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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Mrrzy 16 Jan 22 - 05:39 PM
leeneia 16 Jan 22 - 03:33 PM
Mrrzy 15 Jan 22 - 10:54 AM
Lighter 15 Jan 22 - 10:29 AM
Mrrzy 15 Jan 22 - 08:31 AM
BobL 15 Jan 22 - 03:50 AM
Lighter 14 Jan 22 - 01:46 PM
Donuel 13 Jan 22 - 05:02 PM
Lighter 13 Jan 22 - 02:22 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 22 - 01:58 PM
leeneia 13 Jan 22 - 01:53 PM
Mrrzy 13 Jan 22 - 12:53 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 22 - 10:15 AM
Lighter 13 Jan 22 - 08:47 AM
Steve Shaw 13 Jan 22 - 05:51 AM
leeneia 13 Jan 22 - 12:42 AM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 08:05 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 22 - 08:00 PM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 07:25 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 22 - 06:20 PM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 05:18 PM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 05:15 PM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 04:53 PM
Mrrzy 12 Jan 22 - 12:00 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 22 - 10:06 AM
Lighter 12 Jan 22 - 09:37 AM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 22 - 07:18 AM
Mrrzy 11 Jan 22 - 10:11 AM
BobL 11 Jan 22 - 04:32 AM
Mrrzy 10 Jan 22 - 09:23 PM
weerover 10 Jan 22 - 02:47 PM
Backwoodsman 10 Jan 22 - 02:33 PM
weerover 10 Jan 22 - 02:05 PM
Steve Shaw 10 Jan 22 - 08:51 AM
weerover 10 Jan 22 - 08:37 AM
weerover 10 Jan 22 - 08:28 AM
Senoufou 10 Jan 22 - 08:02 AM
Lighter 10 Jan 22 - 07:49 AM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 22 - 09:01 PM
Mrrzy 09 Jan 22 - 08:30 PM
Steve Shaw 09 Jan 22 - 06:48 PM
PHJim 09 Jan 22 - 05:59 PM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 22 - 11:13 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 22 - 10:36 AM
Mrrzy 07 Jan 22 - 09:44 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 22 - 09:34 AM
Steve Shaw 07 Jan 22 - 09:18 AM
Tattie Bogle 07 Jan 22 - 08:19 AM
Steve Shaw 06 Jan 22 - 07:32 PM
Tattie Bogle 06 Jan 22 - 07:02 PM
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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Jan 22 - 05:39 PM

As someone prone to mania, I try to avoid passions.

That said I am up to 3x mahjongg a week...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Jan 22 - 03:33 PM

Hi, Mrrzy. My dictionary says that spit can mean 'exact likeness or image,' and merely notes that it is dialect. No origin. Spitting image used to be spit and image, as the OED observes.
=========
Here's a word I'm tired of: passion. So many people nowadays seem to be looking for their passion, blah blah blah. I have a lot of interests and causes, but I don't believe I've ever had a passion for anything.

What would I have to do if I had a passion for something? Stay up night and day doing it? Spend all my money on it? Roam the world seeking it? I have better ways to spend my time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jan 22 - 10:54 AM

Thanks! Etymology rules, spit drools!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Jan 22 - 10:29 AM

Brace yourselves for this, straight from Oxford.

"Spitting image" is a now standard phrase that was originally a hypercorrection of...

"Spittin' image," which was a hypercorrection of...

"Spitten image," which the OED regards as "nonstandard," and which was a misconstrual of...

"Spit and image," which the editors consider perfectly standard, and which was a variation of the seminal and equally standard "very spit of."

Why exactly "spit" should have been used this way is uncertain, though uncouth possibilities do come to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 15 Jan 22 - 08:31 AM

Spitting image is the same in French, oddly enough (portait craché). I never got that either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 15 Jan 22 - 03:50 AM

Not so apocryphal: when the diggers of Channel Tunnel met in the middle, the Times' headline was

CONTINENT NO LONGER ISOLATED


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Jan 22 - 01:46 PM

I should obviously have said "was an additional victim of..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Donuel
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 05:02 PM

I understand someone being the splitting image of their mom.
I don't get 'spitting' image.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 02:22 PM

Could it be that they just discovered that the 12-year-old was also the victim of a previously reported fire?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 01:58 PM

Reminds me of a headline (possibly apocryphal) many years ago, when we still thought that Britain ruled the waves:

FOG IN ENGLISH CHANNEL: CONTINENT CUT OFF


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 01:53 PM

Yes, Mrrzy, that is odd. Why not "Three die in..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 12:53 PM

Ok this one bugged me but not grammatically:

12-year old boy died with his mother and 2 sisters.

How did the one male become the person and the others the mere relatives? How about Woman dies with 3 children? How about Family dies, including (12-yo boy if he was the youngest by a large margin maybe?)?

Anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 10:15 AM

Tends to take the edge off the maxim somewhat! :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 08:47 AM

You mean "One person's..." ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 05:51 AM

Dunno about that one: I think I quite like it. The meaning is clear and obvious, taken in context, and it's one of those things that seem to add colour to the language without resort to big or obscure words. As ever, one man's fish is another man's poisson...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Jan 22 - 12:42 AM

I've noticed another peeve of mine - using "place" to mean something more complicated.

Like this: "At that time I was with an abuser who was also highly manipulative. I was in a very bad place." That speaker went on the use "place" 3 or 4 times, as if it were particularly clever.

The person wasn't in a place; she was in a marriage, or a relationship, or a cult or something similar. And getting out of it was far more complicated than simply leaving a place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 08:05 PM

I'm wit' yoo, pal.

Lucidity, not stupidity!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 08:00 PM

Brilliant! Doesn't that sort of thing get your goat? We have such a lovely language, full of what perplexed scholars call "irregularities," whilst the truth is that the intricacies, the colour and the nuance of English ironically (ironically in some people's view only) allow us to express ourselves so clearly, flexibly and simply. Yet there are people, the over-clever who aren't clever at all, who prefer to use long words where a shorter word would work better and multiple words where a single word would be just fine. My aim is always to try to make sure that, whatever the victims of my posts think of my opinions, I express myself in a way that doesn't require a ton of mental processing in order to understand what I'm on about. Mistakes, typos, grammatical inelegance and the occasional spelling error don't count for much. Language is all about the clarity of communication.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 07:25 PM

I concur that pomposity is abominable* (especially when wed to foolishness), but if you were to spend as much time as I once did reading academic prose in the lit-crit line, I think you'd find many of the annoying usages discussed here plain enough and positively refreshing.

Check this out. The learned author is discussing Charlie Chaplin in "Shoulder Arms: (1918):

"Because such moments of interpretive perception in 'Shoulder Arms' frequently take the literal form of one character seeing one thing *as* another, they provide a useful test case for the idea that the concept of aspect perception, as Wittgenstein understood it, may have interpretive rather than simply theoretical use, that this concept has to do with the surprising conjunction of perceptual agility, knowledge of the world, and ethical understanding. Whereas most film theoretical accounts of aspect perception use Wittgenstein's concept as a means of thinking through the phenomenology of vision. 'Shoulder Arms' suggests that aspect perception is of importance for its articulation of value and mutuality."

I believe this means in English that "characters in 'Shoulder Arms' often mistake one thing for another. The movie, however, suggests that everyone may profit from seeing objects as they are."

Wow! Insights worthy of Wittgenstein, not to mention Socrates.

____

*See what I did there?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 06:20 PM

I take your point about the antiquity of the "modern" manifestation of "begs the question." I think the point is that saying "it begs the question" rather than the far plainer and more explicit "it raises the question" is unnecessary, pretentious and an attempt to sound clever. Not wrong, but all those things. I feel the same way about "albeit," which is correct and equally ancient (though it almost died out before its unfortunate twentieth-century resurgence). But it has plainer and more honest alternatives that, unlike "albeit," don't make you sound as if you're trying put sounding sophisticated ahead of making your honest argument. Try "though" every time...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 05:18 PM

No, not "soctrinal."

"Doctrinal."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 05:15 PM

Dig this, from the St. Louis Republic of January 4, 1904 p.8:

"With reference to the act of recognition, the President begs the question of whether or not Panama by its own uninfluenced action established a complete independence."


Or the Morning Chronicle (London, Eng.) of October 30, 1838 [!], p. 2:

"The complaint we made against The Post on Saturday will equally apply to the Herald of Monday, viz., that it begs the whole question whether Mr TURNER'S discourses were soctrinal or moral."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 04:53 PM

How about "irregoddamnless." More emphatic.

I suspect the modern use of "beg the question" is older than most of us think - even if it only became visible recently.

After all, the orginal, highly idiomatic phrase has to be explained at some point to most people. Just knowing the meaning of each word isn't much help.

But the newer sense (not in OED, by the way) is easy to grasp as short for "begs that the question be asked."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 12:00 PM

I love Irregardless.

I use this thread to list things that bug me. Not things I correct people for using. That last would be policing. Here, I just complain.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 10:06 AM

Definitely that one too. Many another: keep 'em coming!

I never did get "existential" and I don't know how to use it.

