Are You A Cunning Linguist?

Stumbled across this whilst surfin the net.  Its just a paragraph, but the comments are where the treasure lies.

I’d love to watch Coble read it.

So, I’ll go ahead and list “lose” and “loose” as my personal pet peeve…and a surprising number of smart people confuse them!  Have you got a few that get under your skin?

I’m thinking about challenging the entire blogoshpere to write a post, at least three paragraphs long, without using a single slang phrase or term.

Ok, “best practice” made me laugh.   Pretentious as all get out.


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21 responses to “Are You A Cunning Linguist?

  1. I can’t believe i misspelled blogosphere.

    Wait, can you misspell a word that doesn’t exist?

  2. you just can’t cut the mustard, can you?

  3. heartbreaktown

    Hee – I use “I personally” a lot. I never caught “fairly unique” before – that’s funny.

    I totally agree with you on Lose and Loose. Sheesh – seems pretty basic stuff to me.

    Also, of course, nuclear & nucular.

    “it goes without saying” – then don’t.


    I’ve heard some smart people here say “supposably”. I’m always stunned.

    And a big one they say here in New England is “so don’t I” when they they mean “so do I” or “so couldn’t you” when they mean “so could you”. I do not get this quirk at all, but there it is – I actually heard a newscaster say it. Very strange.

    Regarding yours: I like the pronunciation of “blogoshpere”. Boom – it is now a part of my lexicon.

  4. The Shill

    I work at a large corporation where people like to schedule pre-meeting meetings so I quite enjoyed the comments.

    Related to fairly unqiue… a colleague once sent me the following list is absolutes:

    10. Unique. (“Something can’t be more unique than something else.)

    9. Precise. (“If you make a more precise measurement, was your first one really that precise?)

    8. Pure. (What’s the difference between “pure” and “100% pure”?)

    7. Definite. (Instead of admitting you don’t know what you’re talking about, do you ever say, “Let me get back to you with a more definite answer.”?)

    6. Fully. (If you offer to “more fully evaluate the situation,” did you even look into it in the first place?)

    5. Thorough. (If a chemist decides to do a “more thorough evaluation of the product,” did he even look at the product before?)

    4. Certain. (Can you really be “more certain”?)

    3. True. (Can a statement really be “more true today than it was a year ago”?)

    2. Simple. (If one question on a test is simple, can other be simpler?)

    1. Pregnant. (No degrees of pregnant — you either are or you aren’t.)

  5. The Shill

    Apologies for the typos in my post (unique and is).

  6. I think I’d disagree with 2, and 3, Shill.

    I’m not sure that true and simple are absolutes.

  7. My pet peeve is,

    “I could care less.”

    If you could care less, then you do care somewhat.

    The phrase is,

    “I couldn’t care less.”

  8. The Shill

    I’m inclined to agree with you on simple… but if something was true then, it’s true now. Can something be more true? It’s the whole idea of an absolute. We do live in an era of truthiness…ah, our ever-evolving language!

    Two more that make me crazy: utilization and impacted.

  9. democommie


    “So ain’t I” is another one of the New Englandisms.

    When I moved to New England in the early 70’s there were still a lot of french-canadians in the area that I moved to. There were some very funny things (unintentionally) said:

    “T’row me down de stairs, my hat.” or

    “I build dem houses side by each (next to each other) were fairly common.

    Most governmentese grates on my sensibilities.

  10. I hate how we have to “grow” our economy. I don’t know why it irritates me but using grow in that context sure does.

    As far as I’m concerned, the economy grows. We do not grow it.

  11. Shill, true is a strange one. But, something could indeed be more true today than yesterday, or a decade ago. Is the following sentence true?

    The U.S. is a superpower.

    I think true is tied to relativity. Another:

    My aim is true. (to 100 yards)

    At the 101 yard mark, is that statement more, or less true?

  12. I am so tried of “at the end of the day.” It’s highly overused by reality TV stars.

    My personal pet peeve has always been “compare & contrast,” which is redundant. Comparing IS contrasting. I’ve used it in blog headlines, but it’s always meant ironically.

  13. I hate redundancy.

    I hate redundancy.

  14. heartbreaktown

    Democommie – Yes, I’ve heard “side by each” mostly my Mainers. Irks me to no end.

    Aunt B – other news phrase that bug me: gone missing.

    SoBeale – hee, I never thought of that one.

  15. Heartbreak, the list of things you’ve never thought of would stretch to the moon.

    and back.


  16. heartbreaktown

    Aw, but the list I HAVE thought of would blow your mind.

  17. there are days when the evidence of mere thinking would blow mine.

  18. When people say “the jest” when they mean “gist”. It is so prevalent that I’m surprised when someone uses it correctly.

  19. EQJohnson

    Tony Kornheiser is always says “amount of runs” or amount of points” when referring to baseball and football”. It drives me nuts!

  20. EQJohnson

    Tony Kornheiser is always saying “amount of runs” or “amount of points” when referring to baseball and football. It drives me nuts!

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