Wednesday, 4 November 2015

More despatches from the front in the War on Bad English

Ok, so I'm not claiming that everything I write is either grammatically accurate (or indeed interesting), but I do get to see a lot of written stuff at work and on social media. Here are some latest horrors. Most are regular mistakes, a couple are one-off hilarities that I had to include:


  1. Apologises - a regular one, this. Used where the writer actually means 'apologies', as in "my apologises for not being able to help you".
  2. Decent - much abused in the world of online cycling blogs, as in "I had a great decent down the mountain pass". Don't forget the 's' fellas. (Fellas in a non-gender specific sense, obvs.)
  3. Where/were - seems to have originated in Liverpool, because in Scouse these two words sound exactly the same, but neither are pronounced in a way the rest of us recognise. Anyway, because they sound the same, they use them interchangeably in written form. "Where you there?" "Yes, somewere" is a not-uncommon exchange. This contagion seems to be spreading to non-Scouse types now, more's the pity
  4. Defiantly - used erroneously when the writer means definitely. Another riser in this year's Top 40. Note - defiantly means "in a rebellious way", whereas definitely means absolutely, for sure
  5. "It's a mute point" - oft heard in work situations. It's not a mute point my friend, it's a moot point; when you've heard other people saying it, they've been enunciating properly, not affecting an American accent.  Talking of which....
  6. Affect/effect. I'm not even bothering to explain this one
  7. Dependent/dependant - I'm dependent on breathing to stay alive; my children are mt dependants. Again, often used interchangeably. Stop it!
  8. "I think we're going to have to change tact" - another work horror show. TACK, not tact, you odious little man
  9. Talking of which, my current work's Mr. Malaprop declared yesterday that one of the tasks on his to-do list was 'odorous'. I think he meant onerous, as working in HR I'm pretty sure he wasn't on his way to muck out a pigsty
  10. Your/you're - I think I and my legion of fellow pedants are going to have to run up the white flag on this one, on the basis more people now seem to get it wrong than right. "Your great" now doesn't get much more of a reaction that a resigned sigh; it's only "did you receive you're present?" that gets the hackles rising
  11. To/too - how hard, pray tell, is it to understand that you need to use "too" when something has an excessive amount of a quantity of something, and that an event is also happening?  Too hard, apparently
  12. A lovely one-off - the Shropshire Star website wrote last week in one of its court reports, that an individual had been described in court as "repungent". Reading a little further, it became clear that said individual was not a very nice person at all - repugnant was the word the professionally-trained journalist was groping for, but unfortunately, failing to grasp.
There. I'm sure there are others, but that should be enough to get me classified as an old-fashioned, got-no-life, sad snob. Tssk, whatever. Standards, Jeeves, standards.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Stuart, we are peas in a pod on this one.

    A perennial one for me is those who either don't know that the word is "specific" not "pacific" or they just can't pronounce it correctly.

    A new one that's cropped up with a colleague recently are things that are expotentially more expensive, such as air fares. And he uses it a lot. I can't quite figure out what expotentially might mean but perhaps it means something that might've had the potential to happen but now doesn't. So, "yesterday, there was a potential for rain today. Overnight it was potentially threatening today's carnival. But it hasn't happened, the Sun is out."

    So the rainstorm has expotentially affected the carnival. Does that kind of work?

    Where to you stand on non-offensive use of slang words Stuart? Such as "kinda"? Is that OK in informal writing?

    ReplyDelete

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