And don't get me started on "begs the question." Almost everyone who uses this means "raises the question," which is elegant and normal English. If I hear someone saying "it begs the question..." who ISN'T referring to a circular argument, I consider them to be a pompous arse. Unfortunately, they've won - it's now standard English even in its corrupted sense, irregardless of what I may think (see what I did there?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 09:37 AM

Wot, no "in real time"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 22 - 07:18 AM

To be pseudo-philosophical for a moment, I think it's possible to lament some word evolutions without actually castigating the kind of modern usage which may seem to us to be predicated on ignorance. There are shades: I'm not bothered at all by the way people use "unique," "literally" and things like that. I think that objectors to the modern usage of "decimate" are just plain wrong. It's hard to continue criticising the flexibility that's crept in with "uninterested" and "disinterested," even though I think the distinction is useful. In fact, that distinction is quite modern; it was not forever thus in any case. "Alternate" instead of "alternative" really gets my goat (I blame the Monkees), though it's now become unarguable. We need to do a bit more lamenting and a bit less criticising!

What grate are things that just look or sound stupid. "At the end of the day..." (I've just used that in another post and regret the lack of the ability to edit...we can all get sucked in...), "basically," "prior to," "on a daily basis," "going forward," "I have to say," "listen up," "with all due respect..."




"Albeit"...   :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 10:11 AM

Bet it rhymes!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 11 Jan 22 - 04:32 AM

I have another list, of things that came off the bucket list because I can't now be bothered to do them.
Guess what it's called.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 09:23 PM

Is the verb crescendo also? The music crescendoed?

I like precarity. Unlike Voltaire, if it hadn't existed, it would have been necessary to invent it.

Totz agree [see what I did there?] With Thinking to myself. That is exaxctly how I feel about the term bucket list. I mean, when would you do things, *after* you died?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: weerover
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 02:47 PM

Thanks, Backwoodsman, before posting I checked with the Shorter Oxford Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary (of which I have five editions) and found no trace, but it appears I may be wrong after all. I suspect it could be a fairly new development.

wr


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 02:33 PM

”Precarity": there is no such word but I have encountered it twice in recent weeks, in the Guardian newspaper and on a BBC radio discussion, in both cases by trade union representatives.”

It exists, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary…

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/precarity


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: weerover
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 02:05 PM

On this evening's radio news, the sports commentator said that Novak Djokovic could be "the first male tennis player to win 21 Grand Slams". In fact, that would be 21 major tournaments, each of which would have been a single leg of a clean sweep of all major tournaments, which is what a Grand Slam actually means. This flawed terminology has become a regular feature of commentary on tennis and golf, and for me somewhat devalues the achievement of anyone who has actually swept the boards.

wr


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:51 AM

Agreed about acronym. Very often, the misusers of this word think they're being clever as they're using such a sophisticated-sounding word. Instead, they are simply showing themselves to be complete asses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: weerover
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:37 AM

"Acronym" as a term for any abbreviation.

"Appraised" when it should be "apprised": heard last night on the TV police drama "Vera".

"Precarity": there is no such word but I have encountered it twice in recent weeks, in the Guardian newspaper and on a BBC radio discussion, in both cases by trade union representatives.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: weerover
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:28 AM

Apologies if I am repeating anything already posted, but I don't have the inclination to read all of the thread.

"I was thinking to myself...": there is no solid evidence for telepathy, so far as I am aware.

"Building to a crescendo...": crescendo is the process of approaching a peak, not the peak itself.

wr


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Senoufou
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 08:02 AM

I agree with Steve. Language is fascinating in all its diversity.It gives a clue about the speaker's origin, experiences and educational progress. I adore accents, and have quite a bit of talent for learning foreign languages. I can imitate many accents, and have done so since I was about two years old. I also accept that all languages evolve over time. We no longer speak as if we were Tudors!
However, having been a teacher for all my working life, I find myself bristling at poor grammar, cringing at 'dropped aitches' (or 'haitches', which seems to be the new pronunciation!) and stopping myself firmly for having the cheek to correct someone's speech (particularly here in Norfolk, the dialect of which I adore)
As I've said on here before, my favourite 'new' word is innit. Innit eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Jan 22 - 07:49 AM

Actually literally can still mean what it always did. It just has an additional, annoyingly contrary meaning as well.

Big deal. What about "cleave?" You can "cleave together" or "cleave people apart." Nobody seems to object, because so few use the word in ordinary speech or writing that there's no fun in feeling superior to them.

The same is true for both "perfect" and "unique." The original meanings still obtain, but they also mean "nearly unique" and "nearly perfect."

As in the other cases, and unless the speaker or writer is very sloppy, context will tell. Minimal context, however, can lead to the annoying or dangerous ambiguities people dread. (Think about labels that used to say nothing but "inflammable," which had to be changed to "flammable" because the unread might think it meant just the opposite.

Context is quite as important to understanding as are dictionary definitions. It's all that hat makes figures of speech comprehensible.

Dictionary definitions provide allow people to assert that newly familiar words and meanings are "just wrong." However, the first, brief, monolingual English dictionary didn't appear till 1604.

Chaucer and the youthful Shakespeare, for example, did all right without one by using whatever words that seemed fitting to them.

