" when I first began to hear "Have a nice day". I had just moved from Sacramento, California, to the San Francisco bay area and I asked around: "Where did this come from?" An answer, was a local morning radio talk show. Now, rather than answer: "You too.", which soon became cliche, I adopted "You also." which I lifted from George Bernard Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell" scene, from "Man and Superman". All words and phrases are well-used ("preowned"?); it's really Hell to keep ahead of just being plain trite.

maj 1, 2010, 2:12pm

Is "Yes!" a phrase? If its over-use which has now become common use peeves you, I just started a Talk for it in this forum.

maj 3, 2010, 7:18pm

I was just thinking, it's kinda sad that we have 446 pet peeve phrases but only 86 words/phrases we love, because, well, they feel so good rolling off our tongues.

maj 3, 2010, 7:39pm

I was appalled the first time I heard an educated person say "I should of done that..." during a presentation, instead of "have". When did of replace have?

maj 3, 2010, 9:38pm

Are you sure he didn't say "should've"?

maj 3, 2010, 10:59pm

How about "Waiting on" instead of "waiting for" ?

I'll just hang a wait on this semaphore, ... UGH!

maj 5, 2010, 7:58pm

I am often surprised to hear someone say that he/she is waiting "on line" to go into a venue or at the grocery store. I'd grown up hearing "in line," so perhaps it's a regional difference.

maj 6, 2010, 7:32am


"anythink" from someone with a university degree.

I was tempted to ask her how she spelt the word.

maj 6, 2010, 7:45am

When did of replace have?

Long enough ago that that was considered a tough question on TSWE when I was taking it.

Redigeret: maj 7, 2010, 10:38pm

How about "group think"?-- usually created from watching TV.

maj 8, 2010, 3:44am

Wasn't that coined in 1984? I'm pretty sure it appeared in there, not sure it was the first time. But it has the right sort of sound.

maj 8, 2010, 7:39am

Actually, it does sound somewhat Orellian. Perhaps George Orwell was psychic and could foretell the future as found in "Capitalism, a Love Story".

maj 13, 2010, 7:12am

>452 pinkozcat:

'Anythink' is arguably part of the 'Estuary Speak' dialect in England, with a variant of 'anyfink'. I'm always tempted, when asked in a shop, if I need 'anythink else' to reply 'No, but I am definitely looking for thick kelse'. But I don't really enjoy looking at blank incomprehensive faces.

maj 13, 2010, 7:32am

#457 Don't even try it. I've spent too many years trying to resist the urge to go into a shop and ask for a long felt want (or a round tuit) - they wouldn't understand.

maj 13, 2010, 8:52am

458: Try buying fork 'andles!

maj 13, 2010, 8:59am

Okay - it's entirely irrelevant but my own comment about the long felt want reminded me of a (male) friend who was looking for something to cover a card table and went up to a rather stuffy woman in a large department store to ask 'Excuse me, where can I get felt?' It amused me anyway.

maj 13, 2010, 5:45pm

My father, freshly back from Afghanistan (long ago, before the Russians came in) was looking for barbecue skewers. He went into a hardware/household goods store, walked up to a female sales assistant, opened his mouth and forgot the English for skewers - what came out was the Afghan - "I need some sekhs". And he couldn't remember the right word! He ended up fleeing the store.

maj 21, 2010, 12:48pm

"Like I Said". inserted in various conversational bits, to me, is extremely irritating.

maj 21, 2010, 2:52pm

One of my least favorite conversational inserts is "To be honest." Really? Does that need to be affirmed? I am also in a constant war with the use of two words made into one non-word like guesstimate and flustrated. I fear that the constant usage will find them in the dictionary someday soon, if they haven't already made it.

maj 21, 2010, 5:43pm

Guesstimate is a very valuable word indicating something between a guess and an estimate.

And "to be honest" conveys something about the state of mind of the speaker; that he is opening up more than he usually would. So I feel that the phrase is at least occasionally useful.

maj 21, 2010, 6:44pm

" ʻTo be honestʻ Really? Does that need to be affirmed? "

Unfortunately it sometmes does need to be affirmed. It also may be taken by the hearer as a sign that the speaker is NOT being honest, unfair as that estimate may be. At the least, it shows a feeling in the speaker that the hearer probably doesnʻt trust her/him.

