Grumpy old wordsmiths

Jo
John Dodds
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:28 pm
Platform: Windows
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:25 am Post

I' like to see a TV show called Grumpy Old Wordsmiths, so we could moan about abuse of language. Lynne Truss would be on it, of course. I'd like to kick off with words and phrases I would like to see banned from forums like this one. Or we could have this as a thread in itself.

Top of the list: IMHO. It took me a while to discover it means In My Humble Opinion.

I dislike it for two reasons:

One: it's an abbreviation, whose meaning only the initiated know.

Second: it makes the author sound like Uriah Heep. "I'm terribly sorry to offer my opinion, guv. I'm not worthy to express any sort of view. But here you are anyhow."

Any other grumpy old (or young) wordsmiths care to pitch in?

PJ
PJS
Posts: 1184
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:05 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Upstate New York

Mon Jan 28, 2008 3:45 pm Post

A first-response list, most of them, I think, Americanisms:

"fun" used as an adjective;
"like" used as an all-purpose interjection;
"said" NOT used, in two separate situations --
-- in the quick-speak of the young, who tend toward "and he's like so I'm like" when they mean "he said and I answered"
-- in passages of dialogue from writers who try to impress me with "she stated" and "he averred" and so on.

Phil
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

User avatar
antony
Posts: 905
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:50 pm
Location: England
Contact:

Mon Jan 28, 2008 4:03 pm Post

Grammar abuse irks me as much as the next cranky old writer, but Internet acronyms are a misguided whipping boy, IMHO ;)

They evolved out of the need to make one's intentions and inflection clear back in the days when [a] the Net was a pure-text medium, and [b] modem speeds were only slightly faster than walking across the Atlantic, so conservation of characters and typing time was important. I agree they're overused nowadays, but the original context for them excuses their use, I think. Even nowadays, and here on this forum, how many times has someone's intent or mood been misinterpreted because of the limitations of conversational text?

$0.02, TTYL...
Antony Johnston
antonyjohnston.com

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:28 pm Post

I wish I was grumpy enough to join in this thread :cry:

Ah well

vic
As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

User avatar
Juddbert
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:08 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK

Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:43 pm Post

Gotten. What is that? Please don’t tell me it’s the past participle of get; that plinth is already occupied by got. Gotton! What a particularly ugly expansion. Just typing it feels like handling faecal matter without wearing gloves. It makes me cringe. :x
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

Scrivener 3.1.1 on macOS 10.14.
Occasional player of the old Scappleodium...

Hu
Hugh
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 12:05 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: UK

Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:28 pm Post

Not so sure about "gotten" - on this side of the pond, have we really gotten rid of it ("ill-gotten", anyone)? And it also introduces a possibly useful distinction: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/aue/gotten.html

Anyway, blame our ancestors who used it freely and conveyed it Stateside - probably the Pilgrim Fathers. :wink:

One of my particular sources of resentment is "hopefully" used in lieu of "I hope". But, dolefully, I think the battle there is lost.

User avatar
kewms
Posts: 5643
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:39 pm Post

Juddbert wrote:Gotten. What is that? Please don’t tell me it’s the past participle of get; that plinth is already occupied by got.


Sorry, but got does double duty as the simple past and past participle. It's overworked, and the language has gotten it some help.

Katherine

User avatar
Gareth
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 1:31 am
Platform: Mac
Location: NZ
Contact:

Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:04 pm Post

On the net, overuse of :D :shock: :roll: :cry: :lol: :wink: :twisted: :evil: etc

Pip pip!
Now available: The Aviator - a speculative fiction involving airships, AIs, and the elixir of life (which is cheese), set in a world being hammered by climate change - The Burning World. "Brilliant and wickedly satirical" - Sonny Whitelaw.

User avatar
KB
Site Admin
Posts: 20718
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:23 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Contact:

Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:11 pm Post

Okay, this DRIVES ME NUTS: in SE London, no one uses the word "to".

"Can I go toilet, Mr B.?"
"I'm going club, Mr B."

Go toilet? GO TOILET? Even my three year-old goes TO THE toilet, for crap's sake. It's not just the kids, everyone around here does it. Grr. Every day I have conversations like this:

"Can I go toilet?"
"Sorry?"
"Can I go toilet please?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"TOILET?"
"What about it?"
"Can I go toilet, please, Mr. B."
"I don't understand you."
"Can I go toilet?"
"Can you go toilet? I don't know this verb, 'toilet'."
Rest of class: "Can you go TO THE toilet!!!" (All of whom say exactly the same bloody thing when they come to ask. Besides which the answer is "no" anyway. Go at bloody playtime.)

Oh, and there's a pub in Sydenham called The Two Halve's (sic).

And while I'm on the subject: "innit" and "isn't it". As in: "I had a great day, innit?" Or: "They were really doing my head in, isn't it."

Hmm, I think I need to get out of London...

Best,
Keith

User avatar
Juddbert
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:08 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK

Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:26 pm Post

kewms wrote:Sorry, but got does double duty as the simple past and past participle. It's overworked, and the language has gotten it some help.

Katherine


Urrgh... that feels as though I'm shaving with a bastard file. The language has gotton it some help? Do you really think so Katherine? Oh dear.


:( (Singular - with due deference to Gareth's sensibilities)
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

Scrivener 3.1.1 on macOS 10.14.
Occasional player of the old Scappleodium...

User avatar
vic-k
Posts: 7135
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:23 am
Platform: Mac + Windows
Location: Protesting in the nude, outside ex Red Lion TESCO Store

Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:01 pm Post

As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

User avatar
Juddbert
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:08 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK

Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:09 pm Post

Thanks Vic. All very interesting, but it still jars. Ignore me, it's just one of my pet hates.

RJ
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

Scrivener 3.1.1 on macOS 10.14.
Occasional player of the old Scappleodium...

User avatar
Sean Coffee
Posts: 509
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:10 pm

Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:05 pm Post

The rampant misuse of apostrophe-s drives me insane. I saw this the other day: "We offer a wide variety of international coffee's." Not a hand-written sign — printed! Someone spent money to be this dumb.

My other complaint is somewhat obscure, but comes up surprisingly often:

A few years (not year's!) back, there was a movie about flight attendants starring Gwyneth Paltrow. In the ads for the film, a character played by Mike Myers said, "She put the wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble." NO! What's that first "wrong" doing there? Stop! Practically no one saw this movie, but that annoying construction of an old joke persists.

Wow, I'm grumpy this morning. Alright, one more:

"This is between John and I." No, it's not.

Jo
John Dodds
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 8:28 pm
Platform: Windows
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:22 pm Post

John and me, of course.

Sean, a man after my own heart. Although my grump is more about the written word than the spoken one. No one speaks in received English, thank God. I'm quite happy, for example, if someone from the Midlands says "I was stood" instead of "I stood", or Scots like me mangling speech all over the shop. Regional accents and speech patters are brilliant. I've always wanted to be a Geordie, for example...

But on the subject of apostrophes, they used to be more commonly abused on market stalls, small shops and the like, but now I see it in big budget productions, like high street store websites, film posters, everywhere. Absolutely shocking.

User avatar
Juddbert
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 2:08 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: Penzance, Cornwall, UK

Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:48 pm Post

Whats all this palaver about apostrophe’s?
Can't write right. Don't care neither. Er...either.

Scrivener 3.1.1 on macOS 10.14.
Occasional player of the old Scappleodium...