The Return of The thread on word usage that grates like blackboard fingernails...

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al-Qa'bong
The Return of The thread on word usage that grates like blackboard fingernails...

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al-Qa'bong

"Moving forward" is a wretched conservaterm that ought to be avoided, along with "on the ground."

 

While this isn't quite grating, it nevertheless rubs somewhat harshly:

 

"RT's Peter Lavelle spoke to Robert Fisk in Lebanon, who's one of the most renowned journalists and authors on the subject."

 

Lebanon isn't the journalist (as suggested by this sentence), Fisk is.

Unionist

al-Qa'bong wrote:

"Moving forward" is a wretched conservaterm that ought to be avoided, along with "on the ground."

It is what it is.

 

Jingles

at the end of the day...

Unionist

We have to reach out to our customers...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

...would you like fries with that?

Pogo Pogo's picture

Just doing a little blue sky thinking outside the box. 

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

...would you like fries with that?

With my synergies? Please!

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Laughing

Unionist

I'm good with that. We need to get our arms around it. Hey, you employees are our greatest asset.

 

Jingles

but we must consult our stakeholders.

al-Qa'bong

I find "in the winter months" or "in the summer months" a weird thing to say.  Why not simply say "in winter" or "in summer"?

Skinny Dipper

Most of us say, "He is bigger than me."

We should be saying, "He is bigger than I (am)."

Skinny Dipper

I hate it when the Wal-Mart type stores call their employees "associates."  You know that associates at any retail store get treated like crap by their employers.

Skinny Dipper

Liberal slogan: "We can do better."

I will agree that the Liberals can do better if some of the party members can stop their infighting.

Skinny Dipper

On the lighter side:

I also hate it when Slavic people in Europe forget their definite (the) and indefinite (a) articles when speaking English because most Slavic languages do not have articles.  I also hate it when some Slavic people pronounce an English short 'a' like a short 'u'.

Put the two together:

"It is fuct that we drink lots beer."  Per capita, people in some East-Central European countries do drink more beer than Canadians.  That is fuct.

G. Muffin

I think I first noticed this in a Seinfeld episode (the one where George Costanza decides to try doing the opposite) and he walks up and talks to a woman at the coffee shop and she says "I noticed you ordered the same exact lunch as me."  At the time, I thought she had just bungled the line and they didn't bother correcting it.  Since then, though, I've seen it come up in various places.  Wouldn't the more standard usage be:  "the exact same" lunch? 

Unionist

G. Pie wrote:
Wouldn't the more standard usage be:  "the exact same" lunch?

No, "standard" usage would be "exactly the same lunch". Neither of the others would be accepted in proper written English, though your version certainly has been around for ages in Canadian real-speak.

SkinnyDipper wrote:
I also hate it when Slavic people in Europe forget their definite (the) and indefinite (a) articles when speaking English because most Slavic languages do not have articles.  I also hate it when some Slavic people pronounce an English short 'a' like a short 'u'.

Any other foreigners we can make fun of here? Anyone?

G. Muffin

Unionist wrote:
No, "standard" usage would be "exactly the same lunch". Neither of the others would be accepted in proper written English, though your version certainly has been around for ages in Canadian real-speak.

Okay, I don't want to belabor the point but I was asking for the more standard phrase, not the King's English.

Unionist

G. Pie wrote:

Unionist wrote:
No, "standard" usage would be "exactly the same lunch". Neither of the others would be accepted in proper written English, though your version certainly has been around for ages in Canadian real-speak.

Okay, I don't want to belabor the point but I was asking for the more standard phrase, not the King's English.

Well, I don't want to belabour (CDN spelling) the point either, but I did answer your question as to which was more standard in Canadian speech, didn't I?

If you're interested in a more detailed discussion of the issue, there are many - such as [url=here[/url]">http://painintheenglish.com/?p=1006]here[/url], although there may well be a U.S. bias to that discussion.

G. Muffin

Unionist wrote:
Well, I don't want to belabour (CDN spelling) the point either, but I did answer your question as to which was more standard in Canadian speech, didn't I?

You did but in such a way as to be a little insulting.  Kinda wish I hadn't brought it up.

Unionist

This is supposed to be a light-hearted thread. I genuinely apologize if you feel I insulted you. It certainly wasn't my intent.

