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

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Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]Wendy, do you know the [url=http://www.kissthisguy.com/]Archive of Mis-Heard Lyrics[/url] - one of the funniest sites on the Web. Features classics such as "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" and "Might as well face it you're a dick with a glove"...[/b]

My life partner liked CCR when she was a kid, especially when they sang: "There's a bathroom on the right!"

Maysie Maysie's picture

My favourite of all time is that Beach Boy's classic (beware earworm)

"Well, since she put me down there've been owls pukin' in my bed"

al-Qa'bong

In a CBC radio report on the Listeria outbreak and the resulting recalls, I heard an announcer/j-school podperson say, "In terms of Sobeys..."...yadda yadda yadda... "meat products."

martin dufresne

quote:


...there've been owls pukin' in my bed"

MUCH better than "I've been out doin' in my head." We need to purposely rewrite some of those classics.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Worst earworm for me had to be

Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)
Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)

although "YMCA" is a close second. [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img]

ETA: oops - worst earworm of all time was the Beach Boys Barbara Ann -

Ba ba ba ba barbara ann
Ba ba ba ba barbara ann

[img]eek.gif" border="0[/img] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 29 August 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

al-Qa'bong
M. Spector M. Spector's picture
al-Qa'bong

I've heard "vetted" quite a bit in the last two or three days. It's starting to sound like John Dean's "At this point in time" 35 years ago.

al-Qa'bong

Another hockey guy...

Earlier this week on [i]Leafs Lunch[/i], Ed Olczyk said "The line they are toeing [or did he say 'towing']..." referring to the story put out by Leafs' management on an issue.

[url=http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm]George Orwell has something to say about this[/url]

quote:

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying.

[b]Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning withouth those who use them even being aware of the fact.[/b] For example, [i]toe the line[/i] is sometimes written as [i]tow the line[/i].


Farmpunk

A grammar\word question. Below is a post of mine and Spector corrected my word useage.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Farmpunk:
Far be it for me to nitpick your sources, Spector, but that Obama\Reuters link is from 2007. Of course, he's probably still in favour of invasive action.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well of course he is. He has said so many times. I just did a Google and picked the first one of thousands that came up.
And while we're nitpicking, it's "far be it from me."

With a nice smilie.

Doesn't "far be it for me" work gramatically the same as "from me"?

al-Qa'bong

No, because whatever it is has to be far from you.

Things are either close to you or far from you, not close for you or far for you.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture
Farmpunk

Hmmm, interesting. I know the standard expression is "from me" and not "for me". Normally I use "from" and not "for" and until Spector pointed out my mistake, I assumed I had used "from."

Still, the word "far" in both expressions is a trope expressing metaphorical distance. And in the sense that correcting Spector's links is far *for* me, ie, it's something that's a reach, a distance, for me to comment upon. We're not talking about physical distances.

So...

Far be it from me to comment upon another one of your links, Spector, but that tilde in your link makes me nervous.

Or...

Far be it for me to comment upon another one your links, Spector, but that tilde in your link makes me nervous.

Stupid grammar.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

"Be it" is a surviving example of the [i]subjunctive[/i] mood, which is not commonly used in modern English. It is used (in this instance) to express a wish or hope. [We are much more familiar with the [i]indicative[/i] mood, which expresses a statement of fact, e.g. "it is"; or, in inverted word order, "is it."]

"Far be it from me" is not a statement of fact, but a wish: [i]may it be far from me.[/i]

"Far be it for me to comment" is an unfortunate conflation of two different sentence fragments: "far be it from me" and "for me to comment". Each is perfectly acceptable when used as such in a sentence, but when you mush them together, the "for me" must give way to "from me", if the result is to make sense.

The first two words in "for me to comment" are only there to identify who is being referred to as the commenter; "It would be inappropriate [i]for you[/i] to comment" or "It would be inappropriate [i]for Jack[/i] to comment" would indicate agency by someone other than the writer. Those words become unnecessary when it is clear that the writer is referring to his own agency; thus, "far be it from me to comment" leaves no doubt or ambiguity as to who is being referred to as the potential commenter, even though the words "for me" are not present.

