The word pedants’ top 10 | It’s specific, not Pacific | You didn’t ‘literally’ die.

It's specific, not Pacific | You didn't 'literally' die.

It's specific, not Pacific | You didn't 'literally' die.

Enough’s enough, it’s time to reclaim the English language and stop word bastardisation before words change unrecognisably. I admit I suspect I’m just hitting an age where certain phrases and slang make my buttocks clench, my teeth grate and fill me with a need to yell out loud, but I suspect I’m not alone.

This all started when I posted my ‘Pacific’ frustrations on my Twitter and Facebook pages. The response was gobsmacking (see, I’m hip with modern terms too) and many of my list below came from respondents’ suggestions (thank you).

While some of these derive from teen speak, this isn’t an age split – many teenagers were among those suggesting annoyances and many adults are guilty of committing them. I’ve tried to stick to mistakes or errant words. Not grammar or spelling as my own is awful. Nor the natural development of phraseology or colloquial phrasing. 

While many are annoyed by ‘chillax’ and other similar new words, I’ve no problem with those – it’s a new generation developing its own lexicon and over the long-run enriches our language and expression. Also, using the language that the audience understand is good communication.   

So here goes…

My word pedant top ten

  1. Specific. We need to yell that specific means something precise or of special application, while Pacific is an ocean.
  2. Literally. If you had just literally died laughing you wouldn’t be around to say that you had.
  3. Like. If anyone says "it was like amazing" we should collectively vow to interject: "Was it like amazing? Or actually amazing?"
  4. Lend. You can borrow money off somebody, or someone can lend you a tenner, not the other way round.
  5. Aitch. It’s aitch not haitch.
  6. Learn. We need to teach you that if you say "I’ll learn you how to do it" I won’t listen.
  7. Basically. If you need to explain everything you say with basic at the start of every sentence, don’t worry, we will assume that’s all you’re capable of anyway.
  8. Bought. I can’t put this better than Geraint Rees did on Facebook. "BOUGHT is the past tense of BUY. BROUGHT is the past tense of BRING."
  9. Should have. This one doesn’t bug me, but it seems to bother many others. It’s not ‘should of” it’s ‘should have’.
  10. Giving 110%. 110% effort means you are making an effort beyond your actual capacity. Even if you are making more effort than previously possible, and your effort output has increased, you’re still giving 100% (though what you may previously have described as 80% is now recalibrated as a 72% effort). See my old You can’t give more than 100% effort blog for more.

Fair or unfair? Do you agree – or are there any big ones I’ve missed? Let me know below.

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