 

G. Muffin

Unionist wrote:
This is supposed to be a light-hearted thread. I genuinely apologize if you feel I insulted you. It certainly wasn't my intent.

Ack ... I've got my crank-o-meter set too high this morning.

As you were.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

SkinnyDipper wrote:
Most of us say, "He is bigger than me."

We should be saying, "He is bigger than I (am)."

 

This is utterly unidiomatic, as Anita Loos's excellent Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) mocks. Colloquially, 'than' is treated as a preposition rather than a comparative conjunction. Would you also say "I am bigger than he?" If you would, I would say you are a much bigger prat than me.

Unionist

Actually, "he" is bigger than "I", but "he" and "me" are the same exact size the exact same size exactly the same size.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Size don't know what you're on about.

Unionist

Size of the word.

G. Muffin

Well done, Unionist.  Nicely played.

Weltschmerz

Commericials that say things like "Save up to $300 or more!".  That's contradictory.  If it's "up to $300", then $300 is your upper limit; you can't go beyond it. 

G. Muffin

Weltschmerz wrote:
Commericials that say things like "Save up to $300 or more!".  That's contradictory.  If it's "up to $300", then $300 is your upper limit; you can't go beyond it.

Don't know about this one.  It's not up to $300 blah, blah, blah.  It's up to $300 or more.  $300 or more is one entity. 

If you tried to fix this phrase, you might have:

"Save $300 or more!" - but that cuts out all the possible savings (which I dare say are probably most of them) less than $300.

Or you could just say "Save an indeterminate amount of money!" but that's not very catchy.

Unionist

Most of those signs should be rewritten to say: "Lose the full amount of what you pay for this overpriced item - and be thankful we didn't charge you an extra $300 or more!"

 

Laura Colella

Nope, I have to agree with Weltschmer - it's either 'up to' or more. It can't be both. 'Up to' is a maximum and it precludes 'more'. :)

G. Muffin

So what should the ad say?  "Save money, perhaps $300"?

ETA:  Wait!  I want to change my answer.  It's save up to X.  And X is $300 or more. 

Laura Colella

It should up to what amount you can save. i.e. the "more".  What's the 'more'? Then it would be : save up to [more].  Why say 300, if it can be more?

:)

G. Muffin

Laura Colella wrote:

It should up to what amount you can save. i.e. the "more".  What's the 'more'? Then it would be : save up to [more].  Why say 300, if it can be more?

:)

Fuck.

Weltschmerz

Laura, you are now my semantic hero Laughing

G. Muffin

Same here.

Unionist

I think we've sunk as far down as we can go - or lower.

 

Fidel

Weltschmerz wrote:

Commericials that say things like "Save up to $300 or more!".  That's contradictory.  If it's "up to $300", then $300 is your upper limit; you can't go beyond it.

I'd tend to want to haggle with them on the other side of or.

al-Qa'bong

Weltschmerz wrote:
Commericials that say things like "Save up to $300 or more!".  That's contradictory.  If it's "up to $300", then $300 is your upper limit; you can't go beyond it.

I believe Ken Smith comments on this type of usage in Junk English.  Another one he mentions, and one I've had to smite at work a lot recently, is calling a "problem" an "issue."

I like this review of the book:

Quote:
Use the right words and reality will bend to your wishes. That's one of the central beliefs of our society. We think words are magic. We think that applying pleasant words to ugly facts and unpleasant people will improve them.

Nothing illustrates this better than "issue," which is replacing "problem" in the common vocabulary. We used to say "problem" when something made us uncomfortable. Twenty years ago, a phrase like "his drinking problem" distanced the drinker from the drink, making the cause seem exterior to the man. But putting that much moral weight on "problem" finally rendered it comfortless. Then "issue" came to the rescue.

I'm glad to find this change noted in Junk English (Blast Books, New York) by Ken Smith, an American writer who has produced a vigorous polemic against shifty, pretentious and misleading language. Smith argues that "issue" entered common speech via self-help jargon, its purpose being to avoid passing judgment. If we say Fred has a problem with alcohol, we now clearly mean he's a drunk. But if we say "He has issues with alcohol," we imply he's facing up to a serious matter and will resolve it in time. The same applies to "We have discipline issues at this school." The word has become so omnipresent that it means almost anything. The other night the voice-over on a TV commercial for skin conditioner said: "Mature skin has issues all its own." A friend of mine was told by a kindergarten teacher that his daughter has "dawdling issues." Junk English contains the perfect example: "She has weight issues."

