Monday, October 06, 2014

Words that irritate me - Part 1.

The topic of misused words has been discussed so many times but the same mistakes keep popping up everywhere. I hate to rant but they just drive me nuts. Family, friends and even trusted (?) newspapers are using them. My skin crawls when I read them. I can't really yell at any of them so here I am, yelling into the great void that is the interweb.

1. Irregardless.

So you disagree with something. You disagree regarding the mistreatment of animals/words/people. The suffix of "-less" provides the negation you need with regard to the subject. Adding "ir-" as a prefix does not oppose the subject like you have hoped for. It just turns the word into a non-existent word. Adding "ir" doesn't do anything. So just stop.

"Irregardless" is not a word, regardless of what you say.

See what I did there?

I know "irregardless" has been accepted as a word. This doesn't mean it's correct. Accepting it as a word because hordes of people use it incorrectly is just bowing to pressure. If I can get half the population on earth to say that 1 + 1 = 5, does that make it right? It must, since half the world thinks so.

Accepting it as a word means we've lost the war on standard English. If people think the word "irregardless" is valid, I dare them to use it in college essays, exams, business presentations and marketing brochures. Let's see what happens.

2. "Creme a la creme"

At no point does this even make sense.

-- I got distracted by creme brûlée

Creme de la creme means "cream of the creams". Cream of all creams, hence cream of the crop.

Creme a la creme means "cream in the style of cream". Cream like cream. For example, chicken wings a la Buffalo means chicken wings, Buffalo style.

Creme a la creme does not mean cream of the crop. Sorry.

3. Revert.

Sigh. Over the years spent at a government office, I can tell you that this word is used so much it's almost standard in all emails.

"Your xyz application doesn't work. Let me check and revert to you."

Revert does not mean reply. It means returning something to a previous state.

"Oh crap iOS 8 does not work on my phone! Let me revert it back to iOS 7."

4. It's, its, your, you're, then, than, they're, their, there...

This is the worst. They all mean different things.

You/They are funny. You, as a person, and they, collectively as a group, are funny.

Your/their jokes are funny. The jokes that you/they crack, are funny. Your, their and its imply possession, ownership of the subject.

They are not the same.

You own a dog, so that is your dog. You're dog means you ARE a dog.

"There" does not equal they're and their. It refers to a location, the opposite of here. It also refers to the subject.

"There is no hope."

"The treasure is not here. The treasure is there."

"The treasure is not here. There is no treasure."

I don't want to be the stodgy grammar police but we are all functioning adults here who have at least 12 to 20 years of education. It can't be that hard to get this right, can it?

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