Itʻs somewhat like a denial of a concern. As the Arkansas senator who was a defense witness in the Clinton impeachment trial, said about the prosecutionʻs assertion that "this is NOT
about sex": "ever hear any one say "this is NOT about money"? When they tell you "this is NOT about money" -- itʻs ABOUT money!"

maj 21, 2010, 7:00pm

People don't need to lie not to tell the truth. Evasion, of say personal questions, is not dishonest. Euphemism can be reckoned as polite as it is dishonest. And so forth.

So a person having come off a euphemistic run, because it was egregious or because he was pestered, can use that phrase appropriately.

I still don't like the sound of it, though.


maj 21, 2010, 10:01pm

"To be honest?" Was everything else you said "dishonest?"

maj 21, 2010, 10:04pm

You're being overly literal.

maj 22, 2010, 6:21am

This "being overly literal", evolved from my very charming late mother-in-law's "Now, I'll tell you the honest truth." I could not help analyzing the possiblities of interpretation in this such a statement.

maj 22, 2010, 6:25am

Okay, we're all pedants here so someone has to ask - can you be overly literal? Either you're literal or you're not. You surely can't be 'a little bit literal'?

maj 22, 2010, 6:46am

a ʻPet Peeve" put in the form of a Trivia Question:
(In other words, why donʻt people just say (A, B, C, or D) in place of "Not REALLY!" ?

Semantically, the closest answer to the answer "Not REALLY!" is:

A. Falsely B. No

C. Not necessarily D Probably

maj 22, 2010, 9:56am

To sum up, with a cliche, "That's it!"

maj 22, 2010, 11:54am

470> And if this were the Pendants' Corner group I wouldn't have said that, but I don't think you can assume that all lovers of language are pendants.

maj 22, 2010, 3:33pm

Seriously - is there a pendants' corner group? I would feel utterly smug identifying myself as a pendant. I do think that all lovers of language share a commonality in a life-long love of books and, by extension, the correct use of words. I am frequently amused by the euphemisms commonly heard, such as "little girls'/boys' room" - didn't they become restrooms when we left elementary school?

maj 22, 2010, 3:45pm

Where have you been all this time, pdebolt? Here is your spiritual home -

maj 22, 2010, 4:00pm

474> Oh, and I thought you were going to make a joke about the typo - being a pendant is pretty, but not all that useful. Of course, being a pedant is fun but most people wouldn't call it useful either - but phooey on them!

BTW, at 476 posts - maybe it's time for a new thread?

maj 22, 2010, 5:29pm

Wow, booksloth - I've just joined; and it is ,indeed, called Pedants' Corner. I stand blissfully corrected - thank you for the heads-up. Wonder what else I may be missing??

maj 22, 2010, 6:27pm

Perhaps someone might be interested in starting a jewelry/pendant group for pendantophiles, who wear kinky jewelry?

maj 23, 2010, 4:23am

The phrase which is getting to me at the moment, from our esteemed Prime Minister, is "Let me tell you this".

As if we could stop him.

Redigeret: maj 23, 2010, 7:42am

#477 Hi pdebolt - you'll like it there! Did you get it wrong? I'm deeply ashamed to say I hadn't noticed - you must have taken my radar unawares when I was wandering through other, less obsessed, groups.

maj 23, 2010, 7:31am

This is such an old common peeve of so many people that I hesitate to talk about it again but yesterday I heard an interview of a guy who claimed to have been a school principal for 11 years and would you believe it he said "you know" in at least every other sentence. I can tolerate that in an illiterate sports star who was too busy on the sport field to learn to talk but in a school principal? I'd hate to be in his school and have to listen to him...

maj 23, 2010, 7:50am

#481 I think that says it all about all of these annoying phrases, words and pronunciations. If you never went to school that excuses you. Even, in my book at least, if you went to school, learnt the correct way and then choose to mess with language in your everyday speech that's also up to you. If, however, it is your job to teach others and you are wearing your 'teacher hat' at the time, it is just sloppy.

