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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Steve Shaw 16 Feb 21 - 05:24 PM
robomatic 16 Feb 21 - 05:58 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM
robomatic 16 Feb 21 - 10:31 PM
BobL 17 Feb 21 - 03:48 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Feb 21 - 05:52 AM
Doug Chadwick 17 Feb 21 - 06:30 AM
Jos 17 Feb 21 - 07:51 AM
Steve Shaw 17 Feb 21 - 09:42 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 07:42 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM
Jos 23 Feb 21 - 09:23 AM
leeneia 23 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 10:55 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Feb 21 - 05:59 PM
michaelr 24 Feb 21 - 09:23 PM
leeneia 25 Feb 21 - 12:22 AM
Jos 25 Feb 21 - 02:19 AM
BobL 25 Feb 21 - 02:34 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 04:39 AM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 05:59 AM
Mrrzy 25 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM
Jos 25 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM
Steve Shaw 25 Feb 21 - 12:42 PM
Steve Shaw 26 Feb 21 - 05:16 PM
Mrrzy 26 Feb 21 - 07:33 PM
Steve Shaw 27 Feb 21 - 12:29 PM
Jos 28 Feb 21 - 08:15 AM
Steve Shaw 28 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM
Jos 28 Feb 21 - 04:25 PM
Steve Shaw 28 Feb 21 - 05:17 PM
BobL 01 Mar 21 - 03:22 AM
G-Force 01 Mar 21 - 08:33 AM
Mrrzy 03 Mar 21 - 07:22 AM
Steve Shaw 03 Mar 21 - 07:33 AM
Nigel Parsons 03 Mar 21 - 08:09 AM
Jos 03 Mar 21 - 08:26 AM
mayomick 03 Mar 21 - 09:31 AM
Mrrzy 03 Mar 21 - 04:43 PM
Lighter 03 Mar 21 - 07:19 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Mar 21 - 10:16 AM
Nigel Parsons 04 Mar 21 - 11:16 AM
Steve Shaw 04 Mar 21 - 12:44 PM
Jos 04 Mar 21 - 01:14 PM
Steve Shaw 04 Mar 21 - 01:46 PM
Mrrzy 05 Mar 21 - 09:07 AM
G-Force 05 Mar 21 - 10:34 AM
leeneia 05 Mar 21 - 11:40 AM
Steve Shaw 05 Mar 21 - 11:58 AM
Doug Chadwick 05 Mar 21 - 12:23 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 05:24 PM

Worthy does not necessarily imply tedious. In most cases it takes more than one word to define a word (otherwise your definition would merely be an unenlightening synonym). Let's just say that "worthy" in the second sense can mean competent and/or having good intent, but dull and/or tedious and/or boring and/or unimaginative and/or uninspiring (etc.). Your precise intended meaning depends on nuance and context. Move "dull" into the middle of that to give it an and/or get-out, by the way. To add spice to the conversation, "tedious" is also a word ripe for nuance. English is so lovely. No sweat, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: robomatic
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 05:58 PM

My latest bete noir is cleave:

Which is it:

Cleave to? or
Cleave asunder?

Which is it Clive?

It's worse than flammable, inflammable and imflammable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 06:06 PM

It's both. Context is everything!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: robomatic
Date: 16 Feb 21 - 10:31 PM

Cleave on, MacDuff!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 03:48 AM

It's either - "cleave" is a contranym, a word with two opposite meanings.
As to whether they are actually the same word, or different but identical words, is something I'll leave to the wordsmiths amongst us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 05:52 AM

Convergent evolution...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 06:30 AM

"cleave" is a contranym, a word with two opposite meanings.

Another example is:
       "fast" - moving quickly;
and
       "fast" - securely tied.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 07:51 AM

Another is 'sanction' - permit or authorise an action, or impose penalties for an action.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 09:42 AM

I dusted the top of the cake with cocoa powder (added dust)

I dusted my windowsills (took away dust)

We began to execute the plan (started it)

I executed the bluebottle with my electrified swatter (ended it)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 07:42 AM

I wish to nominate a new word to be added to the lexicon of what we call standard English.


Yebbut.



This word has been used here frequently by Dave the Gnome and myself, but what's tipped me is the way my five-year-old grandson has adopted it, completely independently.

"Yebbut" means "I hear you, guv, though not necessarily actually listening, and I'm not with you on this one."

When little Sonny Jim uses it, he cannot be turned. He has found your suggestion to be one hundred percent disagreeable to him and nothing will persuade him to take your stance on board (stubborn little bugger). He's been using it so often in our FaceTime calls that it's rubbed off on me and Mrs Steve something rotten, and we now use it all tbe time.

