Pet peeve phrases IV

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Pet peeve phrases IV

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Editado: Jul 24, 2012, 4:17 pm

New page. Same old topic.

Editado: Jul 24, 2012, 4:18 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Editado: Jul 24, 2012, 4:39 pm

"This message has been deleted by its author. "

And yet it is still there.

Editado: Jul 24, 2012, 4:45 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Jul 24, 2012, 5:38 pm

>2 ed.pendragon:-4
You don't say. But if you really want to split hairs, you no longer say.

Jul 24, 2012, 11:39 pm

As for compacted words (197-199 on the previous page), I've been grappling with "moreso" lately. ("Horace didn't like long walks at night, all the moreso because he lived near the edge of a cliff.") Dictionaries don't traditionally recognize it, and most usage authorities condemn it, but it seems to have become common enough that "more so" is starting to look wrong to me. Of course, "more" by itself would be fine, which is probably why "so" as a separate word looks extraneous, but most people I know add "so" in both speech and writing. I've heard the OED is adding "moreso," which if true means that I can start writing it with a clear conscience.

Editado: Jul 25, 2012, 4:29 am

The OED is my normal reference point for matters of spelling, but I started losing confidence in it when it started accepting the spelling of organization with an "s" rather than a "z". (I think it was about 1996.)

My confidence in the OED was further damaged when it accepted "referendums" as the plural of referendum. Ugh!

The only way I could calm my nerves and find some centre to my life was to acknowledge that while the OED may accept two spellings for some words one of them is wrong.


Jul 25, 2012, 7:21 am

Referendums? You're right, that's appalling. The next item on my agendums will be to send the OED a list of corrigendums. (shudder)

Jul 25, 2012, 7:32 am

I'm sure they will be delighted to receive those datums.

Jul 25, 2012, 8:18 am

Or will they treat them as erratums?

Jul 25, 2012, 9:14 am

This is making my teeth hurt!

Jul 25, 2012, 11:02 am

Don't worry you can always watch some sports in the Olympic stadiums to calm you down.

Jul 25, 2012, 11:36 am


Jul 25, 2012, 4:28 pm

Come to think of it, did it ever make sense to use foreign plural endings for English words? And stadium, referendum, and all the rest *are* English words at this point.

Jul 25, 2012, 6:28 pm

So is the word data.

Jul 25, 2012, 11:51 pm

I suppose it's a matter of taste, but to me it seems more logical for words to retain their existing plurals when they enter English, rather than adopting new plurals. Even venerable English words don't necessarily use -s for the plural, as the mans, womans, and childs reading this thread might agree (along with their household gooses, oxes, and mouses), so it seems artificial to make comparative newcomers adopt a regularity that never really held. Moreover, these words have been used in English with the -um to -a plurals for centuries, so why change them now?*

As for foreignness, I don't know this for a fact, but I'd expect that changing -um to -a is one of the most common pluralization rules in English, after the addition of -s (or -es, depending on spelling) and changing -man to -men (which, as a pattern of final letters, includes -woman to -women). I haven't counted them, but offhand the -um to -a plurals don't seem to be less frequent than words with -o to -oes, -fe to -ves, -us to -i, -a to -ae, -eau to -eaux, and the other "regular irregulars" that come to mind.

For truly peculiar plurals of seldom-used foreign-borrowed words, such as amt -> amter, I doubt most people would look askance at someone who naively adds -s to form *amts. But the -um to -a plural is well-known enough that the education of a speaker who fails to use it would be rather suspect, at least in my opinion.

*I suspect this is happening now because fewer English speakers study Latin hodie.

Jul 26, 2012, 4:20 am

#16 buckjohnson

Very eruditely put.

Thank you!

Ago 9, 2012, 6:53 am

What hope have we when senior editors cannot get their verbs to match their subjects?

“First, there’s all those canonical works that you’re supposed to have read to be suitably well-rounded. Then there’s all the contemporary books you’re supposed to have under your belt if you want to be on top of the modern literary scene,” notes Mr. Hogan, who is also senior editor of the GalleyCat blog.

(Extracted from article on giving up on bad books.)

Ago 9, 2012, 10:37 am

Good catch. In fact, that entire Washington Times article seems unintentionally self-referential. It begins with valid resource-allocation arguments from Tyler Cowen, a pop economist whose books I've enjoyed, but then it cites the literary blog editor whose solecism you quoted, then it devolves further by citing the author of the romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. With such a swift decline in credibility, if the article hadn't been brief I might have heeded Cowen's counsel and not finished reading it.

