19 April 2008

le mot injuste

being someone who likes her words, i have a hard problem stomaching ones that are consistently abused/ misused. language is such a wonderful development for humans, it bothers me to no end when people can't be bothered to learn the one that they've grown up with. many people can speak grammatically in many languages. mastering one, at least to the extent where one can avoid some truly hideous mistakes, should not be that much of a challenge. i'm far from perfect in my english, but i like to think that i make an effort and that i at least try to avoid some of the more obvious mistakes.

everyone has their own pet peeves in this regard. here are a few of mine:

"impactful": it's bad enough that i have to listen to people (generally people employed in the area of sales) use the word "impact" as a verb ("this will impact our finances"), but now that bastardisation has been extended to create "impactful". people who use this, almost always business-brainwashed idiots with money on their minds and brown on their noses, make me want to connect something impactful with their smug faces.

"irregardless": i'm including this one for my parents, both of whom were driven nuts. i'm glad to say that people use this one less, because it's become the poster child for bad vocabulary. if you do hear it, though, particularly in a situation where the person is mid-rant about something, try interjecting and asking that person how "irregardless" differs from "regardless". throws off their whole rhythm.

"very unique": people who know me have actually heard me scream over this one. it's my ultimate linguistic hot point. something can't be very unique. unique is singular. "uni"= one. something is either unique or it isn't, end of story. i get particularly frustrated with this one because it is so widespread. almost everyone misuses the word. in fact, you almost never hear it used properly.

"obligated": a little bit of a weird one, because it's actually a word, but an irish friend of mine, in possession of a doctoral degree (meaning that i assume he's thought about words and how to use them) once said something to me that makes a lot of sense. "obligated" is a useless word. it's an elongation of a perfectly serviceable english word- "obliged". ever since that point was made to me, i've been unable to get the word "obligated" out of my mouth. although perfectly correct, it seems unnecessarily cumbersome.

2 comments:

Aaron Fenwick said...

Not to mention the verbing of random nouns. Even the word "verbing" is guilty of that concept...

Richo said...

I'm with you completely on this. In fact, my hatred of laziness when it comes to using English extends to the written form being heavily dependent on text-spiel and fucking emoticons! Beyond that, one of my personal peeves is hearing the words "revert" and "back" together. I even heard the latter in a BBC drama serial recently, which says quite a lot about where everything's heading in itself...

As with your own admission, I'm far from perfect with English, but I like to feel I at least attempt to make an effort with it.

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