Similarly, there is a difference between playground language and the language you use in front of your maiden aunt. When I was at school we learnt that the language we used among ourselves was not necessarily the language we used in front of our parents. Mostly, that referred to swearing but it doesn't stop there. If someone wants to punctuate their language when chatting to their friends with 'innit' or 'y'know' that's fine; it's when they start using it in their job applications that it becomes a problem. With teachers like the one Schmerguls cites, how are the students to know the difference?

Redigeret: maj 23, 2010, 8:06am

In "socializing" my two adolescent sons, here in Texas, my conversation, to them, and when they were present emphasized a more formal English. We do not say such things as "I'm fixen to"; instead we use variations on "I'm about to, or I intend to", etc. We only use "fix" for repairs and mending.

maj 23, 2010, 11:52am

483, that'll be good for them when they leave Texas. When are yall fixing to go?

maj 24, 2010, 4:50pm

>474 pdebolt:

I tend to think that only 'little girl's rooms' become 'restrooms'. 'Little boy's rooms' have always been 'lavatories'. For me, this explains why women tend to spend much longer standing in line ...

They're there for the 'rest'.

maj 24, 2010, 7:14pm

>484 Collectorator: Once Rick Perry is deposed and Tom Delay is imprisoned, we intend to expire next to the Arlington Cowboys' stadium.

maj 24, 2010, 7:29pm

#485 The "rest," of course, is the rest of the stuff that women must need do in there, none of which, except perhaps primping one's hair, is not done by men; indeed, some of it cannot be done by men, not even by cross-dressers.

maj 24, 2010, 9:16pm

In the Navy, it's called the "head"; In rural areas, "out-house"

maj 29, 2010, 4:11pm

Here on our own beloved LibraryThing: We must of heard the same interview?

The end of the world is nigh.


Redigeret: maj 29, 2010, 7:00pm

>489 Mr.Durick: Have you read the latest mailing of LibraryThing: State of the Thing? I almost used my red pencil on the screen. I hope someone writes in about this!

your non-LibraryThing friends can follow you're reading

Is there a missing "what" before "you're" or does the writer not know it's "your?"

Oh, dear.

maj 30, 2010, 12:51am

A majority of my so-called peers are lazy when it comes to English, so I have quite the list of pet peeves (and I know that a lot of these have been said already; I suppose I'm not very unique in what irks me). The ones I can think of off the top of my head are "legit" in stead of "legitimate", or, more irritating, "legitly" in stead of "legitimately", much in stead of many, got in stead of have, nothing in stead of anything, sentences where the verb takes the number of the last noun said, and each or none with a plural verb (though I know that there are some instances where this is correct, it still annoys me).

Redigeret: maj 30, 2010, 12:46pm

Not to mention 'very unique' - sorry;-) Or 'in stead'.

maj 30, 2010, 9:25am

or maybe "like I said"

Redigeret: maj 31, 2010, 12:37am

Not to mention 'very unique' - sorry;-)

Reminds me of a telephone survey which I agreed to participate in. The surveyor would read out a statement and I had to choose from four options - very incorrect, incorrect, correct and very correct.

I pointed out that it was not possible to be more correct than correct and we parted on rather unfriendly terms.

Edited because ther whole post didn't appear.

Redigeret: maj 31, 2010, 6:45am

#494 Good for you, pinkozcat! Quite apart from the grammatical sloppiness, that was far too poorly worded to yield any useful answers to the survey anyway and sounds like an extremely amateur attempt. Most reputable survey compilers have to jump through hoops to ensure their questions are clear and cannot be misinterpreted and that particular one would have been completely pointless as far as rendering any useful information is concerned. They needed to get back to school to study both their English and their methodology.

Ed because I just cannot see my own typos until the final post!

maj 31, 2010, 8:41am

I've got two pet peeves:
1) "..and stuff like that". I think if one added "or whatever" to the end of their sentence, the effect might be similar. Perhaps that's fair enough in some situations, but I've heard it far too many times in academic presentations (by students) and lectures (by lecturers).

