Overused words

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
13
Location
Central PA
I hadda big krowsen popin outta the frementer. It was soo hooge it spanked the seeling.
 

jpsloan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
741
Reaction score
6
Location
New Market, MD
You know what chaps my grammatical butt? The song "Live and Let Die"... for the following line:

"But In This Ever Changing World In Which We Live In"

The man was English, for chrissakes.
 

elkdog

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
12
Location
Chapel Hill
Real. Does anybody know what "real" means anymore?

Also, a lot of people always say "I," even when they are referring to themselves as the object of the sentence. "You can give that to Jeff or I." This drives me nuts because you can tell it's an attempt at proper grammar, but yet it is full of fail.

Spelling doesn't bug me. A lot of the greatest writing in the English language, like Shakespeare, occurred before standardized spelling came about. I try to spell correctly, and am pretty good at it, but it's not an easy thing for everyone. A web forum is not an academic opus.
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
3,928
Reaction score
166
Location
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI
Also, a lot of people always say "I," even when they are referring to themselves as the object of the sentence. "You can give that to Jeff or I." This drives me nuts because you can tell it's an attempt at proper grammar, but yet it is full of fail.
Agreed.

Spelling doesn't bug me. A lot of the greatest writing in the English language, like Shakespeare, occurred before standardized spelling came about. I try to spell correctly, and am pretty good at it, but it's not an easy thing for everyone. A web forum is not an academic opus.
Now this is where we disagree vehemently. The rules of grammar are absolute. While spelling and idiom may have been dynamically fluid in the 1580s, and are changeable today, they are not so free as to have different sets of rules for one medium versus another.

It's too convenient an excuse. I'm not asking for everyone to suddenly turn into William F. Buckley; I'm asking you to take a small amount of time to ensure that you spell correctly, that you know the appropriate places to put such things as possessive apostrophes and the like. No one is asking anyone to go learning rocket science.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing correctly and well. If you're an adult, chances are you're aware of your spelling limitations. If you type your message on a computer, you have a spell-checker somewhere. If you choose not to use that spell-checker when attempting to communicate in a public medium, you open yourself to commentary. It's like choosing not to wear pants to the mall and getting mad when someone comments negatively on your tighty-whiteys - does not compute!
:)

Bob
 

beergears

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2007
Messages
999
Reaction score
8
Location
somewhere west of Boston Harba'
If I could stab people over the internet I would do it for this post. I remember talking to a guy on the phone while at my helpdesk monkey job who was literally (I mean it in the correct usage) unable to speak a sentence without working the word 'basically' into it somehow.
I irritates me too, yet I tend to use it (less). One technique is to substitute with 'essentially', which actually (!) conveys the concept...
 

elkdog

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2007
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
12
Location
Chapel Hill
It's like choosing not to wear pants to the mall and getting mad when someone comments negatively on your tighty-whiteys - does not compute!
:)

Bob
I think there's a big difference between a dangling participle and tighty-whiteys.
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
3,928
Reaction score
166
Location
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI
I think there's a big difference between a dangling participle and tighty-whiteys.
I wasn't talking about dangling participles or the odd preposition on the end of a sentence. I specifically referred to misspelling. I don't expect everyone to have such an interest in grammar that they can even identify a dangling participle, much less assiduously avoid them.

I do expect that they refrain from mangling the language beyond recognition. That's what I'm on about - not the odd mistake or misspelling, but the wholesale slaughter of English. When apologists then sally forth to defend the killers with excuses like "It's only the Internet; it's not an academic opus", I want to bleed from the eyes.

Why are our expectations so low? Why do we not demand competence - note I did not say excellence, only competence - from people with whom we interact? When did it become socially taboo to correct someone when they are in error?

Respectfully,

Bob
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Messages
13,304
Reaction score
155
Location
Phoenix
I've pointed out that some people on this board *might* skip your question if there is not punctuation, paragraph breaks and capitalization. I've been blasted just for providing that warning.

The second point is that sometimes English is not the OPs primary language.
 
OP
Yuri_Rage
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Messages
14,262
Reaction score
777
Location
Southwest
1. Why are our expectations so low?

2. Why do we not demand competence - note I did not say excellence, only competence - from people with whom we interact?

3. When did it become socially taboo to correct someone when they are in error?
I'll answer Bob's questions with my opinions. Perhaps they will put my original post into context for those who seem a bit miffed.

1. My expectations are low because, through multiple forms of continued education and observations from everyday interaction, I've experienced a broad cross-section of language skills. It seems that many (if not most) people place little value in honing those skills. As a result my expectations are low - yes, LOW. I DON'T expect anyone to write perfectly, especially on an internet forum.

