2010's most hated words, malapropisms, eggcorns, acyrology, spoonerisms, etc.

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
2010's most hated words, malapropisms, eggcorns, acyrology, spoonerisms, etc.

Bottom line? Not so good to go

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I asked for it, and you delivered. On Christmas Eve, I invited you to say what annoys you most about the misuse of English today. The response was almost overwhelming: I could fill the entire winter's columns with your pet peeves. Thank you for your righteous indignation, your grammatical rage, your grumpy eloquence. From the few hundred suggestions I received, here are 10 winners -I mean, 10 losers.

A Girl Like I is the title of Anita Loos's autobiography--a gesture to her most famous creation, the grammatically inept (or is it brilliant?) Lorelei, "authoress" of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  I don't have a problem with it.

I've noticed a marked increase of "gladhanding" on the radio and in various publications lately. Colour me suspicious.

Any other curmudgeons want to get in on the action (sic)?

Unionist

"May" for "might". "Might" is still right.

ETA: I admit there are many subtle distinctions and grey areas, but that's why I love this one.

 

Unionist

Ok, here's another one - just a personal peeve - TV or similar host introduces guest, saying: "Give it up for ..."

There are precious few performers/speakers for whom I would give it up.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Evan Solomon introducing his show: "You are where you need to be". The most annoying, stupid phrase I've heard in a while.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

"May" for "might". "Might" is still right.

ETA: I admit there are many subtle distinctions and grey areas, but that's why I love this one.

 

Not to mention "may" for "can".

al-Qa'bong

Unionist wrote:
Ok, here's another one - just a personal peeve - TV or similar host introduces guest, saying: "Give it up for ..."

Your host is a close relative of she who says, "We have to leave it there..."

A new one I've heard on Leafs radio broadcasts (and I love listening to Jim Ralph and Dennis/Joe Beyak/Bowen) on a daily basis is "...from an 'X' standpoint...."  This "standpoint" seems to have become the new "in terms of."  The bottom line is that they have to elevate their discourse in terms of their lexical choices.

Sineed

Only doors need "closure," and only sometimes.

Jingles

I've noticed a trend whereby someone who must describe something cannot do so without throwing out a "basically". Basically, it's basic that basically basic things should be described as basic, basically.

If you must describe something, don't try to dumb it down. And if what you are describing, then leave the basically out of it.

Basically
.
Ha! Now you'll all be noticing it everywhere, and it'll drive you nuts.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"You know...." No, I don't know, and please stop assuming I do know - you know?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"Eh" What's that, eh?

al-Qa'bong

Jingles wrote:

  Ha! Now you'll all be noticing it everywhere, and it'll drive you nuts.

 

Actually, I've noticed "basically" before.

 

Unionist

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Actually, I've noticed "basically" before.

 

Basically, I think "actually" is just as bad.

 

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Actually, I've noticed "basically" before.

 

Basically, I think "actually" is just as bad.

 

Guilty.

Actually, I sometimes look back on what I write and edit them out, particularly if I have more than one in a sentence.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

My verbal tics are "actually," "then" (as in: "a kumquat, then, is a piece of tropical fruit"), "that is," among others.

al-Qa'bong

Unionist wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Actually, I've noticed "basically" before.

 

 

Basically, I think "actually" is just as bad.

 

Et tu, Unionist?

Unionist

Parentheses. I use them way too much, and I'm not alone. A nagging thought tells me they're not proper literary style for ordinary prose (if you know what I mean). When you're expressing a thought (and isn't that a principal function of writing?), you ought to be able to avoid tangents (in the non-mathematical sense) or separate out explanatory passages into separate sentences (or paragraphs), or (perhaps best) avoid them altogether.

 

thorin_bane

Boom Boom wrote:

Evan Solomon introducing his show: "You are where you need to be". The most annoying, stupid phrase I've heard in a while.

Absolutely, you can add, hot sheet, and watchdog if it has sound effect...hell even if doesn't.

al-Qa'bong

Why say "absolutely" when "yes" is such a nice little word?

absentia

forever

as: "...that changed their lives - forever!" (No shit! It might have changed their lives for just fifteen minutes, but then it wouldn't have been a humungous newsworthy event, would it?)

 

going forward

(You're not, ac'shully; you're barely treading water.)

 

devastated

as every town is, all the time, because a soldier*, a policaman, a teenaged girl or somebody was killed

* troops

as in "two troops were killed" No; it was one only corporal and one sergeant - two soldiers: the rest of the troop survived.

 

As for myself: i resolve to use 'well' sparingly - because i can't, in good faith, promise to eschew it altogether.

