September 16, 2009

Minor Frustrations #1

I have started making a list (I love lists) of all the little things people do, that I personally find irritating. I'm not talking about the big issues that some people dedicate their lives to changing, I just want to address some the minor frustrations that don't really cause me any serious problems, but which would nevertheless be cool to get rid of. I guess the most exact description I'm looking for is: things that make me frown at people. Not visibly, but just silently in my head.

So here goes the first one. If you have read the blog so far, you may have an idea of what is coming.

I mentally frown at people who... consistently use bad grammar, spelling or pronunciation when writing or speaking. Non-native speakers are excused, and the occasional mistake by native speakers is also easily overlooked, but chronically ignoring the inner workings of a language, is in my opinion not OK.

I'll point out some of the baddies:

- "Definately". The word is actuallt spelt "definitely", but it seems that only a minority knows this. Maybe people confuse it with the spelling of "fortunately", however the two words have completely different roots: "Fortune" -> "Fortunate" -> "Fortunately"; "Finite" -> "Definite" -> "Definitely". Writing "defiantly" is even more wrong, especially since this means something else. Please have a look at this awesome site.

- "Must of". It may sound right, but the proper expression is "must have". "He must of gone" is nonsensical.

- "Aks". Some people pronounce "ask" this way. I know it's a dialect thing, but to me it is still a blatant disregard for the actual spelling of the word. If the word is "A-S-K", you pronounce the "S" before the "K". No?

- "I didn't used to". The expression "I used to" is so automatic that people forget how the past tense works. It should be "didn't use to", without the "d", just like you say "I didn't like it" rather than "I didn't liked it". A few days ago, I winced when I saw for the first time the alternative "I usen't to". Also, I'm reminded of Ali G, who says in one of his clips (as a joke of course): "[This officer] is here to show us that drugs isn't something you should do, but something you should don't!"

Pronunciation of "ask"

And don't even get me started about "Your" and "You're"...

If you happen to agree with what I've said so far, you should have a look at this page, a collection of common mistakes in English. I use it myself as a reference sometimes, when in doubt.

Disclaimer: As a consequence of Muphry's Law, I am bound to make some typos and some grammatical mistakes in this post. I apologise in advance for those.


- 3 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. anden15

    I get most annoyed on people interchanging “you’re” with “your” all the time. And are you telling me, that you’ve met people who actually pronounce “ask” as “axe”?

    17 Sep 2009, 07:15

  2. Mike Willis

    “And are you telling me, that you’ve met people who actually pronounce “ask” as “axe”?”

    Perhaps such people are dedicated fans of Futurama

    That looks like an interesting collection of common mistakes, I’ll have to peruse it later.

    I occasionally have the misfortune to hear Scott Mills on the radio and he uses ‘off of’ in place of the word from. E.g. “Bob off of Manchester says” or “[person] off of [currently popular beat combo] will be on tomorrow”. Makes me wince every time I hear it.

    My current written language pet hate is people who type out entire sentences with every word spelt in full, sometimes even correctly, but then for some inexplicable reason truncate the word you to u.

    I must confess that I find the spell checker highlighting a mangled version of definitely far too often. I think I once bemoaned my spelling abilities in a blog post but I can’t be bothered to check.

    17 Sep 2009, 13:03

  3. Yes, Futurama made a joke out of this, but there are people who say ax .

    And Mike, I have also seen many people do that to their written sentences, and I understand exactly the irritation u feel.
    Just kidding ;)

    18 Sep 2009, 10:42


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