2. See above. However, competence is an interesting word. If the intended point is made, effective communication has occurred, regardless of errors in spelling and grammar. Is that not competence? In that sense, yes, we do demand competence. olllllo's last post attests to that.

3. So, after rationalizing and even defending poor spelling and grammar, why am I the one to point out mistakes? Actually, I'm not. I rarely respond to a specific post, citing or correcting the errors. That sort of behavior is not acceptable. This is a friendly and inviting forum, not a sterile classroom environment. To "attack" someone's language skills on a personal level risks insult, the loss of a member, and the loss of any reputation I may have built here. However, because I do prefer fairly proper language use, and because I think it may benefit a few people, I'll occasionally post an observation-based grammar/spelling rant.
 

jpsloan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
741
Reaction score
6
Location
New Market, MD
This expanded conversation reminds me of arguments my wife got into in Law School, regarding whether the Constitution should be considered a "living document", or whether it should be interpreted strictly according to its language.

Some believe that language is, and must be, an organic thing that evolves and changes century-to-century, or even year-to-year. While it is an observable fact that language does evolve over time, with usage and vocabulary ever in flux, many still hold to a more dogmatic view that we should resist the change in language, acknowledging it as a de facto evil, if you will.

Others believe in continually adjusting one's diction to suit the latest language meme wafting off of the internet, or from popular culture... which while remaining "current", lends itself to continual chaos and a limited audience to fully grasp one's meaning.

The truth is in the middle, though. Language will always change, and some rules of usage must bend when they are widely forsaken on a large scale. However, agreed-upon rules allow us to communicate more effectively with more people across a wider age range. The trick, it seems, is to find that happy balance, and know when to accept another's violation of agreed-upon rules as part of something genuine, and not the result of a lapse in mental judgment or personal character.

Besides, there are several ways we might encourage excellence, or even competence, from one another. And elitism is neither excellent, nor competent.
 

mcaustin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
173
Reaction score
2
Location
Anchorage
Here's a couple that really irritate me that I hear/see all of the time...

I've got... When I hear this one, I like to ask the person: "Would you say 'I have got a sandwich?'" NO. Then why would you use that contraction?

In order to... This is another use of excessive verbiage. Every time that people type or say "In order to get gas, I have to pay the attendant." This can easily be shortened to "To get gas, I have to pay the attendant."

Do these irritate anyone else?
 

Brew-Happy

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
1,324
Reaction score
9
Location
Lubbock, Texas
I've got... When I hear this one, I like to ask the person: "Would you say 'I have got a sandwich?'" NO. Then why would you use that contraction?
I noticed I was using "got" a lot and I am trying to refrain from using as much.

I just realized it sounded weird to me an probably to everyone else.


"Prolly" or "Probibably" gets to me sometimes. In an email or post not so much, but in general conversation.....grrr.
 

fratermus

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,188
Reaction score
3
Location
75081
I'm not sure if it's because including "would" makes people feel like they're speaking/writing in a more sophisticated manner or if it's an attempt to soften the blow of an otherwise harsh opinion, but I've noticed that it's being used with increasing frequency. Even worse is the heinous combination, "would tend."
I think it's a subjunctive form and therefore can be reasonably used by rational people. I agree that it is over- and mis-used. None of my degrees are in English so your mileage may vary.

The main problem with our (collective) writing is that we don't read. Dead giveaways: "wollah", "doggie dog world", etc. I'm as bad about it as the next guy.
 

mcaustin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
173
Reaction score
2
Location
Anchorage
I noticed I was using "got" a lot and I am trying to refrain from using as much.

I just realized it sounded weird to me an probably to everyone else.
That's funny, because that is how I realized that it doesn't make sense. I noticed that I was saying it a lot and started to think about what I was saying. Now it drives me up the wall whenever I hear it.
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
12,264
Reaction score
731
You know what chaps my grammatical butt? The song "Live and Let Die"... for the following line:

"But In This Ever Changing World In Which We Live In"

The man was English, for chrissakes.

Oooh! Oooooh!!! I've always hated that too!!! It really grinds my gears! I never mention that to anyone any more though because they think I'm just being a pedantic SOB. :(

Years ago I even came up with an alternative for him. "But in this ever changing world in which we're living." It sounds almost identical, so would that have been so hard!?

Ooooh I hate that line. :mad:
 

adrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Messages
732
Reaction score
1
Location
Fort Thomas, KY
Oooh! Oooooh!!! I've always hated that too!!! It really grinds my gears! I never mention that to anyone any more though because they think I'm just being a pedantic SOB. :(
You pedantic SOB!

I just wanted to use that word since I just looked up its meaning.