2) All catchphrases ever used by Bruce Fortsyth (sp?). I didn't grow up in the UK, and consequently think he is the most obnoxious person ever to have been employed by the BBC.

Redigeret: maj 31, 2010, 9:09am

#496 (2) I did and I agree.

ETA - Okay, maybe not the most obnoxious (they also employed Jim Davidson once upon a time) but a contender.

maj 31, 2010, 10:24am

Apparently, as a function of age, there are phrases that slip into every-day conversation, of which I only come to "accept" after the are obviously well-established, (e.g. "sorry about that" and already mentioned "have a good day"). Whereas, up to the age of my late twenties, we did watch the TV news and that vocabulary was quite acceptable, then, due to the oppressiveness of Viet Nam war news, we ceased seeing any TV news (however, we did turn it on, in 1974 to watch the Watergate Senate hearings and to enjoy Nixon's various squirms.) Now, as I watch these various "thesaurus additions", I must occasionally go on-line, to Wikipedia for translations. I still do not accept the contemporary uses of "awesome"; even though O.E.D. traces it back to the 1500s.

maj 31, 2010, 10:41am


maj 31, 2010, 10:46am


maj 31, 2010, 3:34pm

On 498:

"Awesome" isnʻt among my favorite adjectives, either.
Possibly one reason it came into use was to replace "awful", which in the 17th century didnʻt necessairly mean "horrible", and could mean -- well -- "Awesomely" impressive.
Since the "impressive" meaning of "awful" faded out of use, it had to be replaced b y something; hence we have the modern usage of "awesome".

Redigeret: maj 31, 2010, 3:49pm

#498/501 To me, the problem with 'awesome' is one of degree. The word has been devalued to the point where it no longer means 'awe-inspiring' but is just a general term of approval. A mountain range is awesome; your new mobile phone ringtone isn't.

maj 31, 2010, 8:45pm

502> Thus is the fate of all superlative adjectives (that is they become overused and devalued and the hunt is on for a new and better superlative).

maj 31, 2010, 10:34pm

I think I noted elsewhere, that Seth Lerer, Professor of Linguistics, at Stanford, in his Teaching Company lecture series "The History of the English Language", is so adamantly against the use of this (awesome), that, he stated the the only time he sees justification for its articulation is with the apocalyptic appearance of the Messiah.

jun 1, 2010, 12:10am

#496: Would you be okay with hearing "and the like" or "etc."? Is it the word stuff that irritates you, or the lack of conclusion in the sentence?

(I can see how either would be annoying and stuff like that so I thought I'd clarify or whatever.)

jun 1, 2010, 1:09pm

Use of "extenders" (etc., eg., et Ali, what ever, and the like) seems quite acceptable if one can assume that the listener is aware that the subject being extended is understood.

jun 2, 2010, 6:58am

#505 re #496,

It's the phrase "and stuff like that" that is annoying. It sounds to me as if the speaker does not know and/or care what they are talking about. It's, of course, strictly forbidden in academia, and it has become one of the phrases that I can't stand in "normal" life either.

Sometimes people use an example (or several), and then conclude with "and stuff like that". Surely, that's the point of using an example in the first place. For instance,
"Class status is affected by (for example) wealth, education, employment, and stuff like that."

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect is the "that". What does it refer to? Class status is affected by stuff that affects class? Or is it affected by stuff that is like other stuff? Why not say "Class is affected by x,y,z and so on" or "Class is affected by for example x,y and z". Or even, if we want to be fancy, "Class is defined mainly by x,y and z.

Sorry for ranting a bit!

jun 2, 2010, 9:32am

It seems clear to me that "that" in that sentence refers to "wealth, education, employment". "And the like" and "etc." would mean the same thing but sound more refined.

