Archive for April, 2010

21
Apr
10

Stuff You Don’t Care About: Issue 6: Words and Phrases That Drive Me Crazy

Anybody that knows me is aware that I’m a bit of a Grammar Nazi. It’s strange that I am, considering my grammar is, in fact, atrocious. I can’t formulate a complete sentence without the use of spell check. I even misspell things as I talk. Yes, you can’t hear me misspell words while talking, but I can tell in my head that I am. Yes, it’s kind of abstract, but it’s true.

Still bad grammar is not the same thing as lacking the fundamental understanding of your own fucking language. (Yes I said “Fuck”. Get over it.) The English language is the second most spoken one on the planet. You may find data that says otherwise, but that doesn’t invalidate my point. I make the same complaint that Professor Higgins made before me:

Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak? This verbal class distinction, by now, should be antique. If you spoke as she does, sir, instead of the way you do, why, you might be selling flowers, too!

Ahem… Sorry. Just broke out into song there.

As the title of this blog entry suggests, there are a few words that are used commonly in our country that make me cringe every time I hear them. Here’s a short list:

Irregardless – As I type, Microsoft Word underlines it in red. This is the first clue of how stupid it is. Now keep in mind, just because the word is stupid, it doesn’t mean that you’re stupid for using it. Mass media has been pushing this word on us for years. When you say it, it sounds right. Dictionary.com even lists it as a word under the category of “Nonstandard”. This is the word that initially prompted me to create this blog entry.

In truth, it is the least offender on this list. The actual structure of the word is technically correct. The only problem is, it means the exact opposite of the way it is typically used. For example: “Irreguardless of our previous plans, I will not allow you to drip candle wax on my nipples, as I have a previous engagement.” The word is used improperly here, because the intention is for you to disregard the candle wax dripping plans, but in fact the sentence is asking you to regard that kinky shit.

Conversate – Grr. This one really gets me riled up. A non-sense word that is used so often that is on the verge of becoming proper grammar. I’m not kidding. This is in review by the faceless bastards that meet in secret and decide such things. I’m pretty sure it’s the inner circles of the Illuminati, the Tri-Lateral Commission and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. These entities have joined forces to destroy our language, increase our dependency on commercialize gadgets like the iPad, and fight Frankenstein. I’m not entirely sure about that last part.

Unlike Irregardless you really look like an idiot when you say Conversate, especially when Converse is so much easier to say. If you use this word and have any level of self-respect, I urge you to discontinue using it. This word is the catalyst to the dumbing down of our species.

Back in the Day – Okay, so I’m a hypocrite. I use this term fairly often. Why I remember back in the day when I first heard it used. That was the day that I first heard back in the day, which was a day that I’ll always remember because I wondered what day they were talking about. Seriously, be more specific. What day was it? Tell me! Don’t make me go all Jack Bauer on your ass.

This one doesn’t offend me so much. It has a certain retrospective, nostalgic sound to it that is somewhat comforting in its own way. The thing is, the expression is slang, pure and simple. Benign, but slang nonetheless. The only time this ever bothered me is when I head a local news anchor say it without missing a beat, while telling a tale about a local tragedy. It was flippant and trite, and so I’ve concluded that it has no place in literary text. It’s okay for simple conversation, but the minute I see it in a history book, (I.E. Back in the day, Abe Lincoln was shot by some mo-fo, ma nizzzle) I’m going to make my way down to the local Board of Education and just go on a slapping spree.

Don’t be hatin’ – Sorry. I can’t help it.

That’s Money – Used in the context of saying something is good, this expression was obviously conceived by one pathetic person who wanted people to think he was cool. Chances are it was that prick, Jeremy Piven.

Can’t nobody hold me down – Well, you smell like Hennessey. I don’t think I would want to get that close to you.

I got the Itis – You’ve never eaten soul food in your life, you idiot.

Integrationalize – Yes, somebody actually said this to me. This person needs to be crucified on a cactus.

Disharmonation / Stratery – This was uttered in the same sentence by some lightweight boxer I saw on ESPN. I think he said something like, “I’ma gonna use a lot o’ disharmonation and stratery to take him down.” Granted, he was a boxer, and they are not known for their linguistics skills. I can excuse him, because he probably took one to many blows to the head. I can understand. After he said it, I wanted to punch him in the head too.

Pretty much anything that Roger Ebert ever said or wrote – Okay, this is the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m not going to focus on his health issues. That has nothing to do with this. The point is as you read this, you may think I’m an utter snob. This will never be true, so long as you compare me to Roger Ebert.

Here’s a man that has a remarkable gift for the English language. I doubt that he has ever used slang in any form either verbally or in print. And that is just the problem. Despite the fact that he’s the master of the written word, he has distanced himself from the rest of society. Perhaps that was intentional, as the media tends to put him up on a pedestal. This self-imposed snobbery achieves the same thing as sounding like an under-educated slob, due strictly to its content. Check out his site: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com. You’ll see what I’m talking about if you read enough. And if you’re hoping to get a good review of your movie from him, you better hope your name is Orson Welles and your movie title is Citizen Kane.

I’m out! (Drops the microphone like Chris Rock)

Rosebud…

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