Language and the use thereof

I know the English language is supposed to evolve naturally but is it evolving because of ignorance, bad education and (dare I say it) plain laziness?  Call me a pedant (and a lot of people will do just that) but here are some errors that drive me crazy:

  1. Literally:  The Oxford English Dictionary says: In a literal manner or sense; exactly.  I’m sure we’ve all read and heard the word being used improperly.  Sometimes it can be entertaining and provide much humour although more often it’s just used in completely the wrong way.  Call me a pedant (and I know that some of you will) but my brain still works in a way such that when someone says “I literally jumped out of my skin”, all sorts of horrible images flash before my eyes.
  2. Collective nouns.  The word “government”:  Definition: the group of people with the authority to govern a country or state; a particular ministry in office. So why does everyone insist on using in context as if it were plural? The government today have said …”.   No it bloody well haven’t!
  3. Another one that drives me nuts is pacific being used instead of specific.  According to OED: pacific: peaceful in character or intent whereas specific: clearly defined or identified.  Is this a widespread speech impediment?
  4. And what about asking someone something?  Increasingly I hear that people are being axed all over the place.  How the hell did that happen?
  5. Oh – and don’t start me on double negatives.  They’re another pet peeve:  “I ain’t got no ….”  aaarrgghhh!  Well if you ain’t got no blah blah, you must have some because a double negative equals a positive doesn’t it?  Well at least it does in the real world but maybe that’s not where I inhabit
  6. Like.  This seems to be used as an adjective, as sentence punctuation and, like, everything nowadays.  Why?

I’m sure I’ll continue to add to this list as soon as something else starts to irritate me – why not help me along the way and let me know what bugs you, if anything?


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