Smith comes across as a little cranky, but that's because he holds firm opinions without apology. He defines junk English as a fog around the truth, created by favoring appearance over substance and generalities over precision. "It is sometimes innocent, sometimes lazy, sometimes well intended, but most often it is a trick we play on ourselves."

Robert Fulford

Unionist

I prefer when problems are called "challenges". Then it really sounds as if someone is doing something about it! Smile

 

martin dufresne

The expression does have a strange rong to it. Foot in mouth

al-Qa'bong

Here's another example of a careless use of a cliché going horribly wrong:

 

Quote:
According to Pocklington, Ballard was in financial straights when he made the proposal in 1981.

 

 Jason Keller and Sylvia Strojek, THE CANADIAN PRESS

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The unnecessary nouning of verbs, used in place of perfectly good nouns that already exist, out of ignorance or laziness.

Examples:

Contain used instead of Containment

Spend used instead of Expense

Compare used instead of Comparison

Cite used instead of Citation

Fail used instead of Failure

Fidel

Skinny Dipper wrote:

"It is fuct that we drink lots beer."  Per capita, people in some East-Central European countries do drink more beer than Canadians.  That is fuct.

I know some human beer kegs in Northern Ontario who would qualify as exceptions to fuct. I think I read where Russians don't understand why we're so polite in asking, Would you be so kind as to pass the salt shaker, if you will?  Please and thank you, and all the bullshit formalities as if we're prim and proper blue bloods sitting down to a seven course meal or something. Russkies say something like, Give salt please. It's short, it's sweet, and nobody gets hurt.

al-Qa'bong

I dislike the use of "take ownership" for "take responsibility," and saying one "owns" someone when winning an argument or using some sort of term of belittlement.  This "ownership" usage reflects the insidious capturing of our imaginations by the cult of possessive individualism.

In a related tangent, English is well-known as an acquisitive language; one that has always taken words from other tongues as it expands to a position of worldwide dominance.  It isn't the language of business and worldwide capitalism for nothing...or is it? 

Is there a connexion between English's ability to acquire words and expand its influence, and its place as the language of international capitalism?

G. Muffin

People who use "disease" or "illness" when they mean (or should mean) "disorder."

al-Qa'bong

Damn tiny font...

al-Qa'bong

"Disorder" seems either like a pseudoscientific way of giving medical legitimacy to very little, or conversely, minimizing the severity or humanity of something dangerous. 

 

If you can find a clip, check out George Carlin on "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."

Fotheringay-Phipps

Has anyone else noticed what might be called the Colour Man's Conditional? Typical use: colour man is commenting on replay and says, "Now if Toskala flops, Crosby goes upstairs and buries it." Standard usage: "If Toskala had flopped, Crosby would have gone upstairs and buried it." The sports usage is less cumbrous and more immediate: it makes it seem that the slow-mo replay is a presently occurring fact. But it's now occurring in situations far removed from replays, and I'm not sure I like it. Some time ago I heard a Supreme Court justice use it during arguments about the Truscott appeal. He said something like, "If he's at the bridge at 6:45, there's no way he's home at 7:15."

Other peeves: a few years ago I saw a poster for Volkswagen leasing that said "Live together a couple years before you commit." I assumed it was a bad translation from the German and meant "Live together [as a] couple [for] years before you commit." Little did I know we would all now be saying "Can you lend me a couple dollars," and "Let's get a couple coffees." It's enough to make me get a bottle Dewar's and drink myself into a state apathy.

My 12-year old daughter now says. "thuh edge of thuh ocean" instead of "thee edge of thee ocean" and I notice this thudding hiccup of a pronunciation even on the CBC. I try to discourage her by saying it was only popular when people wanted to be like George W Bush but at her age W is some fossilized  bogey like Napoleon.

Other Americanisms I notice in the speech of her circle of friends: "grades" for "marks", and "eighth grade" for "grade eight." Or were these ever only Ontario usages?

I should add that my teeth are not constantly on edge (whatever that means) and I am young enough to have worn a mullet once.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

we're done here

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