Ago 9, 2012, 10:59 am

Lately, in reports at work, I've been seeing quite a few uses of the conditional to indicate the habitual past. ("He would go fly-fishing on weekends." intended to mean "He used to go fly-fishing on weekends.") To me, the former construction is crying out for a dependent clause to explain why it's counterfactual. ("He would go fly-fishing on weekends if he didn't live in the Gobi Desert.") I therefore feel misled and irked when it turns out not to be a counterfactual. Is this standard usage for conveying the habitual past?

Ago 9, 2012, 11:25 am

#19 I didn't get as far as the Trashy Books.

Like yourself, I was agreeing with the comments and then began to question the article's credibility when I got to, "there'", and didn't read beyond the paragraph quoted in 18.

#20 I see your point but don't have an answer to your question. Certainly, when I read, "He would go fly-fishing on weekends." I was left wondering if this meant he always went fly fishing, or that he went fly-fishing under some unmentioned circumstances such as at a particular time of year, or when he was in a particular part of the country, or whatever. Without some other contextual information I would never have understood it to mean, "He used to go fly-fishing on weekends."

Ago 9, 2012, 12:06 pm

You're right, it's broader than I had stated; there are valid extrapolations other than counterfactuals, and their common feature is that the use of "would" is setting up the reader to expect some type of qualifier. When no qualifier follows, I feel startled, and the sentence seems truncated. Moreover, because the first structure that comes to my mind is a counterfactual, I do a double-take upon realizing that the practice just described actually did occur, when I thought it didn't.

Ago 9, 2012, 8:27 pm

I've just heard another commercial for a "staycation," and that recently minted word really annoys me. But then, I'm easily annoyed.

Ago 9, 2012, 10:12 pm

Is this standard usage for conveying the habitual past?

Yes. It wants context from the surrounding text, but there's nothing wrong with that sentence as it stands (i.e., it doesn't need "some sort of qualifier". Without context, it could perhaps be interpreted to mean "he wants/wanted to go fly-fishing on weekends", but that's an archaic usage)

Editado: Ago 12, 2012, 7:16 am

>6 buckjohnson:

The current online OED does indeed, include 'moreso', but only as the latest (1997) version of the time-honoured 'more so'. Remember that the OED records usage, not recommendations.

For me, the use of 'moreso' suggests that its user has forgotten its origins. It sounds like a Hispanic import, or perhaps something to do with the real word 'mores'.

Ago 13, 2012, 1:27 am

How do you pronounce it? I'd just slur "more so" (morso), not say mor-E-so or mor-E-zo (which is the only way I can get it to sound in the least Hispanic). It _looks_ Hispanic, if you're not familiar with it and can't catch the meaning from context - but every time I've run across it I've seen it immediately as the compound word.

And no, I don't use it and don't like it. But I can understand it.

Ago 14, 2012, 7:14 pm

I don't get either hispanic sounds or the sound of "mores" (more-ehs) from moreso. I do wonder how CliffordDorset would pronounce it.

I've seen it used often and it doesn't bother me, but if I were to write those words, they would be separated.

Editado: Ago 14, 2012, 9:59 pm

I keep wanting to separate "insofar" (combining "moreso" actually makes some kind of sense (different stress than "more so"); combining "in so far" makes none whatsoever, AFAICS...and why not "insofarsas"?)

Ago 15, 2012, 12:21 pm

>27 UnrulySun:

'I do wonder how CliffordDorset would pronounce it. '

I'm quite perverse when it comes to pronouncing silly words, perhaps as a counter to the usual 'English' habit of using an illogical scheme - things like pronouncing the German wine as 'ryze-ling. And 'Pall Mall' as 'Pal Mal'.

I see the word phonologically as 'morraysso', with the stress in the middle. If this is quirky, please accept the possibility that it may be hereditary; my father couldn't resist the temptation to pronounce 'misled' as 'myzled, with the stress shifted to the beginning.

Ago 15, 2012, 12:41 pm

> 16

I don't know this for a fact, but I'd expect that changing -um to -a is one of the most common pluralization rules in English....

That's an interesting criteria, but I don't think it addresses the phenomenas of current usage.

*Ducks to avoid hurled bust of Pericles*

Ago 15, 2012, 12:41 pm

I've heard several people report that as children they didn't grok that the spoken and written versions of "misled" were the same word, but thought the later was a regular participle of **misle.