 

 

Caissa

"can" for "may".

George Victor

"So", what you are saying is...as a preliminary to "gotcha".

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

going forward

(You're not, ac'shully; you're barely treading water.)

Yup, this one's all over the place, and is up there with "...grow our business" in the conservaspeak dictionary.

 

But wouldja believe Shakespeare had Flute say it in Midsummer Night's Dream; Act IV, Scene 2?

"If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes not forward, doth it?"

 

 

absentia

al-Qa'bong wrote:

 

But wouldja believe Shakespeare had Flute say it in Midsummer Night's Dream; Act IV, Scene 2?

"If he come not, then the play is marred: it goes not forward, doth it?"

 

Fine. Let's leave it rest for another 400 years - or use it only where appropriate.

 

Mother Nature.

as in: We've messed up so badly that the long-foretold climate change is manifesting itself all over the globe... Therefore, we will, every chance we get, blame the victim.

remind remind's picture

"the neighbours said he was a good/nice guy"

al-Qa'bong

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Conservatives are trained not to use the language of liberals. Liberals are not so trained. Liberals have to learn not to stick to their own language, and not move rightward in language use. Never use the word "entitlement' - social security and medicare are earned. Taking money from them is stealing. Pensions are delayed payments for work already done. They are part of contracted pay for work. Not paying pensions is taking wages from those who have earned them. Nature isn't free for the taking. Nature is what nurtures us, and is of ultimate value - human value as well as economic value. Pollution and deforestation are destroying nature. Privatization is not eliminating government - it is introducing government of our lives by corporations, for their profit, not ours. The mission of government is to protect and empower all citizens, because no one makes it on their own. And the more you get from government, the more you owe morally. Government is about "necessities" - health, education, housing, protection, jobs with living wages, and so on - not about "programs." Economic success lies in human well-being, not in stock prices, or corporate and bank profits.  

These are truths. We need to use language that expresses those truths.

George Lakoff 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, I agree. Lakoff is a word I hope 2011 has had enough of.

George Victor

Fairness has also come to be a meaningless concept.

absentia

Say "social justice" on a USian forum and they trhrow red paint all over you. It's become a dirty word.

Yes, we absolutely (sorry; no way around this one) have to take back the language; to say what we really mean, rather than what we feel we can get away with in the current political climate. They should not be allowed to frame all the issues.

al-Qa'bong

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Yes, we absolutely (sorry; no way around this one)...

 

Don't be sorry; you didn't use it as a synonym for "yes" after all.

George Victor

Catchfire wrote:

Yes, I agree. Lakoff is a word I hope 2011 has had enough of.

 

Why not return to 1937 and see the same concerns for syntax in the Saul Bellow Letters ,( Viking, 2010) when a 22-year-old Bellow, writing to a magazine editor, shows us the complexity and confusion among young ideologues: "However, if we load the magazine with Bolshevik writers of national reputation... Already the Stalinites have excommunicated (the editor) and pronounced the magazine anathema. Jack Martin, local educational director of the C.P. wrote Harris (the editor) a letter calling him a fascist record, agent of the Gestapo and a few other unoriginal things. It is peculiar how the Stalinites have lost central discipline by spreading themselves through liberal groups. They are scattered so widely ...and every day little  fresh-faced YCL boy scouts come to ask space for the American Youth Congress or United Christian Youth meetings...

"Of course we have not yet lost the CP. For the liberals swarm around us, and as inevitably as fruit flies gather on lush bananas, so do (Earl) Browder's minions flock to liberals."

Running as Communist candidate for President in the 1936 election, Browder won 80,195 votes.

Marvelous how a word or name can come to be so easily dismissed in an anti-intellectual atmosphere, lacking any conception of the history of a word, like 'liberal' - or a name like "Lakoff" -  and finally having all the effect and meaning of a fart in a windstorm.

You have "had enough of"  the name Lakoff? I have had a bellyful of empty, post-modernist, ahistorical  rhetoric.

 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

Marvelous how a word or name can come to be so easily dismissed in an anti-intellectual atmosphere...

 

Well, I think you're marvellous for not dismissing Lakoff, considering how his article is published in commondreams.org, which you have a history of dismissing outright.

 

It's a splendid turnaround, and you should be commended for it.

Sineed

"FML."

"Sheeple."

"Boot camp" (when referring to an exercise class. Includes its more egregious cousin, "Booty Camp").

Calling genitalia, "junk."

"Pene" - you'd think most people wouldn't want a shorter word for this.