Redigeret: jun 2, 2010, 10:02am

Years ago (circa 1957), I was in a class (City planning), where I first began to notice over-worked phrases; specifically it was "and the like". I did appreciate the professor's lecture pace since it made note-taking so much easier. However, his continued use of "and the like" did give me the impression that he was quite bored with his subject even though he was published and considered somewhat of an expert--quite often consulting--in the field of city planning.

jun 2, 2010, 2:02pm

I agree with the use of 'very unique' - a thousand percent!

jun 2, 2010, 2:23pm

#510 Ah yes, 1000%. I suspect we could run a whole thread on 'X-factor-speak'. Bless those kids - all of 'em giving 'a million percent' on a 'roller-coaster ride' by coming out of their 'comfort zone'. The drinking games are endless.

jun 3, 2010, 9:21pm

We have friends, from U.K., who frequently stop any further arguments with "quite right". I have often wanted to counter with "maybe a little right."

jun 4, 2010, 7:30pm

'Quite' is quite interesting in that the OED goes along with the idea of it meaning 'completely', as in 'It's quite perfect', whilst many people use it in the sense of 'to some extent', as in 'It's quite nice, but ...

I once had a boss who didn't like me using the word in its proper (OED) sense, because as far as he was concerned, its meaning was the 'other' one. This may even be the more common understanding these days.

So Naren559 could actually respond with 'Quite right, indeed', appearing to agree whilst disagreeing!


jun 4, 2010, 9:59pm

on "Quite" (513):

I grew up with the "to some extent" meaning in ordinary conversation (N.E. American usage), and had to learn the "completely" meaning, which I accept as the correct one, in school; Iʻm not sure e x actly at what point in school. For ordinary purposes I can accept either meaning.

Redigeret: jun 4, 2010, 11:41pm

The "It's quite perfect" usage seems quite British to my ears.

ETA: Or maybe just high society.

jun 5, 2010, 9:06am

I apologize if someone has already posted about this, but I hate it when we people make a mistake with something as simple as a greeting-- such as:

"Hello, how are you today?"

"I'm good."

jun 5, 2010, 11:45am

I find that the reply to "Hello, how are you today?" "Outstanding!--anything less is whining". Does initiate many to end up discussing how trite "Hello, how are you today?" is. and possibly intending to be careful of its use in the future.

jun 5, 2010, 4:03pm

"Outstanding!--anything less is whining"

That's annoying as all hell.

jun 5, 2010, 5:06pm

Which brings to mind 'fine thank you' which brings to mind 'fine' which brings to mind waiters and waitresses who ask 'Will that be fine?' I respond, "I don't know that it will be fine, but it should do."


jun 6, 2010, 6:44pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

jun 19, 2010, 8:31am

There is a word longer than many phrases, five syllables, used to mean, "he/she/jerk/man/woman/person/people/killer/suspect etc." by police who call themselves "law enforcement officers."

"Individual." I do not dislike the word, though I do find that our idea of individualism is largely a myth. But, I do like to save it to describe someone who is truely thoughtful.

What I wonder -- would ask any linguist reading -- is what hearing that word constantly describe wretched and cruel, wanted and captured criminals on TV* might do to the word. Is it possible for "individual" to become debased by association with those who use it and are called it.

*On Friday and Saturday night in North-central Florida, we who cannot afford cable are given two or three programs -- half of what is available! -- of sordid police reality: why the hell won't they air reruns of Kids Say the Darndest Things or anything decent!? The other shows may be fat people dieting, pro-wrestlng and a movie or serial already aired at least three times that year.

jun 22, 2010, 12:43pm

>522 keigu:

'character' is a synonym in this usage, I feel. This transmutes the concept of individuality into someone verbally sketched in a dramatic prodiction. Definitely insulting, though!

jun 22, 2010, 3:48pm

"It's a big ask." When did ask become a noun?
"Noirish"; well Mr. Film Critic, is it noir or not? Make your bloody mind up.

jun 22, 2010, 4:25pm

> When did ask become a noun?

Language Log attests that usage from at least 1985 in some contexts ( Much more recently than 'request', and it still sounds very strange to me.

jun 22, 2010, 5:02pm

>522 keigu: That use of "individual" probably originated in bureaucratese as a short way of saying "person acting on own behalf, not in official capacity or as representative of group".