It's very annoying, of course, which is why I feel it has a home in this thread. And in all respectable dictionaries...

It's superbly succinct and I'm going to be using it a lot more from now on. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 08:00 AM

I see that it's already inveigling its way into wider usage. Here's one from Twitter this week:

"Yebbut we need the PCs [pharmaceutical companies] solvent to keep at the expensive research so that vaccines be updated in response to virus mutations. Not to mention the next pandemic.
Happy for a tax on ( fill in your own choice) to pay for global roll-out."

And I spotted an example of Kate Humble using it in 2009! I rest my case!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 09:23 AM

Im only aware of it from Vicky Pollard, "Yebbut, nobbut, yebbut, nobbut ...".
I'll keep an ear out for other examples.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM

For many decades I've heard the response ""Yeah-but the rabbut," which is probably best explained by an example.

Teenager: Yeah, but I couldn't put gas in the car because the station was closed.

Parent: Yeah-but the rab-but! You should have got gas earlier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 10:55 AM

Ah, I forgot about Vicky Pollard! The more examples of the word's usage by high-flying literati such as her, the better!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Feb 21 - 05:59 PM

And in tonight's FaceTime, Sonny Jim came out with two new variants: "yeah ok but...". And "yebbut no." Good to see him adding nuance as his language skills develop!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: michaelr
Date: 24 Feb 21 - 09:23 PM

I may have posted this before. It remains a burr under my saddle.

"One of the only"

NO. It's either "the only" or it's "one of several".

Don't make me tell you again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:22 AM

I'm tired of the expression "go-to." It used to refer to somebody important, as in:

"Doc Vollmer was Nero Wolfe's go-to medical man when an associate was injured."

Now it's used for any old thing.

"Garam marsala is his go-to spice for almost all dishes."
"Pink platforms are her go-to footwear for evening occasions."

Ugh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 02:19 AM

Along with "one of the only" there is "half of all the ...".
It isn't incorrect but it is unnecessary.

And then there are "the single largest ..." and "the largest single ...".
Both just mean "the largest".

I think people use them to try to make what they are saying sound more impressive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 02:34 AM

"One of the only"

But "only" can refer to a plurality, as in "one of the only six remaining."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 04:39 AM

I think go-to is fine, a good example of how a nifty casual expression has gained currency because it's concise, clear in its meaning and popular. Just don't use it in your next legal document. We really can't fight all these things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 05:59 AM

I often think that many of these little linguistic foibles should be let go when they're spoken but should be more inclined to cause a raised eyebrow when put in writing. I simply can't be judgemental about all the little strategies people use in order to get their point across in conversation. After all, in this age of faces glued to phone screens we should be encouraging each other to talk more among ourselves. Little slips or grammatical solecisms should maybe be excused...

A newsreader one that I have trouble picking the bones out of is "a half of one percent."   I know they can't really say "0.5 percent" and that "half a percent" and "a half percent" are just nonsensical. I think we have a clumsiness here that humanity has yet to elegantly resolve. Most of the time we can just say "one in two hundred," I suppose. Not so easy if it's a quantity that can't be rendered in discrete numerical entities: "half of one percent of a pile of manure" can hardly be put into numbers...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 10:57 AM

One of the only 6 is redundant. One of the 6.

I never thought of Go-to as referring only to important people, but I did get in trouble once for using -esque with someone unexceptional, and was told that wasn't appropriate. A movie can be Felliniesque but a meal cannot, say, be McDonaldsesque.

I rebelled, of course, in my Mrrzyesque way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:30 PM

I rather like 'MacDonaldsesque' - it wouldn't be a compliment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 12:42 PM

At least 20-odd years ago I caused some amusement on a harmonica forum by referring to Bob Dylan's God-awful harmonica playing as "Dylanesque." I've heard that word a good few times since.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 05:16 PM

To go into a McDonalds to go to the toilet but not buy anything: "go for a McShit."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 07:33 PM

Oh I *love* the Mc prefix... McJob, McMansion, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 12:29 PM

Principle/principal is a common and annoying mix-up. And one that screws up many a Brit but leaves yanks completely untouched is practice/practise. I do like the difference...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 08:15 AM

I heard a new variation on "begging the question" on the radio this morning, when a speaker said of something that happened: "it begs the idea ...".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 10:20 AM

Begging the question in its circular-argument form is another lost cause. It's a shame, because in that form it serves a useful function, but, as almost no-one understands that form any more... I still find myself pulling people up who use it for "raise the question." To me, using it that way sounds both pretentious and ignorant at the same time. I'm simply going to have to get over it. But not yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 04:25 PM

Another variation I hadn't heard before was from one of the expert valuers on the Antiques Roadshow this evening, who said:

"So, you know, that beggars the question ...".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Feb 21 - 05:17 PM

I heard ages ago that "beggaring the question" was an early manifestation of "begging the question," implying that you are sort of trashing, or ridiculing it (beggaring it). I've tried looking into that but I need to have another go...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 03:22 AM

Perhaps "beggars" was a euphemism...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: G-Force
Date: 01 Mar 21 - 08:33 AM

Headline in the paper the other day: 'Like Lady Gaga, my dog was stolen'.

