27 votes

What linguistics habits annoy you?

Habits can be good! I mean, if you build the good ones of course. But ya know, sometimes people fall into habits that annoy you. I mean, they probably don't know that they're annoying you. Or that they've fallen into the habit at all! What linguistic habits have you noticed in yourself (or others) that drives you up the wall?

108 comments

  1. [21]
    Bishop
    Link
    probably not the intention behind the question - but linguistic purism really gets on my nerves. language changes over time. english has changed so profoundly in the last 1000 years that it's...

    probably not the intention behind the question - but linguistic purism really gets on my nerves.

    language changes over time.

    english has changed so profoundly in the last 1000 years that it's entirely unintelligible compared to it's former self. the english of yore is closer to modern icelandic than it is the english language of today. for an example, one of my favorite pieces in old english - the prologue to beowulf

    compare that to the english of 500 years ago in the piece "speke parott" (speak parrot)

    languages do change, will change, and are changing. if you don't like the way that people are currently treating english through use of modern slang, through use of certain pronunciations or dialects, the colloquial "relaxation" of the language via use of filler words such as "um" and "like", or through the more generally informal way that we go about addressing each other (exemplified by the widespread informality on the internet between individuals, informality from consumer-facing companies used to humanize their brand, a certain level of informality often found in the workplace between one's team members, or even one's managers to a point) i implore you to regress your language. own your linguistic purism, get back to the roots of the spoken tongue, consider learning, working, and communicating in proto-indo-european!

    41 votes
    1. [4]
      clerical_terrors
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand I love the idea of language as a living, evolving, cultural thing but on the other I feel like a degree of conservatism is what also shapes the...

      I'm in two minds about this. On the one hand I love the idea of language as a living, evolving, cultural thing but on the other I feel like a degree of conservatism is what also shapes the artistic expression it generates.
      To me, good writing/rhetoric is very much a product of overcoming the limitations of a language or learning to employ its idiosyncrasies in one's favor, like developing some kind of intimate relationship with the language itself.

      10 votes
      1. Bishop
        Link Parent
        undoubtedly. i'm of the belief that some of the best creativity is born out of constraint. the most immediate example of this is to pose yourself a simple challenge. pull out your phone, start the...

        very much a product of overcoming the limitations of a language or learning to employ it's idiosyncrasies in one's favor

        undoubtedly. i'm of the belief that some of the best creativity is born out of constraint. the most immediate example of this is to pose yourself a simple challenge.

        pull out your phone, start the stopwatch, see how long it takes you to list off 10 different things that are white.

        jot that number down.

        now reset your timer, start it again, see how long it takes you to list off 10 different things that are white which can also be found in a refrigerator!

        i'd bet good money you've got a faster time on that second number!

        now, on this quote, i pose the question. does a changing language assume these limitations of language disappear? i don't imagine that, as language evolves, it becomes more or less expressive - rather it becomes better at expressing different things. (consider how the eskimo have a higher number of "root words" for snow than english does or how some languages have more words for colors than others

        languages may grow to better express different areas, though, in my opinion, cannot come to express new ideas that it could not before (or vice versa.)

        for an example of this - try describing a scent without directly relating it to something else

        7 votes
      2. [2]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        If you like prescriptivism you may wish to fix that typo. Yes, my post is lame.

        employ it's idiosyncrasies

        If you like prescriptivism you may wish to fix that typo. Yes, my post is lame.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      Whenever this comes up, I love showing people this Wikipedia article on versions of the Lord's Prayer over time in English.

      Whenever this comes up, I love showing people this Wikipedia article on versions of the Lord's Prayer over time in English.

      7 votes
      1. cfabbro
        Link Parent
        Similarly, my favorite thing to link whenever this subject comes up is Stephen Fry on Language.

        Similarly, my favorite thing to link whenever this subject comes up is Stephen Fry on Language.

        7 votes
    3. [6]
      Spel
      Link Parent
      While you're correct, people pushing back against "incorrect" language is equally a part of the evolutionary process.

      While you're correct, people pushing back against "incorrect" language is equally a part of the evolutionary process.

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        Zeerph
        Link Parent
        While we have historical evidence that this does and likely will continue to happen, that doesn't make it any less futile.

        people pushing back against "incorrect" language is equally a part of the evolutionary process.

