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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Jos 28 Feb 21 - 04:25 PM
Steve Shaw 28 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM
Jos 28 Feb 21 - 08:15 AM
Steve Shaw 27 Feb 21 - 12:29 PM
Mrrzy 26 Feb 21 - 07:33 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Feb 21 - 05:16 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 12:42 PM
Jos 25 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM
Mrrzy 25 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 05:59 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 04:39 AM
BobL 25 Feb 21 - 02:34 AM
Jos 25 Feb 21 - 02:19 AM
leeneia 25 Feb 21 - 12:22 AM
michaelr 24 Feb 21 - 09:23 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 05:59 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 10:55 AM
leeneia 23 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM
Jos 23 Feb 21 - 09:23 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 07:42 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Feb 21 - 09:42 AM
Jos 17 Feb 21 - 07:51 AM
Doug Chadwick 17 Feb 21 - 06:30 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Feb 21 - 05:52 AM
BobL 17 Feb 21 - 03:48 AM
robomatic 16 Feb 21 - 10:31 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM
robomatic 16 Feb 21 - 05:58 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Feb 21 - 05:24 PM
Doug Chadwick 16 Feb 21 - 03:02 PM
Raggytash 16 Feb 21 - 01:04 PM
meself 16 Feb 21 - 11:47 AM
Doug Chadwick 16 Feb 21 - 04:54 AM
Steve Shaw 15 Feb 21 - 08:38 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Feb 21 - 05:55 PM
Lighter 15 Feb 21 - 05:43 PM
Mrrzy 15 Feb 21 - 04:42 PM
Lighter 15 Feb 21 - 01:00 PM
Steve Shaw 15 Feb 21 - 11:57 AM
leeneia 15 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM
Steve Shaw 14 Feb 21 - 03:50 PM
leeneia 14 Feb 21 - 03:34 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Feb 21 - 08:21 PM
Steve Shaw 11 Feb 21 - 07:59 PM
JennieG 11 Feb 21 - 07:43 PM
Mrrzy 10 Feb 21 - 09:48 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Feb 21 - 06:49 AM
Steve Shaw 10 Feb 21 - 06:42 AM
Nigel Parsons 10 Feb 21 - 06:22 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 04:25 PM

Another variation I hadn't heard before was from one of the expert valuers on the Antiques Roadshow this evening, who said:

"So, you know, that beggars the question ...".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM

Begging the question in its circular-argument form is another lost cause. It's a shame, because in that form it serves a useful function, but, as almost no-one understands that form any more... I still find myself pulling people up who use it for "raise the question." To me, using it that way sounds both pretentious and ignorant at the same time. I'm simply going to have to get over it. But not yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 08:15 AM

I heard a new variation on "begging the question" on the radio this morning, when a speaker said of something that happened: "it begs the idea ...".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 12:29 PM

Principle/principal is a common and annoying mix-up. And one that screws up many a Brit but leaves yanks completely untouched is practice/practise. I do like the difference...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 07:33 PM

Oh I *love* the Mc prefix... McJob, McMansion, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 05:16 PM

To go into a McDonalds to go to the toilet but not buy anything: "go for a McShit."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:42 PM

At least 20-odd years ago I caused some amusement on a harmonica forum by referring to Bob Dylan's God-awful harmonica playing as "Dylanesque." I've heard that word a good few times since.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM

I rather like 'MacDonaldsesque' - it wouldn't be a compliment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM

One of the only 6 is redundant. One of the 6.

I never thought of Go-to as referring only to important people, but I did get in trouble once for using -esque with someone unexceptional, and was told that wasn't appropriate. A movie can be Felliniesque but a meal cannot, say, be McDonaldsesque.

I rebelled, of course, in my Mrrzyesque way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:59 AM

I often think that many of these little linguistic foibles should be let go when they're spoken but should be more inclined to cause a raised eyebrow when put in writing. I simply can't be judgemental about all the little strategies people use in order to get their point across in conversation. After all, in this age of faces glued to phone screens we should be encouraging each other to talk more among ourselves. Little slips or grammatical solecisms should maybe be excused...

A newsreader one that I have trouble picking the bones out of is "a half of one percent."   I know they can't really say "0.5 percent" and that "half a percent" and "a half percent" are just nonsensical. I think we have a clumsiness here that humanity has yet to elegantly resolve. Most of the time we can just say "one in two hundred," I suppose. Not so easy if it's a quantity that can't be rendered in discrete numerical entities: "half of one percent of a pile of manure" can hardly be put into numbers...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 04:39 AM

I think go-to is fine, a good example of how a nifty casual expression has gained currency because it's concise, clear in its meaning and popular. Just don't use it in your next legal document. We really can't fight all these things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 02:34 AM

"One of the only"

But "only" can refer to a plurality, as in "one of the only six remaining."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 02:19 AM

Along with "one of the only" there is "half of all the ...".
It isn't incorrect but it is unnecessary.

And then there are "the single largest ..." and "the largest single ...".
Both just mean "the largest".