In contrast, dropping the word "from" leaves the expression incomplete. We don't say something is "far" without providing, or at least implying, a point of reference. In this case, the point of reference is "me". The full meaning of the expression "far be it from me," as I said, is [i]may it be far from me[/i] - not [i]may it be far.[/i]

In fact, the whole point of using the expression "far be it from me" is to attempt to distance oneself from the kind of statement or action that is about to be mentioned in the sentence (= "I don't usually say this kind of thing, but..."). That point is blunted when the expression is truncated to simply, "far be it".

al-Qa'bong

Michgael Enright is interviewing someone RIGHT NOW who should be sent to Gitmo for her crimes agianst communication.

This person is purportedly an expert on terrorism, hence her presence on the radio.

Wellsir, upon being introduced she said, "Thanks so much," a turn of phrase that's been bugging me for the past six months or so. When did that one ooze into the language?

The interview is over. Enright just said, "Thanks so much for being here." She replied, "Thanks so much for having me."

Bad as that is, here's the real howler. While assessing yanquis' feelings about the progress of the War on Terror®, she claimed that because Iraq seems to be more in US control following the Surge®, yanquis feel safer now. This is in contrast to how they felt a year ago, when violence in Iraq was at a "high ebb."

I'll write that agian, just so you know your eyes are OK, and that you didn't read a typo: HIGH EBB.

Later on she said she wasn't happy with the term, "War on Terror." She said it was "vernacular."

Is there no process whereby some producer would assess whether a potential guest is credible? How did this violator of English slip through the screening process and unleash her verbal horrors upon innocent CBC listeners?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Frankly, I'd be more outraged at the content than the form of her remarks.

al-Qa'bong

Why, what was the content of her message?

al-Qa'bong

Something similar to the media lapdogs a-talking about the War on Terror®, as if such a thing really exists, is how they say that there has been a "failure" in the "bailout package" for the Wall Street welfare bums, instead of saying that Congress has denied these thieves a handout.

"Meltdown" has taken on a rather trite, meaningless connotation over the last week as well.

al-Qa'bong

This isn't the fault of the word-manglers on [i]Leafs Lunch[/i], but last week I heard them relate how the management of the Florida Panthers are "efforting" (they quoted the Floridian) to improve their team.

jas

Oh, I see, instead of "trying". That hits new depths for sure.

No offense to any particular Babblers, but it's like to "action" something, instead of to "act on". It sounds like a convenient way to give the impression that you're acting on something when in fact you're doing nothing of the kind. Instead, you put it on your "To Do" list, which then goes into your "To Do" box, to be done when you can next address this very important issue - that is, if you don't forget it. "Oh yeah, we did action that last month, but we haven't got around to it yet". [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Michelle
Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Ha. Some of my friends belong to that group. But their more vigilant then me.

Here are words I'm starting to hate because they are creeping into common usage (incorrecty) for no good reason:

'prorogue'
'recuse'
'bailout'

'Coalition' is making a strong case too, but that's only because it's on about 500 babble thread titles. 

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

My nomination is for the use of the word "grow", originally in business writing, but now also employed by Conservative politicians. Every time I read  someone giving advice on how to "grow" a business or "grow" an economy I gnash my teeth. If I hear someone say it out loud I experience an almost irresitible urge to drive a ballpoint pen into their forehead.

Children grow, plants grow, animals grow, adults can even grow (alas, usually in girth rather than height). Businesses (and economies) expand or increase or shrink or decrease. There is a lot of manure in business writing, I guess that is why they continue to grow this usage.

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, worse than sports writing.

WendyL

My biggest arghhhhhhhhhhh is when people, including my partner who prides himself on his wordsmithing ability, refer to any combination of (initial) letters as an acronym.  WTF?  Not an acronym.

One of my grandmother's legacies was to leave me with a difficulty seeing/hearing sentences end with a preposition.  Growing up, this was a regularly corrected offense.   In particular, it is a common and vexing arghhhhh when the East Coast is where I'm at! 

al-Qa'bong

bagkitty wrote:

My nomination is for the use of the word "grow", originally in business writing, but now also employed by Conservative politicians. Every time I read  someone giving advice on how to "grow" a business or "grow" an economy I gnash my teeth. If I hear someone say it out loud I experience an almost irresitible urge to drive a ballpoint pen into their forehead.  