Possible to become debased? Sure, but it won't necessarily. What happens to word meanings is a lot more event-dependent (hence seemingly random) than you might assume. The word "cretin" for example is etymologically a doublet of "christian", but the meaning of "christian" has not been debased by that. "Hussy" is a doublet of "housewife" but the meaning of "housewife" has not been affected. If "individual" extrudes a short form "vigil" or the like, look for a similar split.

jun 22, 2010, 5:15pm

"cretin" . . .a doublet of "Christian" . . .

In the opening episode of a Manuel Azuela novel, if I remember rightly, they hear a noise outside, and someone says, "It must be an animal."
-- "No it's a person (cristiano)!"

-- "Well, if it's one of the Federales, it WOULD be a 'cristiano'! "

The last speaker is making a lame joke on the literal meaning of "cristiano", based on the idea that the Federales were likely to be religionists, whereas the general population was not.

jun 23, 2010, 6:36am

'ask' as a noun.

The OED gives first usage as the 'Laws of Athelstan' a thousand years ago! The most recent in what we would recognise as English is 1781:

'I am not so unreasonable as to desire you to..answer all my asks'.

I find I'm slowly getting used to this one, with the reservation that its usage seems inextricable from 'big', as in 'big ask', and there's a chance we'll end up with the noun 'bigask'!

jun 23, 2010, 6:58am

#528 Where I come from (okay, in my house) we already have the noun 'bigass' - is that close enough?

Redigeret: jun 23, 2010, 10:33am

>529 Booksloth:
I use that form, too, but hyphenated and as an adjective: "there's a big-ass traffic jam in Herald Square."

jun 23, 2010, 12:05pm

#530 In our house it's just a straightforward and perfectly accurate description of me.

jun 23, 2010, 1:38pm

>351 Pepys:
I don't think you're a big-ass traffic jam! ;)

jun 23, 2010, 1:42pm

#532 Thank you - but you haven't seen me from behind;-)

jun 23, 2010, 1:44pm

You're welcome, but you haven't seen me from any angle!

Redigeret: jun 23, 2010, 3:56pm

Isn't bigass, or big-ass, an adjective, not a noun?

jun 23, 2010, 4:54pm

Yeah, I've only ever heard it as an adjective... I think technically it's bigassed, but you don't really hear the "-ed" when it's spoken.

jun 23, 2010, 4:55pm

>535 jjwilson61:
I said as much about my how I use it (the hyphenated version, anyway). See post 530.

Redigeret: jun 24, 2010, 6:19am

If only to get us away from the fuss I've caused by what was meant to be a joke (oh, that English/American humour thing!) I'd like to throw in a phrase that drives me mad though it is so prolific that I don't know if it is now considered the correct American usage - in which case it's not for me to condemn.

It's the widespread use of 'miss not', as in "I really miss not seeing him". No, you don't (unless you now see him a great deal and long for the days when you didn't); you miss seeing him. The OED defines 'to miss' as to regret the loss or absence of and adding the word 'not' indicates that what you miss is not having lost this thing or person.

Ed for typos and to turn off italics

jun 24, 2010, 9:43am

I'd never heard of "miss not seeing ..." until someone wrote about it on a blog I read a few weeks ago. Since then, I've seen half a dozen other posts about it.

(Something I do see a lot of that drives me nuts is "if such-and-such would have happened, something else would have happened" instead of "if such-and-such had happened, ...")

jun 24, 2010, 12:01pm

#539 Oh yes, that's another one!

jun 24, 2010, 1:28pm

I was going to come in to complain about people not knowing the difference between vice and vise, but some research has shown me that they are both spelled "vice" in the UK (and Australia, NZ, and South Africa). I'm suddenly feeling much better about the literacy of many people on the internet. I had been noticing "vice" used where I would use "vise" quite frequently. I'm so glad I looked it up.

