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Bitch, whinge, grizzle
(Australian for complain)

There are many things about the way that the English language is commonly used, especially in Australia, that annoy me. I will list them on this page.

Written 2008/12/25, modified 2012/01/26
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com
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Misuse of the English language

There are many clichéd uses of words that people, especially it seems, radio reporters, pick up and copy unthinkingly. Please give a bit of thought to how you use your bloody words!

Sometimes adopting a term for a new meaning adds something to English; for example to use 'about-face' – which literally means 'to spin around by 180 degrees' – to indicate a radical change of stance is useful and produces an appropriate mental image. But to use 'back-flip' – where the person comes out of the maneuver facing the same direction as when he went in – for the same purpose is simply stupid, yet 'back-flip' is much more commonly used than 'about-face'.

Sometimes it is useful to adopt a word from another language when there is a lack of an appropriate word in English. The French word 'genre' is an example of this; but did we really need it, wouldn't one of the English words: 'type', 'sort', 'class', 'kind' serve the same purpose in nearly all cases? I have the impression that many people use 'genre' and similarly borrowed words because they believe that it makes them sound erudite.

Unfortunately, even the announcers of Aunty (the ABC) are using some of the prostitutions below. Whoa and alack, what is to become of the world!?

Specific examples of misuses of English that really piss me off

At the end of the day
How overworked this one is! If it was just used once in a while it would be quite acceptable, but some people seem to have to use it every ten seconds. Why not just 'in the end' or 'the result was' or similar? It is foolish to use a cliché if you can avoid it.

At this point in time
Why use five words when one will do, 'now'?

Decimate
So many people don't know that decimate means to kill every tenth person (from a punishment used on Roman legions that showed insufficient willingness to confront the enemy). Decimate is often used when most of a group is killed, not just 10%.

Humbled
Since about the middle of 2008 anyone who receives an award, wins political office or any sort of accolade has to respond by saying that they are humbled. Isn't this contradictory? How can you be humbled when you are being celebrated? Humbled has a very similar meaning to humiliated.

Incredible
Obviously this word is the opposite of 'credible'. Credible means believable, incredible means 'beyond credibility', 'not to be believed'; but most people use it to mean 'exciting', 'beautiful', 'surprising', 'wonderful', etc. Why misuse one word when there are others that can quite correctly be used? Unbelievable, which is a synonym of incredible, is often similarly misused.

Literally
"He literally exploded with anger". It would be an interesting sight!

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Nucular
The word is spelled 'nuclear' and pronounced 'new clear'; what's difficult about that?

Spell-out
No-one uses the perfectly good word 'explain' any more. "He spelled-out the details of the new law in the press release". Of course he did, you twit, if it was in writing it had to be spelled-out.

Unbelievable
Much the same as 'incredible'.

Vunrable
The word has an 'L' in it morons; 'vulnerable', it should be pronounced 'vol-ner-able'.

"Yeah, no"
This, for some reason that I entirely miss, has become very common in the last few years. It might be used in sentences like, "Yeah, no, it's been very dry lately", or "Yeah, no, I know what you mean". It is always quite meaningless, since 'yeah' is the exact opposite of 'no'. Plainly it is only used by people who give very little thought to what they are saying. 'Yeah, no' is similar to 'Y'know', a meaningless filler.

You know or y'know
Many people throw this in at the end of every second sentence. It is almost invariably a meaningless space filler. If the listeners really did know, why would the speaker be telling us?


Any thoughts about others that should be added to the list?






Weasel words

Defence forces
What is usually meant by this is agression forces; for example, when did US 'defence forces' last truely defend US territory?





Political correctness

Spokesman/spokesperson
The first rolls off the tongue quite easily, the second is a verbal abomnation.





General bitches

Not everyone lives in suburbs
Many forms on the Net and elsewhere assume that everyone lives in a suburb rather than in a town or in the bush. For example, there is a box for Street No., Street Name, Suburb, and Post Code. Why can they not use 'Suburb/town' rather than 'Suburb'?





Index

On this page...
At the end of the day
At this point in time
Back-flip
Decimate
Humbled
Incredible
Literally
Misuse of English
Nucular
Spell-out
Top
Unbelievable
Vunrable
Weasel words
Yeah, no
You know
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