 

My weapon of choice would be a dull hoe, but I agree with you.

 

Did you catch Ignatieff's howler last week?

 

"It's not conducive to engage in partisan political attacks against me or any other member of the House of Commons."

http://tinyurl.com/5axvmb

 Engaging in partisan political attacks is not conducive to what?  This is an example of someone who is so used to using bromides and clichés that he doesn't bother to think about what his words really mean.

Tommy_Paine

"There is a lot of manure in business writing, I guess that is why they continue to grow this usage. "

Going forward, I expect that world class business writers will not only grow this usage, some in fact will take ownership and make it pop.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Jim Hughson, on the HNIC play-by-play for the Montreal-Philly game, just said that Scott Hartnell 'smeagolled his way out of the corner'. I don't know how I feel about that.

Dana Larsen

Quote:
My biggest arghhhhhhhhhhh is when people, including my partner who prides himself on his wordsmithing ability, refer to any combination of (initial) letters as an acronym.  WTF?  Not an acronym.

It's not? Are you sure? What is the correct term then? Should we use the alternate terms "initialism" or "alphabetism" instead?

I think your partner might be correct in calling WTF an acronym.

Here's what wikipedia says about acronyms:

Quote:
Acronyms, initialisms, and alphabetisms are abbreviations that are formed using the initial components in a phrase or name. These components may be individual letters (as in CEO) or parts of words (as inBenelux or Delmarva). There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms (seeNomenclature), nor on written usage (see Orthographic styling). While popular in recent English, such abbreviations have historical use in English, as well as other languages. As a type of word formation process, acronyms and initialisms are viewed as a subtype of Blending.

While the word abbreviation refers to any shortened form of a word or a phrase, some have used initialism or alphabetism to refer to an abbreviation formed simply from a string of initials. In 1943, Bell Laboratories coined the term acronym as the name for a word (such as SONAR) created from the first letters of each word in a series of words (such as SOund Navigation And Ranging). The terms initialism and alphabetism are neither widely used nor widely known. The term acronym is widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters.

 

 

jas

I'm sure this one's been mentioned before, but "to gift" someone, ie; "gift" as a verb. Not sure why this irritates me so much as it does economize verbal expression. Perhaps it's the new-agey, pop spiritual overtones it always seems to carry. 

 

 

jas

Babble Verb Challenge for 2009: find the next irritating pop word morph by turning a common dull noun into an exciting new verb...and seed it into the popular lexicon! ("Virus" it?)

Let's see, we've got "gift". "impact", "action"... Oh, I've got one: "lightbulb." As in, "Ok, gang, we need to lightbulb a solution here..." You know, instead of saying "think of"? because everyone's pretty sick of the word "think", right? But it's also got a bit of a lighter and gentler feel than "to brainstorm" something.

 

jas

Then of course there is the Babble anti-Verb Challenge for 2009, which is to undermine and butcher whatever new usage you hate by using it in as many negative or inaccurate contexts as you can.

Such as: "I gifted her with the bag of garbage, as it was her turn to fucking take it out."

OR... "He gifts me a headache, that jerk!"

 

Wilf Day

And the gender-neutral language award of 2008 goes to the RCMP:

Quote:
RCMP Corporal Chris Faulkner gave voice to the young man's emotional anguish.

“He lost eight of his friends and he's going through a lot of inner turmoil now as you can expect, questioning why he's here and not them,” Cpl. Faulkner said. “It's a crap shoot, I guess, who God calls and when they call them, who they leave behind and why they leave behind.”

 

 

 

Unionist

As a person with a strong code of ethics, I never invite anyone back to my home who pronounces "etc." as "exetera".

On another note, Oxford University researchers have compiled the  [url=http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/oxford-research.html#previouspos... 10 Most Annoying Phrases[/url]. You've seen them all before, but there are more in the comments on that page.

Unionist

WendyL wrote:

My biggest arghhhhhhhhhhh is when people, including my partner who prides himself on his wordsmithing ability, refer to any combination of (initial) letters as an acronym.

