Tuesday, June 07, 2016

These Words Aren't Words (and if they are, they shouldn't be)

It's bad enough when people, trying to sound sophisticated, merely come off as both arrogant and clueless when using the word myself.  You give something to me, not to myself.  I myself will accept what you give.  Not so hard, see?

There are a few others that are my pet peeves.  The first being disDis- is a prefex meaning separate, or not.   There are dozens of words that begin with this prefix--disrepair, dissatisfied, and disassemble, to name a few.  When used as a word instead of a prefix, though, dis has come to mean disrespect.  Why just that one word and not the others?  I have an idea; if you don't want someone to demonstrate disrespect towards you (I cannot stand the use of disrespect as a verb), try speaking standard English as a start.

I heard a new "word" yesterday at my training at school, and this word has skyrocketed onto my list of unnecessary words.  The speaker referred to a reduction in incidences of misconduct at school.  Incidences?  The word incidents functions just fine.

I lived for three years in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and new arrivals would talk about the need to acclimatize, or get used to the altitude and weather.  Does someone really need to acclimatize, or do they need to acclimate?

And lastly, one of my "favorites".  There is such a thing as "orientation", but that does not mean that the participants are being "orientated".  No, they're being "oriented".

Do you have any other examples?


Steve USMA '85 said...


Why do people insist on using the droll word "midshipman" when the perfectly good word "squid" conveys a more exact meaning to describe the same entity.

Anonymous said...

I think that should be incidences of disconduct at school.

Irregardless of that, have a nice day.


Auntie Ann said...

I heard the chief of police on Los Angeles, when commenting on a video of potential police misconduct, say that the video "is not conclusitory."

Please, don't let that become a word!

PeggyU said...

Misuse of reflexive pronouns always makes me cringe. Also, for the life of me, I can't figure out why some people misuse "me" and "I". Don't they teach about direct and indirect objects any more?

ObieJuan said...

-"Freshmans" drives me crazy, especially when I hear it from college graduates in education.

-How can everything in life be "amazing"?

Anonymous said...

FYI, "orientated" is a British usage.

Anonymous said...

The one that really annoys me is the new verb "to gift". What is wrong with "to give"?

Ellen K said...

Orientated likewise drives me nuts. And I see this word used on official documents all the time.
What also puzzles me is how the rules for spelling have changed.
And then I've already ranted here about the removal of cursive writing from the curriculum.
I predict in 20 years most people will simply use emoticons to communicate and reading will become something like soothsaying.

Jamie said...

How about conversated?

Anonymous said...

"Bring/take"--current usage is exactly the opposite of what they mean.
"I promise you" said to mean "honest, I am telling the truth" when they are NOT!
Something happens "on accident" instead of "by accident." Have no idea where this started but it drives me crazy.

BB-Idaho said...

My pet peeve is the use of "alleged" in news reports about crimes.
Understandably, the press is cautious in their reporting, but
"Here is the video of the alleged killer with his alleged victim being allegedly shot by the alleged gun." It's like insert 'alleged'
as the operative adjective in any narrative which may involve legal proceedings, per our network team of alleged lawyers....

Darren said...

All of these are painful.

Auntie Ann said...

All of these are literally painful.

socalmike said...

One does not graduate high school, one graduates FROM high school.
Conversate is not a word, converse is. You have a conversation, but you don't conversate. (similar to orient/orientation)
Don't get me started on pronouns. Oof.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I believe one is graduated from high school, in an even older usage.