Wednesday, November 29, 2006

i'm bringing sassy back

for too long i've held my peace! as an english major, i can't help but notice the common and blatant disregard for the proper use of some words. if i had the time, i wouldn't mind studying these linguistic shortcuts that people feel free to take from the english language superhighway. too many times i hear the misuse of some fairly common word and it's like nails on a chalkboard to me. i have to grit my teeth, bite back a smile, and exercise utmost control to avoid blurting out a correction. actually, it's strange i even notice since i was raised in utah and my parents and grandparents all spoke in the vernacular. even as a kid i knew it sounded wrong when they said, for example, "he come up to the ranch completely unperpared for all the snow this mornin'." parents, if that’s not a reason to let your kids have unlimited access to cable t.v., i don’t know what is.

now, i am the first to admit that i have been a language offender many a time. i used to declare "i could care less!" with reckless abandon before i found out i really "couldn't care less." so, as penance for such crimes, it is my duty to post a usage guide in an effort to spread the word, as it were. read on about some of the common mistakes many of us make everyday (guilty). feel free to make personal corrections as needed. you will be kept anonymous, so please, don't get all mad at me if you are one of the language offenders (EYE didn't make up the rules, but i thought i’d go ahead and pass some of them on).

the commonly misused/misunderstood
– this is a top offender. i hear this one on practically a daily basis.
irregardless – this one i just don’t get. to put an –ir in front of regardless creates a double negative.
irony – i haven’t had to look this one up in my dictionary since watching reality bites. ethan hawke and all his greasy, long-haired glory is forever seared into my memory.
satire – ah satire! how i love it! satire is not irony and not sarcasm but in fact a combination of the two in order to ridicule or attack human folly and socially acceptable mores.
continually/continuously – commonly and casually inverted at any given time although one means “repeating intermittently” and the other “unceasingly”, respectively.
effect/affect – i can't tell you the effect this affect has had on me.
testimony – often mistaken for an opportunity to give an editorial speech on everything from metal band lyrics to personal illness updates.
vegetarian/vegan – these are people who don't eat any meat except poultry (see below) or use any animal products except leather (especially when it’s vasque hiking boots we’re talking about here).
poultry – sometimes mistaken for fish; usually part of a vegetarian diet.

oft mispronunciated
(i am guilty of this one myself. this one is just pure laziness. there are two arrr's in library.)
messeege (orig. "mes-ij")
colleege (orig. "kahl-ij")
eem (orig. "himm-ah")
book of mormons (since there is only one book and multiple copies, it's actually books of mormon)
expecially (orig. "i-spesh-uh-lee")
ensin (orig. "en-sine") if you pronounce it en-sin, you are actually talking about any commissioned rank in the u.s. navy below lieutenant .

what’s worse? star trek dorks or english dorks? it’s a toss up . . . i would include further discussion on that subject but i’m late for a larping session at the rotary park – on wednesdays we do medieval scottish warriors and english ladies in waiting!


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