Though I do wonder why they don't want to differentiate between two such different words.

jun 24, 2010, 2:31pm

#541 Because it's usually pretty clear by the context that if a co-worker asks if he can borrow your vice, he's not expecting you to offer him a choice between sloth and gluttony

jun 24, 2010, 5:21pm

Well, yes, but having grown up with different spellings, seeing the "wrong" one is still a little jarring. Like seeing "peek" when you know it's supposed to be "pique".

Redigeret: jun 24, 2010, 5:42pm

Novelist/Academician Roswell Ham intentionally had the reader see "pEEk" when she/he might expect to see "pEAk". His title A Peek (sic) in Darien* evoked Keatsʻs famous line "..Silent upon a peak in Darien."

Ham was a (perhaps the last?) male president of an all-womenʻs college, Mount Holyoke, but the novel was not about academica; rather, it was about the suburbia in a neighboring state, Darien, CT.

*as an old part-time proof reader, I canʻt resist a chance to write "(sic)"! I knew already that Touchstones werenʻt going to pick up this title, anyway; but they do recognize the author.
Testing: A Peek in Darien

Redigeret: jun 24, 2010, 8:42pm

#543: is it worse than license and licence, defense and defence, etc., and other such different words that Americans merge into one? (ETA: but ISTM there's better reasoning: "vise" should be pronounced "vize")

I usually see "peak" when it's supposed to be "pique", but at least you can sort of understand that one: the writer is likely thinking that "to peak your interest" means "to cause your interest to peak"...

jun 25, 2010, 1:46pm

>543 timepiece:

These examples you gave are less jarring because they're noun and verb forms of the same concept. Vice and vise have absolutely nothing to do with one another that I can think of. (BTW, I'm finding some of this info on Wikipedia's style guide. Very interesting).

And yes, I do pronounce the tool as VIZE, which is probably another reason I find the identical spellings annoying.

jun 25, 2010, 3:06pm

jun 25, 2010, 10:37pm

And yes, I do pronounce the tool as VIZE

Ah. Is that common? only gives the same pronunciation as "vice"...

jun 25, 2010, 11:00pm

I've never heard vize. Is it a New York thing?

jun 26, 2010, 3:36am

I use it - don't know where it comes from, my dad is Michigander and Mom's from New Jersey, I grew up in Virginia in the US and also in various countries around the world (where I had at least as many British friends as American). But I've always had the pronunciation distinction between 'bad thing' and 'thing that squeezes stuff' - though I'm perennially confused about the spelling. All the words that change from 'ce' to 'se' (defense/defence, for instance) drive me nuts. I know one is British spelling and one American, but which is which...not a clue! (OK, Firefox says se is right and ce is wrong, so I guess ce is the British version...)

jun 26, 2010, 5:12pm

I grew up in the Chicago area, and I've always pronouced the tool as "vize".

jun 26, 2010, 5:19pm

#547 - simply perfect...whatever the source of the leak, I'll pass. Reminds me of a banner across a local church that read: "A good place for hurting people." Apparently before too many sadists could put the venue to good use, it was changed to: "A good place for people who are hurting." The precision of words (and their spelling) should be inviolate.

jun 26, 2010, 8:53pm

"Like I said..." From One, who must continually repeat one's self in arguing.

jun 28, 2010, 12:50am



jun 28, 2010, 6:19am

#554 I hadn't heard that one but it does raise the question, as with so many of these words/expressions, of how these people manage to say it at all. I've just spent some while trying to get my tongue around 'ekspecially' and it's not easy. I often hear people mispronouce words in a way that must have taken years of practice as they don't really flow naturally off the tongue - or not off mine anyway!

jun 28, 2010, 10:08am

Another favorite:

"Drawl,"as in, I'm going to "drawl" a picture.

jun 28, 2010, 11:19am

please don't go into pronounciation. I have some relatives who actually say "knife" and "knee". I mean they do not have any silent letters.
The story goes that when english was introduced (generations ago), it was from a book. The poulation did not know any better and pronounced every letter. They know better now but still do it!

jun 28, 2010, 11:28am

#557 Now that's one I can cope with. As a regular traveller to Crete I spend a fair bit of my life explaining to others who assume I've got it wrong that Knossos actually is pronounced Knossos.

