Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dogberryisms, eggcorns and random grammatical gaffes

I love to read.  Scratch that...I am compelled to read.  Put a newspaper in front of me and I will read it front to back.  Unless it is the LA Times...I defy anyone to read that all the way thru! Give me a magazine and I will start at the beginning and read thru to the ads.  None of that looking up something in the index and going right to the article.  Nope.  If I want to read an article highlighted on the cover, I read each page until I happen upon the article, read that, then keep going to the end.  Whether it be a cereal box or a catalog on an airplane, I read everything.  My mom is fond of telling a story about one Christmas when one of my gifts was a stack 10 high of Nancy Drew books.  That will keep her busy all vacation, she thought.  I finished them Christmas Day. During my junior year of high school I was delighted to learn in English class that we would be reading The Great Gatsby.  I took the book home and read it the first night, only to have to suffer thru weeks and weeks of class where we took turns reading pages from it until finally the torture was blessedly over.  I fell asleep more than once that semester.

Loving to read, it should be no surprise that I also love to write.  I adore searching for the right word, just the right phrase to describe something.  Do I always find it?  Of course not, but not for lack of trying.  So it should also come as no surprise that the misuse of words in print or by broadcast drives me crazy. I believe the outright making up of words should be a crime! Before you ask, no, I do not go around correcting people's grammar. How my friends and relatives speak is completely up to them. However, I firmly believe that anyone who is a newscaster, pundit, broadcaster or professional writer should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. They should, at a minimum, be aware of what they are saying.  I am a virtual office manager in a real estate company and as such, receive hundreds of e-flyers and other marketing pieces each week.  I am stunned by how unprofessional some of them are.
 
Here are a few of my favorites, both spoken and written, in no particular order.

Conversate.  I heard this during the televised broadcast of a football game when the color commentator mentioned he had met with this or that player and "sat down to conversate with him".  I had to rewind the dvr 5 times just to convince myself that I had, indeed, heard correctly.
Irregardless.  This apparently makes other people cringe as well.
New leash on life. I have both heard and read this and it makes me chuckle every single time.
Perscription, nucular and other mispronunciations.  Spell check typically keeps these out of the written word, but I have heard more than one tv talking head utter these.
Its vs it's and their vs there vs they're.  I am always amazed by the misuse of these words. I imagine English teachers everywhere would like to add lay vs lie and sit vs set. I have to admit those don't bother me as much, although I am not sure why.
A close 2nd to the it's vs its issue is the improper use in print of an apostrophe before an 's' when it is meant to be plural not possessive.  I see this a lot in real estate advertising.  Just yesterday I received an e-flyer showcasing a home that had "plenty of room for boat's".
Thru vs threw vs through. I admit to using thru almost exclusively when I write, but I never confuse it with threw.
Signal out vs single out. When I hear 'signal out', I always think of the Navy...and I have no idea why.
Amazability.  Nope, not a word.  Neither is ginormous, although I secretly like that one.
Drank vs drunk and sneaked vs snuck. Rather than irritate me, these always make me laugh, particularly when I hear a newscaster use them.
Expecially.  There are a lot of people who apparently confuse X and S.
I vs Me. As in "the house belongs to Mike and I" rather than the correct "the house belongs to Mike and me". For some reason this one really irritates me.
Set and done. I haven't a clue why anyone would confuse this with 'said and done' but when I see it, I always wonder if the same person says 'said in stone'.
 
So there you have it, a short list of words that drives me crazy.  As my daughter oft times tells me...it's a short drive.




5 comments:

  1. I get a bee in my bonnet over punctuation , they tell me its redundant now text speak is the "thing" . But at the moment i'm nursing a keyboard that i dribbled honey in. So I write as if i have dyslexia.

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    1. That must be frustrating! Thanks for stopping by and have a great week. Sue

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  3. "New leash on life"...oh..too many jokes come to mind about that one!
    As a former English teacher I often reminisce with friends about our best moments of students mispronouncing words. My all time favourite occurred during a grade 9 oral presentation; an adorable little girl was discussing the historical background of a novel (1930's.) She kept referring to "face-ism"...I smiled, listened politely and inside said "huh??" Later from her notes I realized she was trying to say "fascism." Ohhh...that made more sense.

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    1. You could no doubt write a book about your experiences as a teacher! Sue

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