        While we have historical evidence that this does and likely will continue to happen, that doesn't make it any less futile.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Spel
          Link Parent
          That's nonsense. The last few hundred years have been a victory lap for people "correcting" language

          That's nonsense. The last few hundred years have been a victory lap for people "correcting" language

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            Zeerph
            Link Parent
            What sort of historical evidence do you have to support that claim?

            What sort of historical evidence do you have to support that claim?

            1. [2]
              Whom
              Link Parent
              "The last few hundred years" is when prescriptive style guides and standardized spelling became popular things in the first place (for English, at least). Pile that on with formal education in the...

              "The last few hundred years" is when prescriptive style guides and standardized spelling became popular things in the first place (for English, at least). Pile that on with formal education in the language being infinitely more common and almost always being rooted in prescriptive ideas of right and wrong, and we have way way more people introduced to the idea that there's a proper way for the language to look.

              That doesn't mean it's "winning" though, I don't quite know where Spel gets that.

              3 votes
              1. Zeerph
                Link Parent
                Neither do I. I was going to cite some long-dead folks that were peeving about language that we think is commonplace and normal, but that's more work than I think the comment deserves.

                That doesn't mean it's "winning" though, I don't quite know where Spel gets that.

                Neither do I. I was going to cite some long-dead folks that were peeving about language that we think is commonplace and normal, but that's more work than I think the comment deserves.

    4. [7]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      ... or a lack of capital letters? :P

      if you don't like the way that people are currently treating english through use of modern slang, through use of certain pronunciations or dialects, the colloquial "relaxation" of the language via use of filler words such as "um" and "like"

      ... or a lack of capital letters? :P

      1 vote
      1. [6]
        Bishop
        Link Parent
        right on the nose 😉

        right on the nose 😉

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          "On the nose" is right! Readability matters.

          "On the nose" is right!

          Readability matters.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Bishop
            Link Parent
            i mean, of course! readability is indeed important when one is trying to, well, read something. likewise edibility is important for food, or listenability for music. if i were to consciously...

            i mean, of course! readability is indeed important when one is trying to, well, read something.

            likewise edibility is important for food, or listenability for music.

            if i were to consciously consider the lowercase text, i'd consider it akin to putting fries inside of a bank tube instead of a plate, or bass-boosting my favorite asinine trap songs.

            absolutely more people prefer to eat from plates and listen to regularly-mixed music, but as we know, only siths deal in absolutes. i just happen to have other preferences!

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              But you're not writing to have your material read, so readability isn't important?

              readability is indeed important when one is trying to, well, read something.

              But you're not writing to have your material read, so readability isn't important?

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Bishop
                Link Parent
                a question of intent, isn't it? one has to wonder, what did i think was more important at the time of writing? obviously a conscious choice was made to not use capital letters. why was that?...

                a question of intent, isn't it?

                one has to wonder, what did i think was more important at the time of writing? obviously a conscious choice was made to not use capital letters. why was that?

                perhaps i saw the post as a bit of personal expression. expressing my own thoughts, expressing the message through my own tone, expressing myself through the comment itself - even in little ways.

                do i value personal expression over another's ability to comfortably read the comment?

                perhaps it's eccentricity for eccentricity's sake. do i value making myself into an "other", finding little ways to make my comment stand out amongst the rest?

                do i value eccentricity over readability?

                or perhaps i'm just lazy! a lot of my comments tend not to be short little quips (i ramble a lot, thanks dad!) and perhaps i find i just can't be bothered to hit that 'shift' key every time standards dictate i should have a capital letter.

                do i value my own sloth and laziness over readability?

                i'd like to consider it a personal choice based on a will for expression. maybe there's further subconscious motivation.

                though, at the end of the day, these are just internet comments.

                regardless of what one's motivation to do a certain thing is - if they enjoy it, and the action is harmless, why would i bother to introduce myself in that piece and impede? what's to be gained?

                15 votes
                1. haykam821
                  Link Parent
                  That hurt to read 😡

                  That hurt to read 😡

                  2 votes
    5. myk
      Link Parent
      It's interesting that you raise the matter of the intent behind the question. We've got people sharing the usual complaints about (other people's) grammar, vocabulary, verbal tics etc. I know that...