Ago 15, 2012, 12:56 pm

I was the same with 'awry'.

Ago 15, 2012, 3:46 pm

Isn't 'awry' Mancunian for 'alright'? Just askin.

Ago 15, 2012, 4:19 pm

So why is it that when I have talked about my misled (my zld) everybody has looked at me in pitying wonder, as though it were not possible to make that mistake? It seems that other people do it, but I'm the only one. Are contradictions allowed now? Or am I traveling in different circles?


Ago 15, 2012, 7:33 pm

My dad uses mizzled as well, and I picked it up - but I don't use it when I'm doing a presentation or meeting with a prospective employer. It's a joke, as far as I'm concerned - a funny-always joke, but there are places/times when jokes are out of order. Around my family, that's never, though...

Ago 16, 2012, 5:20 am

When I was a kid I mistakenly said 'causual' instead of 'casual' and my parents laughed. After that, my father continued to say 'causual' (cawshul) as a joke, to the point where I swear he ceased to be aware of it, repeating it in general conversation to slightly confused looks. I'm not sure he ever noticed.

Ago 21, 2012, 9:45 am

>30 Muscogulus: : I think that would be 'phenomenons'.

Did you know 'versus' is now a verb? I'm not sure how it came about (whether he invented it, or picked it up from school), but my son will say "I 'versed' (i.e. played against) so-and-so on the computer today". No matter what I say, I can't convince him to change.

Editado: Ago 21, 2012, 10:10 am

>37 humouress:
Oh, good grief.

At least there is a tenuous link between versus and 'versed'. I hate it that when the UK football season is upon us (as is just happening) even TV announcers scream out that the upcoming programme is Manchester United 'vee' Chelsea (or whatever). {teeth grinding in progress}

Ago 21, 2012, 1:05 pm

#37 Does your son write many poems about his friends?


Ago 21, 2012, 8:21 pm

No; he's not literary minded.

Ago 22, 2012, 12:28 pm

My sister has decided that "seraded" is a word - it's what happens when something rough rubs against your skin (not sure how she spells it, it might be "serrated" which is a word just not that meaning). I correct her to abraded frequently, but it doesn't stick...

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 5:23 pm

<31 As a child I also misread misled as mizzled, and also bedridden as be-dridden. And I always do a double-take on miniseries (something like miseries).

Ago 23, 2012, 3:38 am

I did not delete message 42, it deleted itself before I posted it.
Had problems posting yesterday.
What I wanted to say that not only did I misread misled as mizzled, I also used to do a double-take on bedridden which I read as be-dridden (I remember my mother laughing at me for that).

Ago 23, 2012, 8:33 am

I am not sure that I am able to pronounce 'picturesque' correctly, as I am too much in the habit of saying 'picture-skew'.

A referendum (Latin) is a thing which is referred for a vote. Referenda are things referred for voting. A referendum (English) is a vote on the issue. Referendums are successive votes.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:14 am


Referenda is still correct English for more than one referendum.

Ago 23, 2012, 11:51 am

#45 Phew! Thank you andyl! What a relief. I thought for a moment that I was going to have to hibernate until the insects took over the world.

Editado: Ago 24, 2012, 3:20 pm

Noting the misled/mizzled comments reminded me (unless someone has already mentioned it and I missed it) of the occasional mispronunciation of the second word in 'child molester' as though it rhymed with the object you put a pistol in.

I often had a mental doubletake when the phrase was routinely used in newspapers, until 'paedophile' took over as a synonym. Sadly, the rise in its use in the media led to at least one incident where a medico was attacked because their nameplate read 'Paediatrician'.

Ago 24, 2012, 10:58 am

That reminds me of a brand of matress which is marketed here in Australia as "posturepaedic".

Paedic means 'pertaining to a child' so the word posturepaedic makes no sense and whoever coined the name was obviously unaware that the original meaning of orthopaedic is "straight child".

Ago 24, 2012, 4:30 pm

> 48 Paedic means 'pertaining to a child' so the word posturepaedic makes no sense and whoever coined the name was obviously unaware that the original meaning of orthopaedic is "straight child".

Ah, but in US English it's "orthopedic" . . . a word that most Americans encounter as a modifier for "shoes" or "surgeon," and take (not unreasonably) to have something to do with the foot or the leg since it shares a root with "pedestrian" and "biped" and since orthopedic surgeons' work on legs is more frequent (or at least more high-profile) than their work on arms.