Now help me out here. Are they saying Lady Gaga is a dog, or that she was stolen?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 07:22 AM

Is it just me? The term Air Fryer. It is an oven. There is no such thing as frying in air.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 07:33 AM

Well I haven't got one, and I won't be getting one, but don't they require a little bit of oil to air-fry the grub?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 08:09 AM

I don't (intentionally) eat grubs. Not enough meat on them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 08:26 AM

"Air fryer" doesn't bother me - isn't it just a pan or similar device containing fat or oil and the bubbles in it, nothing else? Just frying the air?

What bothers me is the sight of packets of crisps labelled "Hand fried". Ouch!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: mayomick
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 09:31 AM

"beggaring the question" - well it was the Antique Roadshow .


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 04:43 PM

Advice columnist told someone to perseverate.

But I persevere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Mar 21 - 07:19 PM

It buggers the imagination.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 10:16 AM

"Pre-"

I've just heard that the cheeky Greek Prince Phil is being treated for a "pre-existing" heart condition. Well I think that's ugly English. I think that the "pre" could usefully be dropped. He's being treated for an existing heart condition, not one that's just come on. Seems OK to me. I get fed up of being invited to "pre-order" this, that or the other, or to "pre-book" tickets for some event or other. I can just order or book, can't I? I note also that second-hand cars (a useful and honest expression) are now "pre-owned," or, even worse, "pre-loved" (shall we clench buttocks in unison?)

Anyway, must dash. I have to have a pre-look at the schedules to see what time the big match is on tonight...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 11:16 AM

Sorry Steve, I tend to agree with the use of "pre-existing" in this context, but not necessarily "pre-ordering".
I would hope that hospitals would only tend to treat patients for 'existing' conditions (unless in a preventative way).
"Pre-existing" seems to add that not only this is a condition which needs treating, but that it is a condition which it was already known the patient had before any current decision to seek treatment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 12:44 PM

I only slightly take your point. What a shame we can't use very nice English instead, existing conditions and new conditions. You're arguing for a clarity that we've only managed to achieve via ugly language. The Bard would be appalled. I've been unable to find a decent and elegant synonym to fit the bill. Can we at least agree that the hyphen is required? These bloody yanks with their "preexisting..." what DOES that look like!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Jos
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 01:14 PM

Doesn't 'pre-ordering' just mean "You can order it now, but you're not going to get it for - oh, ages."

What I hate is "post" as a separate word when used instead of "after", as in "post the election", or "post the current situation".
[Sorry if I've said this already.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Mar 21 - 01:46 PM

Agreed. As with "prior to." I've definitely said that already...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 09:07 AM

Pre-existing is insurance-speak for Existing.

My family used to have the word pre-dread, which we knew was redundant, but referred to a decision to worry-a-lot-about-how-awful-it-would-be so that when it happened, if it was only bad, bad would be a pleasant relief.

Mostly applied to family get-togethers after daddy was killed, but it works for most situations...

Actually the more I think of it the less pre- is useful or not redundant, with a verb. Pre-noun, like the pre-dawn hours, is ok. Hmmm. Good point.

I have not yet seen post to mean after.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: G-Force
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 10:34 AM

Then there's 'pre-recorded'. As opposed to what, 'post-recorded'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 11:40 AM

Well, G-force, I belong to a music club which is now meeting on Zoom. If I say merely that a performance is recorded, I might mean that it was recorded before the meeting, or it could mean it will be recorded during the meeting. But if I say "pre-recorded," it definitely means before the meeting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 11:58 AM

I even heard "pre-teach" a while back. I had to look it up. It means to teach something to prepare for an upcoming test. I can't get me head round that...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 05 Mar 21 - 12:23 PM

I see a difference between "order' and "pre-order". If I want something that is held in a warehouse then I would place an order for it and expect delivery within a relatively short time. If, however, an item is being developed and orders are being taken even though it is not currently available on the market, I think that this could reasonably be described as pre-ordering.

DC


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