"Douchebag" - very popular in 2010, and aggressively over-used in all sorts of situations.  Though I confess a fondness for Joe.My.God's variant, "Douchenozzle."

Putting an apostrophe before the s in a pluralized word - is it just me, or was that especially common in 2010?  Even bigger than the perennial "its" and "it's" confusion.

al-Qa'bong

Maybe I'm hanging around with computer/tech. types more than I used to, but I keep hearing  problems referred to as "issues."

And what's with starting sentences with "Being as...?"

Unionist

Sineed wrote:

Putting an apostrophe before the s in a pluralized word - is it just me, ...

No, it is also I.

 

Sineed

Unionist wrote:

Sineed wrote:

Putting an apostrophe before the s in a pluralized word - is it just me, ...

No, it is also I.

 

Eye no its write because my "spelchek" tolled me sew.

Unionist

Absolutely, I'm good with that.

 

al-Qa'bong

The bottom line is that you were cognisant of them from a comprehension standpoint.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php]Lake Superior State University's Annual List of Banished Words[/url]

VIRAL

EPIC

FAIL

WOW FACTOR

A-HA MOMENT

BACK STORY

BFF

MAN UP

REFUDIATE

MAMA GRIZZLIES

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

I'M JUST SAYIN'

FACEBOOK / GOOGLE as verbs

LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST

Ripple

It is what it is.

thorin_bane

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Quote:
Yes, we absolutely (sorry; no way around this one)...

 

Don't be sorry; you didn't use it as a synonym for "yes" after all.

Yes is not a replacement word for 'I agree completely' but absolutely can. Tongue out

Unbiased

Every politician and pundit has added "Going Forward" to their list of must use words for the last three years. Everytime I hear it I cringe.

On another note 'Boots on the ground" bothers me a lot too.

 

jas

Beginning every response to a request for information with "So..." as if you haven't just been asked a question; or as if, for example, on broadcast media, your interviewer has interrupted you in the middle of a story.

Fidel

"Conspiracy theorist" is wearing thin for me. It's as if everyone and their dog is trying to smear the most democratic governments ever. Comrades, the meters on government bs detectors zero-out with transparency and accountability to the public. It's all about freedom, baby, yeah!!

BillBC

The one that makes me gag is "lay" for "lie," as in "go upstairs and lay down."  A new one that I'm seeing more often is the phrase "bored of," as in "I'm bored of that show," instead of "bored with."

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

"Incentivise". 

I don't generally get into a "they should be lined up and shot come the revolution" mindset, but I do when it comes to people who use that verb. 

al-Qa'bong

Are babblers disinterested in this topic, or is it merely flying under the radar?

jas

Something I've noticed on American TV and I think sometimes Wiretap, using the word "with" without an object, as in: "Want to come with?" [..me?"] "Why don't you come with?" [...us?"] With the tonal emphasis falling on "with".

Where did this come from? It's irritating in a way that also compels you to try it in your own conversation. And then you feel stupid. But you will probably do it again.

And I think it's going to catch on in a really irritating way. It will probably turn into one of 2011's most hated turns of phrase. You saw it here first.  

Fidel

Yeah when I read the word wiretap, I tend to conjure up images of some creepy guy out on the telephone poll in front of some poor slob's home and patching in to his phone line with a belt full of tools for the job. That's not the way they do it anymore. Modern  techniques are much more sophisticate today. It's much, much easier for the feds to spy on the lives of millions at a time. In fact, it's what they do. "Wiretap" makes it sound like just another case of the good ol' boys foiling bank robbers and stuff. It's creepier than that.

jas

Just to be clear, Wiretap is a show on CBC radio. Smile

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

jas wrote:

Something I've noticed on American TV and I think sometimes Wiretap, using the word "with" without an object, as in: "Want to come with?" [..me?"] "Why don't you come with?" [...us?"] With the tonal emphasis falling on "with".

Where did this come from? It's irritating in a way that also compels you to try it in your own conversation. And then you feel stupid. But you will probably do it again.

And I think it's going to catch on in a really irritating way. It will probably turn into one of 2011's most hated turns of phrase. You saw it here first.  

 

This isn't really that new.  It's slang coming from teen speak circa late 90's to early 2000's.   If you want to blame tv for bringing to the forefront blame Buffy the Vampire Slayer.   They used it quite a bit on the show.   Well at least enough that when I read this comment I heard Buffy's and Willow's voice speaking the words.

MWK

My most hated word of the past year is "stick-to-it-iveness." What's wrong with "persistence, or even a nice clause: "the ability to stick to a task?" Writers and speakers should read George Orwell's essay, "Politics and the English Language." (www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm).

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