I think people use them to try to make what they are saying sound more impressive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:22 AM

I'm tired of the expression "go-to." It used to refer to somebody important, as in:

"Doc Vollmer was Nero Wolfe's go-to medical man when an associate was injured."

Now it's used for any old thing.

"Garam marsala is his go-to spice for almost all dishes."
"Pink platforms are her go-to footwear for evening occasions."

Ugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 21 - 09:23 PM

I may have posted this before. It remains a burr under my saddle.

"One of the only"

NO. It's either "the only" or it's "one of several".

Don't make me tell you again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 05:59 PM

And in tonight's FaceTime, Sonny Jim came out with two new variants: "yeah ok but...". And "yebbut no." Good to see him adding nuance as his language skills develop!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 10:55 AM

Ah, I forgot about Vicky Pollard! The more examples of the word's usage by high-flying literati such as her, the better!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM

For many decades I've heard the response ""Yeah-but the rabbut," which is probably best explained by an example.

Teenager: Yeah, but I couldn't put gas in the car because the station was closed.

Parent: Yeah-but the rab-but! You should have got gas earlier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 09:23 AM

Im only aware of it from Vicky Pollard, "Yebbut, nobbut, yebbut, nobbut ...".
I'll keep an ear out for other examples.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM

I see that it's already inveigling its way into wider usage. Here's one from Twitter this week:

"Yebbut we need the PCs [pharmaceutical companies] solvent to keep at the expensive research so that vaccines be updated in response to virus mutations. Not to mention the next pandemic.
Happy for a tax on ( fill in your own choice) to pay for global roll-out."

And I spotted an example of Kate Humble using it in 2009! I rest my case!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 07:42 AM

I wish to nominate a new word to be added to the lexicon of what we call standard English.


Yebbut.



This word has been used here frequently by Dave the Gnome and myself, but what's tipped me is the way my five-year-old grandson has adopted it, completely independently.

"Yebbut" means "I hear you, guv, though not necessarily actually listening, and I'm not with you on this one."

When little Sonny Jim uses it, he cannot be turned. He has found your suggestion to be one hundred percent disagreeable to him and nothing will persuade him to take your stance on board (stubborn little bugger). He's been using it so often in our FaceTime calls that it's rubbed off on me and Mrs Steve something rotten, and we now use it all tbe time.

It's very annoying, of course, which is why I feel it has a home in this thread. And in all respectable dictionaries...

It's superbly succinct and I'm going to be using it a lot more from now on. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 09:42 AM

I dusted the top of the cake with cocoa powder (added dust)

I dusted my windowsills (took away dust)

We began to execute the plan (started it)

I executed the bluebottle with my electrified swatter (ended it)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 07:51 AM

Another is 'sanction' - permit or authorise an action, or impose penalties for an action.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 06:30 AM

"cleave" is a contranym, a word with two opposite meanings.

Another example is:
       "fast" - moving quickly;
and
       "fast" - securely tied.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 05:52 AM

Convergent evolution...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 03:48 AM

It's either - "cleave" is a contranym, a word with two opposite meanings.
As to whether they are actually the same word, or different but identical words, is something I'll leave to the wordsmiths amongst us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: robomatic
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 10:31 PM

Cleave on, MacDuff!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM

It's both. Context is everything!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: robomatic
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 05:58 PM

My latest bete noir is cleave:

Which is it:

Cleave to? or
Cleave asunder?

Which is it Clive?

It's worse than flammable, inflammable and imflammable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 05:24 PM

Worthy does not necessarily imply tedious. In most cases it takes more than one word to define a word (otherwise your definition would merely be an unenlightening synonym). Let's just say that "worthy" in the second sense can mean competent and/or having good intent, but dull and/or tedious and/or boring and/or unimaginative and/or uninspiring (etc.). Your precise intended meaning depends on nuance and context. Move "dull" into the middle of that to give it an and/or get-out, by the way. To add spice to the conversation, "tedious" is also a word ripe for nuance. English is so lovely. No sweat, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 03:02 PM

..... if worthy already means "worthy but tedious"

But "worthy" doesn't already mean "worthy but tedious". I could donate money to a "worthy and inspirational" charity.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Raggytash
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 01:04 PM

Grammar is important. Capital letters are the difference between "helping your Uncle Jack off a horse" and "helping your uncle jack off a horse"


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 11:47 AM

The quotation reveals a lack of faith in the definition: "worthy but tedious" is otherwise redundant, if worthy already means "worthy but tedious" .....


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 04:54 AM

A vehicle that is maintained to a sufficiently high standard to be used legally on a public road is road-worthy. The quality that it possesses is that of 'road-worthiness', not 'road-worth'.



Steve, your second definition conflates two separate ideas:

2. characterised by good intent but lacking in humour or imagination.
"worthy but tedious advice"
.............
.............
It sort of means competent enough but just dull and uninspiring.



