Words and Phrases That Annoy Me

People regularly mangle the English language. I have some affectations that I misuse/abuse too, such as “kinda” and “gonna” that I often feel are conversational and add a casual touch to my writing. Some abuses are simply unforgiveable. Here are 5 of the top offenders in my book.

I see this everywhere. Why does no one understand that lose does NOT have two Os? I understand typos, really, I do. In fact, there has never been a spelling error on my website, just typos (at least, that’s what I tell myself). When I see “loose” for lose, however, I shut off.

If you submit a resume to me and tell me you administrated a network, prepare to be filed directly in the trash. Despite the fact that “administrate” is actually a real word, the proper word in this case is “administer.” I maintain that one does not administrate networks. Administrate, as I interpret it, is a form of “administration” that is more akin to clerical work than managerial. Either way, when I see it on a resume, I just assume it was ignorance.

Again, it is a real word, but most of the time, what people mean to say is “orient,” and if not, it would certainly suffice.

This is the worst offender by far. “Myself” includes the word “self,” which means the verb must be reflexive. You must be doing the action to yourself. You can hurt yourself, pinch yourself, feed yourself. No one else can do something to “yourself.” You should never say “Ask Bob or myself.” Don’t be afraid to use the word “me.” Most people are afraid of it, but then, most people speak like idjits.

Between you and I
It’s between you and me. Seriously. Don’t say between you and I, because it’s wrong, and, between you and me, you look dumb saying it. Like “myself,” this one probably stems from hypercorrection.

You get an extra one for free today. Let’s talk about the words “less” and “fewer.” Fewer means a lesser number. Less is a comparitive term, as in “less than x.” Even YouTube says “More Options” and “Less Options.” But it’s actually “Fewer Options.” The confusion comes from this: the opposite of less is more. The opposite of fewer is… more.

3 Replies to “Words and Phrases That Annoy Me”

  1. Well, language changes. English is particularly prone to change, because of two factors:

    I) There’s no governing body for the English language. Other languages, like Dutch, French, and German, have national language institutes which govern language change, and set official rules. They “maintain” languages and keep them up-to-date. The fact that this doesn’t happen in English, means that change will happen without control.

    For instance, over the past 50 years, several ‘strong’ Dutch verbs morphed into ‘weak’ verbs; they were standardised. Some of these changes were made official by the Taalunie (‘Language Union’, our language institute), so that everyone knew how to spell the newer variations. The older, unused variations were ‘deprecated’. This way, you keep a language up-to-date, and make sure the spoken and written language remains ‘in sync’.

    II) English is a lingua franca, meaning it is influenced by just about any other language in existence. This leads to “dutchisms’, ‘germanisms’, and so on. Are these ‘-isms’ wrong? Well, without an official language institute, who gets to decide?

  2. Back in the days of Red Hat 6 there was a tool called the “Network Configurator”.

  3. I remember that tool. There was also an x configurator. Of course, I think those were actually done on purpose – as a joke.

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