Look Mom, beer brewing is expanding my vocabulary! And making me deathly afraid to make a grammar mistake for fear I'll be snubbed and/or looked down upon! Yay!
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
12,264
Reaction score
731
Where all are the grammar police?

I had a dental appointment a few years back. The dentist had just numbed my gums, and was asking me to describe how the jab was working. "Where all does it hurt?" He asked. Excuse me? I replied. He then shouted the same nonsense much louder, and in an annoyed tone. "WHERE ALL DOES IT HURT?" He then became even more perplexed when he could see I was trying to come to grips with the meaning of his question.....If only he had asked me that question in English in the first place I wouldn't have felt so dumb that I stopped using him! He's supposed to be an educated professional fer chrisake!
 

jpsloan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
741
Reaction score
6
Location
New Market, MD
Years ago I even came up with an alternative for him. "But in this ever changing world in which we're living." It sounds almost identical, so would that have been so hard!?
Ha! I actually do the same thing in my own head when I hear the song!

Great minds think alike...

...or fools seldom differ.
 

Orfy

For the love of beer!
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 27, 2005
Messages
11,732
Reaction score
118
Location
Cheshire, England
The only thing that really gets me is when on the odd occasion I hear the BBC news readers reporters get it wrong.

I don't have TV and I gave up watching the news before I gave up the TV but on the odd occasion I see it when visiting it reminds me why I gave it up.

"The troops were ferried in by 'copters"

WTF. Choppers maybe, Helicopters it should of been but 'copters!!!!!!!

Who is the bastion if correct English if it isn't the BBC?

I need someone to keep me on the strate and narra' cor blimey!

WTF.....this isn't even the correct pronunciation.

RANT RANT RANT.:drunk:

GET ME A HOMEBREW QUICK.
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
3,928
Reaction score
166
Location
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI
Others believe in continually adjusting one's diction to suit the latest language meme wafting off of the internet, or from popular culture... which while remaining "current", lends itself to continual chaos and a limited audience to fully grasp one's meaning.
Thank you for stating my feelings so eloquently!

However, agreed-upon rules allow us to communicate more effectively with more people across a wider age range. The trick, it seems, is to find that happy balance, and know when to accept another's violation of agreed-upon rules as part of something genuine, and not the result of a lapse in mental judgment or personal character.
That's a balance I'm afraid I cannot strike. Wilful violation when appropriate is one thing; ignorance of the rules themselves - or lack of effort to follow them, if known (laziness) - is entirely another. The former is acceptable, the latter unacceptable. Of course, that's my opinion.

Besides, there are several ways we might encourage excellence, or even competence, from one another. And elitism is neither excellent, nor competent.
I wonder where you're going with that. If it's bait, I'll rise to it.

I think, if you refer to my attitude towards the grammatically-challenged, you consider me an elitist. Not so. I do not consider that I "[...] deserve favored treatment by virtue of [my] perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources", nor do I have a "[...] sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class."* Neither am I part of a controlling, dominating or ruling group. Thus, the appellation is misplaced.

In fact, that the appellation is bandied in the first place denotes the truly sad part of this whole affair. We endure a society in which excellence - one might go so far as to say, "being elite" - is derided, is politcally unacceptable. We have taken egalitarianism to a ludicrous extreme, where everything must be acceptable, where there is no pass or fail, where everyone starts and finishes at the same place and time, regardless of whether or not they should be running in the first place. I ask you, what is so wrong with excellence? What is so dreadful about expecting excellence from others? Why must we 'encourage'? Encouragement is insufficient without consequence for failing to comply. A carrot means little until you compare it to a stick.

Sorry. Bit of a rant, there. [sheepish face] I now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Bob

*http://www.thefreedictionary.com/elitist
 

Bob

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2007
Messages
3,928
Reaction score
166
Location
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI
And making me deathly afraid to make a grammar mistake for fear I'll be snubbed and/or looked down upon! Yay!
Fear not. Only an a$$hole would think less of you for measly little mistakes. You write well.

Hell, I make grammar mistakes! No one is pure. It's the people who don't even make the attempt that make me want to shoot blood from my ears.

Now: more annoyances. The song "Who Do You Love" - come on, fellow pedants! You know it should be "whom!"

:D :D

Bob
 

jpsloan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
741
Reaction score
6
Location
New Market, MD
I think, if you refer to my attitude towards the grammatically-challenged, you consider me an elitist. Not so.

No, actually, that wasn't directed at anyone. I don't see your point of view as being particularly extreme. Perhaps, a bit right of center, but just a step from the middle ground.

When I think of elitists, my mind wanders back to college, and certain professors whose attitudes set me directly off my feed I will refrain from recollecting in detail.

Jesus, that last sentence needs to be taken out back and shot.
 
Top