So,
"worthy": characterised by good intent; (sort of means) competent enough
but
"tedious": lacking in humour or imagination; (sort of means) just dull and uninspiring.



DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 08:38 PM

The first-up online dictionary gives two distinct meanings for the adjective "worthy," viz:

1. having or showing the qualities that deserve the specified action or regard.
"these issues are worthy of further consideration"

2. characterised by good intent but lacking in humour or imagination.
"worthy but tedious advice"

That second meaning is common in the UK, but, oddly, when I looked it up in Merriam-Webster online it wasn't there. It sort of means competent enough but just dull and uninspiring. The point is, to extend that into a noun you would say "worthiness." Which is what I meant in that earlier post. I'd be interested to know if the word "worthy" is ever used in that sense your end.

It might be worth adding (see what I did there?) that we also have a noun "worthy," as in "The public meeting was attended by the town's ceremonial bigwigs and quite a few other local worthies."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 05:55 PM

Worth and worthiness mean two different things to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 05:43 PM

Oxford shows "worthiness" from 1372.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 04:42 PM

Right, to me too, it isn't a litany if it isn't being tediously listed *out loud*.

But it does not have to be in worship.

I agree with Steve Shaw on degradation. I also mind backformations, I think the term is, for words like Worthiness. The word is worth. Worthy, the adjective, does not need a -ness added to form the noun. The noun is already there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 01:00 PM

Yeah, it isn't just any list. It's a long or tedious list, especially if spoken aloud.

I don't write out a grocery litany, for example, or a to-do litany.

Nor do I think that Mudcat is likely to have a litany of members.

For fans of group designators (like a "clowder" of cats), a "litany" is now pretty much the inevitable term for a number of complaints.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 11:57 AM

Well my gripe is with degradation - stuff such as alternate for alternative, or the terminal blurring of uninterested and disinterested. I don't think we necessarily have to reserve litany for churchy use. It's perfectly good in that context, but the more modern expansion into tedious lists of things (it's already acquired that nuance of tediousness when it's used that way: "I don't want to hear your litany of complaints...") is colourful. What's more, it doesn't degrade the liturgical context for the word. So it's fine by me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM

Actually, standard English isn't good enough for most Mudcatters. We're a literate and literary group.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Feb 21 - 03:50 PM

Litany has evolved to mean a long (and possibly tedious) list of things. Lengthy could be a better word than long. A litany of grievances. A litany of complaints. I think it's commoner used in this sense now than it is in its liturgical sense. Another battle lost, I'm afraid. It's standard English in the sense you are complaining about!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 14 Feb 21 - 03:34 PM

Another pet peeve of mine: litany

A litany is a list of petitions in a church service. The minister asks the Lord for something, and the congregation responds with a phrase such as "Hear our prayer." Another use: when I was attending Catholic church, we sang a beautiful "Litany of the Saints" which named ancient saints and our own dead, followed by "Pray for Us." Like the lullabies I mentioned in a different thread, that song seemed designed to soothe a person and bring inner peace.

My peeve occurs when somebody uses "litany" to mean any old list. I just heard a lawyer say that people arrested for attacking the Capitol on Jan 6 can face a litany of charges. Pfui. It's just a list of charges.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 08:21 PM

When we were little there was no bathroom in our house. There was a row of brick shithouses for the houses in the block which you had to cross an unlit dirt communal yard to reach. The lavvy had a high level cistern with a metal chain and ceramic handle. It would flush only if you "took it by surprise." Bad on a winter's night and impossible for kids after bedtime, so we always had a guzunder, a potty, a po ("goes under" the bed). More politely, a chamber pot, the bedroom ware, a vase de nuit or a pot de nuit.. I think "po" came from the French "pot." In our house it was always the potty. When talking politely about the setup in others' houses we'd say "guzunder." It was regarded as extreme bad form to employ said item for anything other than a "number one", especially in a shared bedroom...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 07:59 PM

"Going potty" in English English means going a bit loopy, becoming prone to doing daft things, going a bit mad, barking, losing it in a sort of frantic way, going nutty. Becoming a crackpot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: JennieG
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 07:43 PM

An expression read in American books is "going potty".....as in, "the dog went outside to go potty".

No, it didn't. It went outside to urinate. It didn't sit on its little potty like a toddler being toilet trained. Likewise when the term is used about an adult.

A library where I worked in the mid-late 1990s was upstairs, above a staff room (in a school). We had our own little cubicle, loo, dunny, whatever you call it, tucked away in a corner. The library staff referred to it as "the corner office"......"Is Pat here?" "In the corner office" would be the reply.

It's a term I still use.......


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 09:48 AM

Grandmother was suffering from digestive woes and someone asked where she was and grandfather said, she's sitting down upstairs.
Decorum, indeed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 06:49 AM

"Where have you been?"

"I've just been upstairs dropping the shopping. I'd give it twenty minutes if I were you..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 06:42 AM

"I'll be five minutes - I just have to go and crimp off a length..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 06:22 AM

"Going to the little boys' room"
or,
"Going for a pony!"


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