- Books, Literature, and Writing
The Most Annoying Things People Say To Butcher The English Language
Written by Thomas Rimmer
I absolutely love the English language. In my opinion, it's the most beautiful language in our world today.
The problem is that many alleged native speakers of our beautiful language seem intent on completely butchering it, almost to the point where words and phrases that once made perfect sense, now either sound like a made up language from a fantasy novel, or give a completely different meaning than what is actually the intention of the speaker. It's unbelievable that people just don't seem to care about correct English anymore.
The obvious risk one takes in writing an article such as this is that the public may assume that one is professing one's own vast knowledge of the English language as some kind of a literary genius or English scholar. I can assure you all, before you start analysing this article for spelling mistakes and other grammatical inaccuracies, I'm not saying that I'm perfect when it comes to the English language. I make mistakes too. Quite a few, probably.
I'm not even really that pedantic when it comes to the English language. Apart from very occasionally informing people that it should be "whom" rather than "who" (yes, I hate myself for doing that too) and subtly rolling my eyes whenever I hear a person say "supposably", I'm actually fairly relaxed. However there are certain things that some people do to this wonderful language that really make me want to scream!
Obviously I'm only referring to people who speak English as their first language. If you speak another language as your first language and you can actually speak any English at all, I'm extremely impressed. Feel free to get as much of it wrong as you like. There is nothing sexier to me than a girl who doesn't speak English as her first language and can't quite get it right. But that's an article for another day.
Here are my top five in no particular order.
1. I couldn't care less
Although I said that these were in no particular order, this ridiculous phrase certainly deserves its position at the top of my list. Why? Because the phrase itself means the exact opposite of what the speaker is actually intending to communicate to their listener, and seeing as how the whole point of language is to communicate, it really is a worthless phrase indeed.
The intention behind this phrase is essentially to say "I don't care". However, what the speaker fails to realise is that by saying "I COULD care less", as opposed to the correct, non-moronic phrase "I COULDN'T care less", what they are actually saying is that they do care somewhat. Let's have a look at the example below.
Girl 1: "Tina said she's not coming to the party tonight".
Girl 2. "So? I could care less" - (TRANSLATION: I do care a bit whether or not Tina comes to the party, and because I do care somewhat, then it's certainly possible that I could care less)
Girl 1: "Tina said she's not coming to the party tonight".
Girl 2: "So? I couldn't care less" - (TRANSLATION: I am sitting right at the bottom of the scale between caring and not caring, with not caring being the absolute lowest point on the scale. I can't move any further down. It is literally impossible for me to care any less than I do right now, therefore, I couldn't care less. Tina is a skank!)
I would rather hear you say, "I don't give a shit" than mangle what should be a pretty easy and self-explanatory phrase, and in that respect, I could care less (meaning that I do care).
I don't care in what dictionary you say you've seen this, regardless is not a word. It's a fake, pointless, obnoxious non-word that some people accept because it's in the public. It's the Kim Kardashian of words.
The word you want to use is either regardless or irrespective. What you've done is taken two perfectly good, meaningful, usable words and squashed them together to create one completely ridiculous waste of space (again, the name Kim Kardashian comes to mind).
I googled this before I wrote it, because it's quite popular among the uneducated and unwashed in my country, New Zealand, but I wasn't sure if it was in use anywhere else. It turns out (rather regrettably) that it's quite common.
Also spelled as "yous" (apparently), this word is supposedly the plural of "you", as in "hey, what are youse guys up to?" Whenever I hear this atrocious slaughtering of our lovely language a part of me dies. Another part of me wants to grab the offending butcher of our mother tongue by the throat and yell, "it's YOU, numb nuts! 'You' doesn't have a plural!"
"yous(e)" sounds like "ewes", which are sheep. So unless you are truly concerned about what a flock of sheep are doing, don't ask, "what are ewes doing?" Only use youse (haha, use youse :-)) if you are trying to convince people that you're a moron. Believe me. It works.
4. I literally died!
Some people don't seem to understand the difference between literally and figuratively. This literally annoys me. And yes, I mean literally.
"He literally bit my head off", I heard a girl say to her friends on the bus one day. I turned to look at her almost expecting to see a decapitated corpse occupying the bus seat. As interesting as this would've been to encounter, her head was in fact still connected to her body. From what I could see there weren't even any scars to indicate that her head had ever been removed, bitten off or otherwise, at any point in time and then later reattached like some vapid, blonde Frankenstein's monster.
I felt like saying, "What are you talking about? He didn't LITERALLY bite your head off; he figuratively bit your head off! If he had literally bitten your head off, you would have no head and, therefore, no mouth with which to make your incredibly inane comments!"
I decided against saying any of this to her, as I figured she probably wouldn't have understood what I was talking about anyway. So I just sat there in the seat opposite cringing as I listened to her and her friends saying words like "supposably", "fustrated" and "anythink".
What's wrong with like? I hear you ask. Well nothing usually. Not if it's used as it's intended. Two examples where I feel it appropriate to use "like", are to express agreement or enjoyment ("I like that song"), or as a way to make a comparison ("he looks like a walrus"). The problem I have is when it pops up in the most redundant places.
This trend seems to be very popular among teenage girls. For example, "OMG, that guy's, like, so totally hot!" Although teenage girls seem to use this quite frequently, it does (rather disturbingly) seem to have made its way into the vocabulary of other members of society.
I was discussing a pain in my shoulder with someone recently. Well, I say recently. It was probably about a year ago now. I often use recently to describe events that aren't particularly recent. Write your own article about it if you have a problem with me doing it. Anyway, I digress. I told him what I thought it was and he told me that I was wrong and what he believed to be the problem. Being that this guy was an utter tool, I failed to see why I should trust his medical knowledge.
"My mum is, like, a nurse" he said.
I couldn't resist what came out of my mouth next.
"So she's not actually a nurse?" I asked annoyingly.
"What do you mean?" he asked, looking more confused than I'd ever seen him look before.
"Well you said that she was LIKE a nurse, not that she is a nurse. So what is she, a vet?" I said.
He wasn't impressed with me and he hasn't talked to me since. Mission accomplished.
Well I hope youse guys, like, enjoyed my article. My point is to, like, entertain and educate, not to offend. But regardless of this, if youse are offended then I could care less because youse should get a sense of humour. It literally blows my mind how some people, like, can't see the humour in anythink.
Ouch, that was a painful paragraph to write! It FIGURATIVELY killed me!
Thanks for reading.