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What are your pet peeves re English usage?

 
 
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 09:55 pm
Hello All,

I'm sure that this has been addressed any number of times in this Forum but bear in mind that I am new. As with anyone who cares about his/her language and hates seeing it trashed, I have created a short list of things that irk me concerning English usage.

1) Writing "it's" when it should be "its"
(You'd be amazed over how many times this happens!!)
2) Saying, "Sam gave the coin to Jeff and I."
3) When someone answers the phone and you ask for, say, Edward, and the persons responds, "This is him."
4) Not using the serial comma (Ex. "The red, white and blue")
5) Saying "Me and him"
6) Using foreign phrases and mispronouncing them. I heard on the radio the other day someone attempt "pince-nez." He pronounced it as spelled.
7) Excessive use of "awesome," "dude," and "cool." The Grand Canyon is awesome, only we can't use that word to describe it anymore. Sad

ailsa
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Type: Discussion • Score: 52 • Views: 241,997 • Replies: 5,739

 
Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Mon 29 Mar, 2004 10:42 pm
Quote:
1) Writing "it's" when it should be "its"
(You'd be amazed over how many times this happens!!)


I trust you realise that it can become its or it's. Depends how you use it.
ailsagirl
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 01:49 am
its and it's
Oh yes, Adrian-- I know that there are two spellings and I know the difference. I think that people become confused because of the apostrophe, since that's typically indicative of ownership or else a collapsed word.

So "It's a beautiful day" is correct, while

"The bear hurt it's paw" is NOT.

And one more pet peeve: when people say "heighth" instead of "height."

Das ist alles.

ailsa
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 08:57 pm
Eh.
0 Replies
 
ailsagirl
 
  2  
Reply Tue 30 Mar, 2004 11:18 pm
Probably the worst expression of all
I absolutely cringe when I hear someone say, "DUH!!" I can't tell you how stupid that sounds.

Or when "pumpkin" is pronounced "punkin." Or "sandwich" pronounced "samwich."

I'm NOT perfect-- far from it-- but I care deeply for our language and hate like the dickens to see it decimated. Remember Ken Burns' program on PBS about the Civil War? The "Letter to Sarah" part? What beautiful language, heartfelt emotion, tender words that soldier used. It still gives me goosebumps. But I think back then that good writing was the norm.

Enough from me for one night!

Ailsa
0 Replies
 
Vivien
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 02:15 am
america programmes where a character constantly calls another 'bubba' -???brother - yeeeeuggh!!! it sound horrible!

gotten - ugly word from old English
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sarius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 04:35 am
No kidding.

This has less to do with the usage than the effect it has on me.

Have you ever had a debate with someone when he suddenly ends with "whatever"? It's as if they do not have the mental capacity to carry on the debate and would rather take the easy way out. I do know that some debates can never come to a proper conclusion, but saying "whatever" is really a pathetic way to end a discussion. Confused
0 Replies
 
Grand Duke
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 05:14 am
Re: What are your pet peeves re English usage?
ailsagirl wrote:
2) Saying, "Sam gave the coin to Jeff and I."

4) Not using the serial comma (Ex. "The red, white and blue")


I'm not sure whether I am remembering incorrectly, or if it is due to cultural differences, but (as a Briton) I would say that both of these are correct. Anyone care to agree/disagree? I'm confused!

Without wishing to sound either snobbish or xenophobic, one of my main peeves about the use of English in my country is the amount of 'Americanisation' of our language that has happened here. I suspect that the main cause of this is TV & films (as 95% of films shown here are American, and a lot of TV drama, comedy & children's programmes as well).

Actually, my main peeve is how the American way of writing the date is becoming more common here, especially post-'9-11'. If it had happened here, we'd have called it 'the terrorist attacks of 11th September'. It's not as bad in words, but I will never see the logic of writing the date i.e. 9-11-01, when i.e. 11-9-01 makes more sense to me.

PS. Despite appearances, I do like the US!
SealPoet
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 05:24 am
The word 'that' can be eliminated most of the time, and should never be doubled: 'that that'.

Newkyuler instead of Newclear.
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Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:15 am
Ah the serial comma! Yes, it is a(n) uniquely American thing, but becoming common over here (sorry, forgot for a moment I'm in Phnom Penh - I mean UK) too. It implies a breath before the and which would be SO tiresome.

But Grand Duke, giving something to Jeff and I is TERRIBLY INCORRECT - all you have to do is to remove Jeff and you will see how silly it sounds. This doesn't stop many people saying it, but they are hypercorrecting so they don't make the mistake of 'saying Jeff and me saw the film.

I am in the business - EFL publishing - and I know these things!
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:17 am
SealPoet wrote:


Newkyuler instead of Newclear.

Isn't this George W's favourite misdisunpronunciation? Would someone tell him... please?
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  2  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:35 am
I've almost given up on this one. It still sounds wrong, though.

"Different" should take the preposition "from", not "to" or "than".

So many people use the incorrect forms that there's no point trying, any more.

I think some of the points you've made, above, are about slang usage which is, almost by definition, not the "correct" usage.

KP
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:41 am
Again, the Americans mark as correct 'different than'. There's no telling some people.
I hate disinterested used to mean uninterested; I would like a disinterested judge but not an uninterested one.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:43 am
Given that elephumps and Brits both use too many vowells when spelling simple words, and seem to believe that "-re" should be pronounced as is "-er," it seems as though there are a lot of black pots maligning kettles in this thread.
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:45 am
ooh, who is quick to respond to the needle Smile
Elephumps NEVER forget...
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:47 am
The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he's not a feast.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I'll stare at something less prepoceros.


-- Ogden Nash


Would that Mr. Nash had given the elephump similar treatment . . .
0 Replies
 
Clary
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 06:49 am
Like your scut, anyway. And aren't my tusks fine?
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sarius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:02 am
Such deep-'seeded' feelings between the two.

Elephump? Sounds like a genetically modified camel. Sticks and stones may not break its bones, but a straw might smash it flat.
0 Replies
 
kitchenpete
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:05 am
Setanta wrote:
Given that elephumps and Brits both use too many vowells when spelling simple words, and seem to believe that "-re" should be pronounced as is "-er," it seems as though there are a lot of black pots maligning kettles in this thread.


Ooooh, that smarts!

I know the two languages - English and American - are different. We don't want to change and neither do you. We can still understand each other, most of the time. Cool

Same word, different meaning - e.g. alternate, momentarily - are strange but we'll get by.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Mar, 2004 07:26 am
Clary wrote:
Like your scut, anyway. And aren't my tusks fine?


Indeed, yer outward toofs be magnificent . . .


KP: It might have been Clary, i don't recall for certain, but one of your countrywomen started a thread to discover who the American was who changed our language. Let go see what i can find.
 

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