#556 Never heard of 'drawl' for draw either but I have had a good moan either here or on another thread about those people who claim they've been 'drawrring'.

jun 28, 2010, 11:44am

Not sure if this one has been brought up, but the one that drives me batty is:

"I could care less." Oh really. So you mean you care at least a small amount?

"I couldn't care less" is correct, but I see and hear the opposite more times than not.

jun 28, 2010, 3:06pm

In the incorrect "I could care less" the stress has to be on "less" never on "care" or "could", so it the
4 words, as written, cannot be taken at face value.
That is, it's not the usual use of the word "less".

"less", here is substituting for the negative "not" of the correct usage, so that, semantically "less" is a negative here. This obviates thequestion: "Why do
I COULDN'T care less" and "I COULD care less" (emphases added) mean the same thing? The latter, with the emphasis not indicated, appears the same in print, but is not really what is being said.

jun 28, 2010, 8:10pm

#559 - I am SO with you on that!

By saying "I couldn't care less," you're saying "I believe that there is no possible way for me to care less about this subject than I do."

"I could care less" means "I believe there is a possible way for me to care less about this subject than I do" - which inherently means you do care, and possibly a great deal.

Redigeret: jun 29, 2010, 2:21am

On 561:

Weʻre getting into The Meaning OF Meaning
here (which I donʻt claim to have read).

I agree with your "translation" of "I couldnʻt care less" in paragraph 2.

For the resons described in 560, I donʻt agree with
your par. 3, although that, too, is a literal translation of "I could care less". I donʻt think it "means" "I believe there is a possible way for me to care less about this subject than I do." Any more than if someone says, "I ainʻt got no money" do we think he means "I do have some money" ? Weʻre kidding ourselves if we do. The main reason I doubt your par. 3 meaning is that it isnʻt the speakerʻs meaning. In general I believe things mean what the speaker intends them to mean, even when it goes against an accepted standard. It is fun to "translate it" into its literal meaning, I admit. Iʻm not saying there should be no standards or that itʻs all right to break them. But an obvious broken standard can be perfectly comprehensible.

The kind of "bad English" I object to is the kind that leaves the meaning ambiguous. E.g., saying
something is "cancelled" when itʻs really only
postponed -- or vice versa.

jun 29, 2010, 10:07am

When speaking with someone, who is a native of some other language, e.g., Spanish, Chinese, etc., I have come to realize that "current metaphors" are usually not understood, thus a more detailed explanation becomes necessary; by the time, I reached my seventh decade, of life, I also became aware that current, younger generations' metaphors were frequently unintelligible to me, thus, some girl tells me: "He hit on me!"; this took a little further explanation. Alack!: the function on aging.

jun 29, 2010, 11:33am

>556 IWantToBelieve:, 558

Oh, that reminds me of another one I've been seeing a lot lately: draw instead of drawer. And these are in print, not aloud, so it's not a slurring of the end sounds.

jul 1, 2010, 8:24am

It'd have to be, since there isn't any difference in the sounds :)

jul 1, 2010, 8:57am

Darlings, this thread is nearly 600 messages long and nearly impossible to load. What if one of the most peeved of you starts a new thread, and links over to it from here?

jul 1, 2010, 11:26am

>565 PaulFoley:: Really? No difference in sound between 'draw' and 'drawer'? Because I pronounce 'drawer' more like 'dror', with a clear final R. There is a very distinct difference between the vowel sounds as well. (Where is my IPA font when I need it?)

jul 1, 2010, 11:37am

#566 Takes me about half a second to load but if you want to start up a new one, varielle, I can't see anybody objecting.

jul 1, 2010, 1:39pm

Booksloth - please do. When I started this topic, I had no idea it would cover so many diverse thoughts...and I hope it will continue. I have no idea how to connect it to a new one, so thanks in anticipation of your help.

Redigeret: jul 1, 2010, 2:41pm

New thread created, Pet peeve phrases II. Go fill that one up!