Friday, February 19, 2010

Disabuse the misuse.

People are always misusing expressions. And it's really only a matter of observation. People say "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less." I discovered this distinction when I was about ten. The reason they say it is because they aren't actually paying attention to what they're saying. They're just copying what they heard someone else say in a similar situation. It's the same with "PIN number" and "VIN number." Ugh. I must hear someone say "PIN number" at least eighty thousand times a month and it makes me shudder every time. And then there are some expressions that make no sense to me. Like when someone says "she was saggy in all the wrong places." Can you be saggy in the right places? Hey ladies, I'm saggy in all the right places. Shit!

Don't get me started on "literally." If the word "literally" were human and female, it would have taken out a mortgage at a battered women's shelter. It's obscene how abused this word is. People use it to mean everything from "seriously" to "nearly" and everything in between. "She literally jumped down his throat." No, she didn't. He would be dead with an exploded neck and she would be awaiting trial on charges of gymnastic manslaughter. Something else that secretly bothers me is "impact." It has no figurative meaning as a verb. Same with contact. What am I even arguing about? As a linguistics major I once argued that usage determines standard. I give up. I move we start using the word mustache as a verb. I'm going to mustache my face! Then you'll be sorry!


Suzanna said...

Did you know that they added the word "nuther" to the dictionary? People kept using it in one instance - "that's a whole nuther story..." so the DICTIONARY felt the need to add it in. bs.

Adam said...

i agree. nuther. come on.