Context, context, context.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 09:01 PM

Then you are of the grammar police, and I feel you need to relax more. You yourself use expressions such as "yum" and "marvy." And so you should if you want to, and the rest of us have the choice as to whether we clench our buttocks or not when you do. The "literally" battle was lost years ago. It no longer means what you think it means, but feel free to cling on. You accuse people of misusing words. They don't. They use words, perhaps in ways you don't approve of. That's tough, but the tide is flowing against you. And against me, in many cases, but I'm fine with it.

I try to write decent English on this board, complete with appropriate grammar, spelling and punctuation, knowing that I can still be casual if I want to be. But I don't expect the same from everyone else. I enjoy the different styles here and I appreciate that good grammar and punctuation are less of a priority to some whose main aim is to get their point across. The main problem for me is pretentiousness in the use of words. Albeit, prior to, at this moment in time, going forward, I have to say. I can put up with it, grinning through gritted teeth, but anyone having a pot at me for the way I use English had better beware! Let's never forget that language is all about communication. I can think of a couple of people here who think it's about being over-clever and deliberately obscurantist. No names, no pack drill!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 08:30 PM

I'm with Jim. Pregnant, unique, [statistically] significant, worthy, are all terms that combination with modifiers like "very" or "enough" makes me cringe.

You are either worthy, pregnant, or unique, or you're not. There is no such thing as Worthy enough. There is worthy.

A difference is either [statistically] significant or not. It can be a trivial difference, an unimportant difference, but the use of significant *in jargon, rather than in English* refers not to importance, but to a probability of being wrong if you attribute the difference to your manipulation, when it might have been random variation.

I realize people misuse these frequently, but that doesn't make the misuse proper use. Literally still literally means literally, not figuratively.

I fight a rearguard action in some ways, but then again, the singular they is my only correct pronoun.

A foolish consistency is not my issue.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 06:48 PM

Reluctantly, Jim, I disagree. So many people these days use constructions such as "more unique", "somewhat unique" and "very unique" and so on. Like you, I don't care for these constructions, but if you research the history of its usage (which is fairly modern), you'll find that objections to the use of "unique" with modifiers come mostly from, er, grammar police.

I think you've got even less of a case with "perfect." Usages such as "more perfect, "less perfect" or "less than perfect" (I like that one...) and so on are so common that they have become standard English. You and I can bemoan to our hearts' content the fact that these undesirable expressions have wheedled their way sneakily into our language, but, as I always say, language it what we speak, not what grammar professors say we should speak. But we don't have to use things that we dislike, and you'll never hear me say, or see me type, "more unique."

Or albeit, or prior to...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: PHJim
Date: 09 Jan 22 - 05:59 PM

A phrase that always bothers me is "To form a more perfect Union" from the preamble to the United States Constitution.

Perfection is absolute. If something is perfect, it has no flaws and cannot be improved upon. Words like "perfect" or "unique" cannot be modified with "more" or "less".
If something can be made more perfect, then it wasn't perfect in the first place.
If something can be made less perfect, then you must introduce flaws which will render it no longer perfect.
The same is true of "unique".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 11:13 AM

Right. That is why I accept Jus only in the phrase Au jus... Not with au jus, or served au jus, just au jus.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 10:36 AM

"Au jus" and "jus" don't mean the same thing.

I'll be making confit potatoes this weekend. I find it a useful term which hasn't got any easy substitutes.

I'm not against foreign terms in cookery per se. I mean, where would we be without al dente, soufflé, rágù, soffritto and the rest? Pass the corkscrew!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 09:44 AM

Jus is ok *if* it is -in the phrase au jus and not With au jus, -actually the mean juice and not some form of gravy.

Compote? Not so much.

How about confit?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 09:34 AM

Oh, and "jus." How could I have forgotten "jus"!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 09:18 AM

Two pretentious words on menus that annoy me are "compote" and "medley." There will be others. And don't get me started (in the M&S food hall especially) on "goujons," "flatties" and "tenders"...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 07 Jan 22 - 08:19 AM

Never likely to, Steve! The farthest west we ever get is Devon!

2 things that bug me, and given the length of this thread may well have been mentioned before.....
People who say incredulous when they mean incredible.
People who mix up complement and compliment: it happens so often on restaurant menus, not that I've been to restaurant in a long time - only once since Covid struck!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 07:32 PM

If that bugs you, Tattie, I strongly suggest that you never read the Bude And Stratton Post...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 06 Jan 22 - 07:02 PM

Seen in an online news article on “Edinburgh Live” - not one, not two, but three instances of it’s when it should have been its, followed by a caption regarding a shop closing - Stationary Supplies. The article is illustrated by a picture of the doomed shop, with the correct spelling, so why couldn’t the sodding journalist get it right??


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