About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

People Seem to Prefer to Talk Rather Than Think

As you've no doubt noticed, I have issues with the English (or American) language. Like many of us I have a real problem with things that are said not-quite-right. Of course, a certain amount of this is to be expected since sometimes our tongues don't wrap themselves properly around a word or phrase here or there, but in my thinking, there are a few times where this sort of error just should not happen.

What I'm thinking of at the moment is those times when a thing is said intentionally, but not correctly, and not...uh...intentionally. Hmmm...ok: they meant to use that word, and it's not the right word, and they don't care enough to use the correct word.

For instances:

I know a guy who, no matter how many times he says it, or how many times I've opened the subject (sometimes not too tactfully), insists on saying, "I've got a pension for that". It's 'penchant', not 'pension'.

Things that I've heard on the local network news (which I think is a real problem, since news stories are drafted by (ostensibly) professionals, written by professional writers, edited by professional editors, and re-written by more professionals before airing):

The car halted to a Stop
He spoke verbally (this one could be arguable, since there are other forms of communication)
...was murdered until he was dead.
The victim was murdered and then burned alive.
...where police found a dead carcass.

Other things people say that drive me buggy:

Irregardless -or- Disregardless

Using "eminent" when they mean "imminent"

It's a mute point


And on a related note: why might it be that people will sometimes insist on NOT correcting themselves when they know the difference? It's one thing to intentionally say something a little wrong (like when I say that something is "gooder", or when I refer to that great country looming just north of me as "Canadia"...another fellow with whom I used to work often said "Just shows to go ya."), but that fellow referred to above still has a pension for things, and those things are often mute.

So what, I wonder, is behind this? Do people not care (I do often get the "you know what I meant" argument, but being me - very square, dull, and literal - I usually *don't* know what you meant)? Do they not notice? Is it the further evolution (or de-evolution) of language?

Is it ignorance or apathy?
I don't know, and I don't care!


And: "Hi, Kellie"


  1. It is ignorance and apathy and is resulting in the degradation of language. Incorrect use of apostrophes gets me seeing red, blue and purple. There are a number of other linguistic crimes but I refuse to get started for fear I will not stop.

    1. I'm in that boat too...I can't fathom why apostrophes are on Mail Boxes, or at the and of "TV's", but not "Radios". People seem to observe the rules or not, based on ought but a whim!

  2. Why do we cling to these things? Hmmm... I used to always say "tangerines" for "tambourines" as that's what I first mistakenly thought they were called, and then it seemed to stick as more of a joke. And my granddad consistently asks for "bionics" instead of "antibiotics" but I think he does struggle with language and words and maybe now just finds it funny? It's almost like we're proud of inventing new words for things. ;) Yet another grandma calls EVERYTHING by its wrong name and hasn't a clue... for "psychic" she says "side-kick", for example.

    Oh, if I ever figure out how to restore one's dignity, I shall promptly inform you! :D

  3. Insure instead of ensure. Affect instead of effect (or vice versa.) My favorite was a salesperson who said "for batim" instead of verbatim. The kicker being that even if she had said verbatim, it still wouldn't have been the correct word. I also cringe when people say "good" instead of "well".

  4. There, Their and They're... Although that's in the printed language, which is another layer of intelligence (or lack thereof).

    I can't stand when people say Periphrial instead of peripheral, and Nucular instead of nuclear.

    Irregardless actually IS a word, and actually means the same thing as regardless... Dunno why we don't strike it from the dictionary.

    "Same Difference" when what they mean is "Same thing".

    "Could care less"

    1. I like the last one! I often try to go out of my way to say "I'd be hard pressed to care less"

  5. All of these made me grind my teeth in agony. Like Matt said, "Could care less" always kills me.

    Or how about irony? People love to say, "That's ironic," while applying it to a statement that's not actually ironic. Or people who say "literally" for just about everything. "I am literally starving!"

    That one in particular kills my soul.

    1. Literally is one of those that gets me too, although I have some fun in calling people on that one!

  6. Oh yes to everything said so far. "Should of" instead of "should have" stabs me in the throat. A younger woman I know throws at least 3 "like"s into every sentence. As in, "So like we were going down the road and like all of a sudden this big truck comes out of like nowhere and I'm like, 'Oh my god!'" Oh yes, and up-speaking. When every sentence is spoken as if it's a question? When were we permanently cursed with Valley Girl speak?

    1. And than she was like, "you did not...", and I was like, "I sure did." and then, like...learn how to talk!!


  7. Looks like we've all got a few rants on this road!