WendyL, just noticed this post of yours.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but "wordsmithing" was justifiably banished from the English language on [url=http://blog.mlive.com/annarbornews/2007/12/surge_among_2008s_banned_word... year's Lake Superior State University's list[/url].

 

jas

Unionist wrote:

As a person with a strong code of ethics, I never invite anyone back to my home who pronounces "etc." as "exetera".

Eep. Well, I'm pretty sure I would not, in any case, go back to the home of someone who probably also pronounces words like "tissues" "tiss-yews" ;)

 

 

jas

Unionist wrote:

On another note, Oxford University researchers have compiled the [url=http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/oxford-research.html#previouspos... 10 Most Annoying Phrases[/url]. You've seen them all before, but there are more in the comments on that page.

Hey, that list is lame.  There are much, much worse tediums around than "24/7" or "rocket science". And I've never even heard "fairly unique", although I agree, it's stupid. Moreover, "shouldn't of" is merely a misspelling. (And since when is "snarky" an internet buzzword?).

The comments section reminded me of another: "You know what?" used rhetorically. I actually don't mind it, but some people really overuse it. 

 

Unionist

jas wrote:

Hey, that list is lame.

Some find that use of "lame" to be [url=http://antioppression.tribe.net/thread/6f1e43e0-10cd-4ee2-8374-4189f4000... and able-ist[/url].

Quote:
There are much, much worse tediums around than "24/7" or "rocket science".

Agreed - but the plural of "tedium" is "tedia".

Quote:
Moreover, "shouldn't of" is merely a misspelling.

More like a mishearing.

Quote:
I actually don't mind it, but some people really overuse it.

As opposed to, overusing it figuratively?

jas

 Ah, so you do pronounce it "tiss-yews". Knew it. 

Unionist

Get your fingernails off my blackboard...

Kiss

cactus jammies

"Move Forward" bothers me immensely.  It is favourite of the likes of Gordon Campbell and Stephen Harper.  It is most commonly used as a way to side-step discussion on the details of an issue.  It is meaningless, and should only be used in an attempt to shift focus at the minute.  I notice lately that some New Democrats use it more often.  The NDP is not immune to mimicking the business class.  Glen Clark when he started using the "clearly..." intensifier in his speeches, was a gnashing example of that practice.

cactus jammies ~~~~

Unionist

cactus jammies wrote:

 The NDP is not immune to mimicking the business class. 

A good example of litotes.

Papal Bull

Not quite on topic, but I've been noticing that any French accented characters come up as 'i kratkoya' on my computer.

Unionist

Я не говорю по-русски.

Tommy_Paine

 

I was surfing across CNN the other day, on my way to something more mindless, and I caught the news reader saying "....a Perfect Storm..." when describing a converngence of factors effecting something she was babbling about.

I wanted to throw a shoe at her.

 

al-Qa'bong

That example was amazing.  Thanks so much.

Loretta

It drives me crazy when I hear the word "emasculated" when describing something that has removed someone's power, standing or dignity.

Also, I despise it when someone is "doing their due diligence" when checking out a business proposal of some sort.

Now, to check out the mis-heard lyrics links...I could use a laugh.

al-Qa'bong

I heard a doozie on Leafs Lunch yesterday, and found a link to The Star with the same quote.  Again, the sports world keeps us stocked with a fresh supply of injured English:

 

Quote:

"There's no truth to the fact that he's on the trading block or being shopped in any regard.

 

Bryan Colangelo

George Victor

Without going back over  the entire thread, has "move forward" been put forward here?

Papal Bull

I actually get very angry over the use of the word "ignorant".

Also, metaphysics. I hear a lot of people drop this word like nothing at all, and they all end up making their own IGNORANT definitions. LULZ

al-Qa'bong

George Victor wrote:
Without going back over  the entire thread, has "move forward" been put forward here?

I think so; at least the posts "on the ground" indicated as much.

Is "cutting edge" used any more?  That one bugged me so much I once made it part of a promo for my radio programme, which features "cutting edge retro" music.

 

What is "LULZ"?

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