"Posturepedic" still doesn't make logical sense, but it sounds plausible to American ears in a way it probably wouldn't in Australia.

Ago 24, 2012, 5:59 pm

"Posturepedic" is that to do with the way you stand when you're kicking children?

Fev 4, 2013, 2:34 am

Two phrases which drive me almost out of my mind:

Saying that someone "passed" rather than 'died', or his "passing" rather than his"death." I think that this usage has spread over the last 50+ years. It makes me think that people are trying to not upset themselves or others, but as sad as death is, it seems artificial and seems to "cheapen" this major life event to hide behind "passing." Or at least say "passed away"--don't know what happened to that.

And I don't knew where this originated, but it is almost universal these days, and it makes me cringe: Saying "Enjoy!" rather than "Enjoy it" or "Enjoy yourself." At restaurants, I have to steel myself from reacting when waiters say this.

I know I'm out-numbered and old when I say these things, but are the any other 60-somethings out there that miss the earlier expressions?

Fev 4, 2013, 4:24 am

My mother in law used to say "I heard that Jim (or whoever) has gone away." The first time I heard it I almost asked her where - but saw from the look on her face that it wasn't a trip to Bali.

Fev 4, 2013, 4:42 am

#51 You are not alone, Diane-bpcb, and one does not have to have reached 60-something to miss plain speaking.

Fev 4, 2013, 5:11 pm

I dislike the peremptory 'Come!' when someone knocks at the door as much as the injunction 'Enjoy!' though the former usage seems to have been a passing fad, in the UK at least. But I suppose 'Come!' without 'in' makes as much sense as 'Sit!' without 'down', whereas 'Enjoy!' without a grammatical object just seems pointlessly wayward.

Fev 4, 2013, 5:18 pm

#52 - Just thinking about "in-law" vs. spouse differences gets me ready to giggle, and the specific wording you mention makes me smile each time I read it.

#53 - Thanks. That's what I love. "Plain speaking." Mark Twain was devilishly good at plain speaking. From his essay: Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses:

"When a person has a poor ear for music he will flat and sharp right along without knowing it. He keeps near the tune, but it is not the tune. When a person has a poor ear for words, the result is a literary flatting and sharping; you perceive what he is intending to say, but you also perceive that he doesn’t say it."

Fev 5, 2013, 9:59 am

Surely 'passed' is simply short for 'passed away', which the online OED dates back to 1400:

'Graunt ... rest and pese ... to cristen soules passed away'

Similarly, 'Passing to heaven can be traced to 1225.

Or perhaps Diane-bpcb's user was simply referring to the passage of wind ...

Fev 5, 2013, 12:09 pm

56: Yes, it's short: but you can't just do that with English verbs. If someone "passes", they're driving through, or going the other way in the corridor. If someone offers you extra dessert, and you say "I'll pass on that", are you referring to imminent cardiac arrest? Actually, depending on the dessert, maybe you are...

Fev 5, 2013, 3:34 pm

My cousin took his driving test a couple weeks ago. He passed.

Fev 5, 2013, 3:47 pm

My sympathies.

Unless s/he's a really good driver.

Maio 30, 2013, 10:38 am

Another pet peeve: "Enjoy!" rather than "Enjoy it" or "Enjoy yourselves."

Maio 30, 2013, 11:12 am

"The ear of the behearer". AUUUUUGH.

Maio 30, 2013, 12:05 pm

This member has been suspended from the site.

Jun 11, 2013, 7:12 pm

I've probably mentioned it before, but it really annoys me. Now I keep hearing it on the radio, and I've even heard teachers in my son's school say something like "There's two pies in the oven".

There ARE, there ARE - it's a plural, people!!!

Sorry. It just really irritates me.

Jun 12, 2013, 6:58 am

#63 humouress, that is one of my pet peeves, if not my biggest pet peeve, of all time. I hear it on the radio, on television, from teachers, and from other people one would regard as educated.

The dumbing-down is spreading.

Editado: Jun 12, 2013, 8:18 am

The scary thing is ... I catch myself starting to slip up, too.


