Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bad English

Over the last few years, as standards have fallen and the populace has been seduced by marketers into being the weak-brained sheep that we are today, I have observed many a word and expression that is being used incorrectly. I've been meaning to capture them somewhere, and here is as good a place as any. I might also throw in unnecessarily fancy words that are over-used. That happens a lot.

Used In Error

  • squash instead of quash
  • ferment instead of foment
  • Pacific instead of specific
  • Asterix instead of asterisk
  • would of / could of instead of would have / could have (with thanks to Inexplicable DeVice for the reminder)

Unnecessarily Complicated

  • utilise instead of use
  • administrate instead of administer

General Horrors

  • "As well," at the start of a sentence
  • Using the word "literally" for emphasis (e.g. "I was literally climbing the walls." You were? Have you recently been bitten by a genetically modified spider?)
  • Use of the non-word "irregardless", the bastard offspring of "regardless" and "irrespective"


david said...

You didn't mention that
all but one of these confusions
are homonyms or near-homonyms.

I think some slack can be cut
here: those committing these
felonies are less weak-brained
than merely ill-read.

I always get confused myself
between a homonym and a
houyhnhnm - the latter being
the noble horse-like creatures
in Gulliver's Travels. The
savage humans, in contrast, are
known as yahoos. Internet historians take note.

Although Gulliver's Travels
is known as a satire, it actually
is the most spiritual book
(along with Moby Dick) that I know.
They both capture something above
the human condition that we can
aspire to.

Qenny said...

I never ended up with a good idea of how I would pronounce houyhnhnm. I know it's meant to sound like the noise a horse makes.

Personally, since being obliged to thrown myself off a galloping runaway mare last year, my favourite noise made by a horse is the sizzle as you put a slice of it into a frying pan.

David, I have to say, I'm loving your very short hard line break comment style. It makes the whole thing look like poetry.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Specific/Pacific: It makes my blood boil when 'people' (and I uas the term loosely) say "Pacific" instead of "specific".


And "would of" instead of "would have".

Oh, and "Hello". Thanks for visiting my place - I assume you arrived via the (nearly) always delightful Fuckkit?

Qenny said...

Oh, yes, "would of" is another terrible one. The first time I saw that in print, I almost gagged.

I'm not entirely delighted at another trend that I've noticed sneaking into UK journalism, that of beginning a sentence with the words "As well, "

Qenny said...

Oops - meant to add, I think I got to you via Fuckkit, although it might have been via the delightful Lee at Glitter For Brains.

Just had a varda at your profile, and it looks like we have very similar tastes in many things. Smoke and Mirrors, what a marvellous collection of stuff that is. I think I've bought it three times because I keep lending it or giving it away. And I rate so many of the films on your list of faves.

And you're in Norwich. I'm currently working up here. It's a small world, innit?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

"As well," is highly irritating...

I noticed from your profile the similarities. I couldn't put Smoke and Mirrors down when I started to read it. I only bought it because I was bored - a great collection.
I think I'll be adding The Fifth Element to my favourites - seeing it in yours has reminded me.

Your post about getting lost in Norfolk was most amusing (not for you, I imagine) - it's easily done.

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