Annoying spelling, galling grammar, irksome words, frustrating phrases

M. Robert Gibson

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A thread, partly inspired by Astro Pen's Quizzed! thread, to vent and rant about all those misspelt (misspelled), misused, overused, fad, trendy words, phrases, spelling and grammar that seem to infest everywhere.


I'll start with one that annoys me so much, I wrote a mnemonic

Two words are 'a lot'
One word they are not.


And it would appear I'm not alone in finding that irritating

I have plenty more, but I'll give someone else a chance first before I get on a roll ;)
 
I have plenty more
Let's see if I can guess some. ;o)

"times less" (if 20 is five times less than 100, somehow, what is one times less, eh?)

(even worse: "600% less" to mean 1/6, though thankfully I've only heard this once)

"too big of a jump" (or similar, as in someone once heard "too much of a jump" and "too big a jump" and decided to combine them, and now everyone is doing it)

"I could care less" to mean "I couldn't care less". Because why not say the exact opposite of what you mean and hope your listener happens to know what you intend?
 
Using 'can' in the place of 'may.'

Also, as an aside, this thread just made me have to go and listen to Weird Al's 'Word Crimes' again :ROFLMAO:. Always a good laugh.
Word Crimes is genius on every level!!!!

The only thing worse than someone using "can" in the place of "may" is when someone responds with, "I don't know, can you?" with an exaggerated emphasis on the word "can." Children should always accept that response as approval.
 
This may be old-fashioned, but I think "all right" is correct and not "alright" (which I see often in printed works.)

Similarly, I believe it should be "O.K." or "OK" and not "okay" in order to preserve its origin in the early 19th century as a deliberate, humorous misspelling of "all correct" as "oll korrect." (By the way, don't write stories set in medieval times and have people say "OK.")

I am also seeing "a couple of [whatever]" evolving into "a couple [whatever]" and I do not approve.

Some Golden Oldies, which I still see showing up in printed works by professional writers:

Mixing up "its" (belonging to it) with "it's" (it is.)

Getting the various tenses of "lie" and "lay" all mixed up.

Calling the things in your larynx "vocal chords" instead of "vocal cords."

Calling the thing that accompanies thunder "lightening" instead of "lightning."

Using "literally" to mean "metaphorically." I have heard a radio ad for a movie that said, with no touch of irony, "Action that literally explodes off the screen!"

Some new ones:

The phrase "comprised of" is ubiquitous, but is not correct, in my not-so-humble opinion. It should just be "comprises" (as in "The galaxy comprises many stars" and not "The galaxy is comprised of many stars.") This is so common that I try to avoid the word entirely and say something like "The galaxy is made up of many stars."

Using "share" when you just mean "said" or "told." ("The mayor shared her tax plans" may not actually be incorrect, but it grates on me. Use "The mayor outlined her tax plans" or some such.)

Calling any unusual experience "surreal." Blue flying giraffes spitting out melting watches are surreal; the car crash you witnessed was not.

Most of all, the grotesque overuse of "awesome" to react to everything. I have been in a restaurant, and the server's reaction to every item I ordered was that word.
 
Most of all, the grotesque overuse of "awesome" to react to everything. I have been in a restaurant, and the server's reaction to every item I ordered was that word.
See also "perfect" and "amazing". It's go grating that I'd prefer the server to just laugh derisively at my stated choice.
 
"I could care less" to mean "I couldn't care less". Because why not say the exact opposite of what you mean and hope your listener happens to know what you intend?

That's related to the usage of "care to", carried over from older English when they settled into the Appalachian and Ozark areas and still in use.

At first, my wife was confused down here when the response to "Could you please do xxx?" would be "I don't care to." with them immediately doing it. Not as common as "Sure." but not infrequent either.

The negation is attached to the caring to do, not the doing of.
 
That's related to the usage of "care to", carried over from older English when they settled into the Appalachian and Ozark areas and still in use.

At first, my wife was confused down here when the response to "Could you please do xxx?" would be "I don't care to." with them immediately doing it. Not as common as "Sure." but not infrequent either.

The negation is attached to the caring to do, not the doing of.
I can see how that can work with "don't care to" (though it would confuse me too), as "care" has a meaning relating to concern, so "I don't care to" could mean "I do it without concern". But I don't see how that translates to "could care less" which surely can only mean "it's possible to have less concern about it", therefore "I care about it"?
 
That is a common phrase in my part of the world that is still used by us pre 1970's natives. Both my wife and I, as well as our sibs and friends of that time period and before and say it frequently. It can be used both as an insult or an adamant statement:

"You drink too much!"
"So? Could care less, what are you going to do about it?"

"They personally know (Some famous person)!"
"Could care less. I've never heard them before."
Aka. jealousy. Or the person really does not care at all.

Edit,
'That's against the law.
'Could care less.'
(This example has already been expressed.)

Or:

"I know everything about Irish history," said the stupid American.
"I could care less!" Replied the native from County York, Irland.

'I was hit by a BB gun in my youth, so I understand havening a gunshot wound.'
'Could care less,' replied the disabled war vet.

We use it as both attack, insult, excuse, and defense in everyday conversations.
Never thought about it until I read this thread.
 
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Ticking time bomb is a tautology which always annoys me:

Ticking bomb is enough. Or time bomb.

Any over-complicating of a phrase to make it seem more genuine or smart (somehow); ‘Reaching out’ is an example of this.

‘No worries’ from someone meant to serve customers — I often think ‘I should hope not; it’s your f******* job.’

‘Conversate’ instead of talk.
 
That is a common phrase in my part of the world that is still used by us pre 1970's natives.
Interesting that it's so well-established. I'd never heard/seen it used "the wrong way round" in the UK pre-internet, and assumed it was just various youths making a mistake, which then spread.

‘Conversate’ instead of talk.
If you made this up, kudos. If you didn't, I'm signing up to that Mars trip pronto.
 
Petrol stations with a window marked "Night Pay" and hire purchase offers of "48 pays of £18". It should be payment and payments respectively.
And don't start me off on "Grocery spend".

Also, since the 1980's the replacing of statements like "That's ridiculous", with the interogative "How ridiculous is that?"
 
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‘Reaching out’ is an example of this
This is one of those phrases that prompted this thread. It's actually crept in to where I work. The latest email from our IT department contained the sentence "If you need any help over the weekend you can reach out to us on this number or by email"
What's wrong with 'contact'?
I also see journalists are now 'reaching out' to a company/individual for comment

Another one that's crept in is 'uptick'
"We have seen an uptick in sales" or some such rubbish
What's wrong with 'increase'?

Grrrrr!
 
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