Jan 30, 2014, 9:40 am

Agreed! Agreed! Agreed! There's has now taken over there're's place. Is it because it's easier to say?
I don't know that this is the place for my fury at the ubiquitous "You know" now used at the beginning of an answer:
LD: What is the capital of France?
Person: Well, you know ----
NO. I do not know. If I had known, I wouldn't have asked.
(---- which reminds me of the double condition, "If I would have (would of?) seen him first, he would never have (of) seen me."
Maybe I need to join this group. I just read my first Stephen Pinker.

Jan 30, 2014, 10:38 am

I worked with a manager who frequently used "would of" in memos, and it always made me grin. She wasn't especially well liked, and no one ever corrected her. One of those nasty little things about me -- having some little nit that makes me feel superior to someone who acts superior to all those around her.

One of my first jobs involved working with a very sweet woman who was not well educated, and she frequently used words incorrectly. That didn't make me feel superior at all, only a little sad that she didn't have a chance for a better education and a better life. I guess my reaction all depends on how people treat me.

Abr 4, 2014, 5:48 pm

"A frog he would a wooing go,
Whether his mother would let him or no"

Abr 5, 2014, 12:46 am

As I recall, the character "Data" in Star Trek, the Next Generation, was successful in creating a female android as his companion. Also, Data had a terrible tempered brother. When speaking of them would it be correct to say "Datas"?

Abr 5, 2014, 12:48 am


Abr 5, 2014, 12:49 am

or Datae? Or just call them by name?

Abr 5, 2014, 12:57 am

In my reading of collegiate material, it seems that the various editors are having a hard time coming up with a generic, or all-encompassing word for their graduates. They are stuck on alumnus, alumni, alumna, and alumnae and can't make up their minds. Just "graduates" seems to be the solution, and many are using just that word. What has been your experience?

Editado: Abr 5, 2014, 1:24 am

Both of the "woulds" in 68 are a past* tense, but are not quite identical, semantically: What the frog was doing was "wishing" to go courting. What his mother was (or wasnʻt) doing was
"being willing" to let him.

*Would a-wooing go" could also be parsed as an imperfect -- of a habitual action, meaning "always wanted to...".
". . .would let him" could be the conditional of let (still la PAST conditional); or could, like the above, signify habitual: "usually let him"; always let him".

Editado: Abr 6, 2014, 12:34 am

#72 I am one of the 'alumni' of my university.

Editado: Abr 6, 2014, 12:36 am

#68 Poetic licence?

Abr 6, 2014, 2:20 pm

>74 pinkozcat: and that makes you an alumnus or an alumnae? On another note, the world is indeed a small one. My daughter-in-law's brother lives in Perth, and has lived there for many years. Is Claremont anywhere near Perth?

Abr 8, 2014, 10:10 am

Claremont is just a few kilometres from the centre of Perth. It is a 15 minute ride on the train.

Abr 8, 2014, 10:15 am

Perth is the capital of Western Australia and many people use it as a generic place to live. Claremont is very close to Perth - about 15 minutes by train and is one of the 'Western Suburbs'.

Abr 8, 2014, 11:34 am

78> many people use it as a generic place to live

So does every household there have 2 1/2 kids and a half-dog/half-cat?

Abr 8, 2014, 4:39 pm

>78 pinkozcat: Thank you. My understanding is that he and his family live in the city of Perth itself (whether generically or not, I couldn't say). One of my sons is a minister and is planning, in the year 2016, a pulpit exchange so that he can experience Perth first hand.

Abr 8, 2014, 4:41 pm

>78 pinkozcat: On a completely different note -- you and your neighbors must be inundated with a veritable United Nations of military (and not so military) personnel engaged in trying to find THE GREAT MYSTERY PLANE.

Abr 10, 2014, 5:24 am

#81 I have only seen them on Telly. Western Australia is HUGE; almost half the landmass of Australia.

Abr 12, 2014, 5:35 am

I am an alumnus of my university, and my wife is an alumna. Owing to the usual conflation of mixed gender into the masculine, we are both alumni, but she does mix with her fellow alumnae at old girls' get-togethers.

Editado: Abr 12, 2014, 10:44 am

A major ambiguity with
"alumnAE/alumnI" is that
a few people still pronounce
the masculine plural (...-I) the classical Latin way: the last syllable rhymes with "Bee". And, in the usual (anglicized) pronunciation of the feminine ( the last syllable rhymes with "say"; but in classical Latin pronunciation, it rhymes with "sigh", and is thus identical with the anglicized pronunciation of the masculine!
For the singulars: no problem: the latinate and the anglicized are identical.