      It's interesting that you raise the matter of the intent behind the question. We've got people sharing the usual complaints about (other people's) grammar, vocabulary, verbal tics etc. I know that this is ~talk, but I wonder what @pamymaf wanted to get out of this discussion.

      1 vote
  2. [6]
    Amarok
    Link
    I have a 'buffer' problem. I'll use a word, and then it'll turn up again later in like the next 1.5 sentences again without me realizing it. Usually I can catch it on a quick edit. I just did it...

    I have a 'buffer' problem. I'll use a word, and then it'll turn up again later in like the next 1.5 sentences again without me realizing it. Usually I can catch it on a quick edit.

    I just did it here with 'again' and I'll leave that as an example. :P

    Yes, this happens when I'm talking as well.

    Also I've begun to hate anything that ends in -ly. Death to the adverbs.

    13 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I've noticed that my writing style includes a lot of adverbs. Oops!

      Also I've begun to hate anything that ends in -ly. Death to the adverbs.

      I've noticed that my writing style includes a lot of adverbs. Oops!

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        It's like some kind of hellish modern curse. When did we all start using words like 'actually' 'really' 'very' 'definitely' 'absolutely' and 'literally' to pepper every single sentence? I catch...

        It's like some kind of hellish modern curse. When did we all start using words like 'actually' 'really' 'very' 'definitely' 'absolutely' and 'literally' to pepper every single sentence? I catch myself doing it all the time. It's like the writer's equivalent of smoking - I want to quit, but I can't seem to give them up.

        6 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I absolutely agree that these words are overused, but I definitely believe there is a place for them. However, I didn't mean those common adverbs. I tend to use different adverbs. I use them to...

          I absolutely agree that these words are overused, but I definitely believe there is a place for them. However, I didn't mean those common adverbs. I tend to use different adverbs. I use them to add a little bit of colour and emphasis to my writing.

          1 vote
    2. jgb
      Link Parent
      I find myself doing that too, it's definitely a problem. I don't know why I do it for definite, but it's definitely an indication that I should edit my comments more before posting them.

      I find myself doing that too, it's definitely a problem. I don't know why I do it for definite, but it's definitely an indication that I should edit my comments more before posting them.

    3. BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      My repeating phrases shift on the context too. When I'm trying to seem reasonable with someone I often am disagreeing with, phrases that emphasize certainty come up reflexively. "To be sure" is...

      My repeating phrases shift on the context too. When I'm trying to seem reasonable with someone I often am disagreeing with, phrases that emphasize certainty come up reflexively. "To be sure" is the one example I noticed recently that doesn't end in -ly. Not all adverbs are evil, but the ones that emphasize a false sense of certainty, especially with hyperbole, are.

  3. stephen
    Link
    I really hate it when people use the word "actually" for no reason. I can't think of a good example but I've noticed people in white collar public speaking do it so much. To me it's worse than...

    I really hate it when people use the word "actually" for no reason. I can't think of a good example but I've noticed people in white collar public speaking do it so much. To me it's worse than "like" or "um" because it's way longer and pretends like its adding something.

    I also really hate it when writers feel the need to convey how smart and good their smart and good idea is by using huge words and impossible sentence structures. I took an intro linguistics course in college and learned about syntax trees which are diagrams that linguists use to parse syntactic forms. When you apply these methods to sentences written in "Adadem-ese,", it's really clear exactly how unclearly these things are written and just how hard it is to say, learn sociology or architecture from source material. To me "academese" is the ultimate sin in language since it's perpretrated entirely by people who could and should know better. But they do it anyway because of how smart they are!! HOLY SHIT! I HATE IT!

    Stephen Pinker has an amazing hour long talk called linguistics and style. If the sort of stuff in this thread is neat to you, that link is going to be super duper neat to you. He also uses the phrase "high falutin' gobbledygook," so, there's that.

    11 votes
  4. [5]
    Whom
    Link
    Starting comments with "I mean," has really started to bother me lately. I originally did it a lot myself, then someone gave me shit for it and I very quickly tried to purge it from how I type....

    Starting comments with "I mean," has really started to bother me lately. I originally did it a lot myself, then someone gave me shit for it and I very quickly tried to purge it from how I type. I'm mostly fine with it in speech, though.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Whom
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It creates a different tone, sure, I just don't like that effect or the phrasing that gets you there. I'm not going for a prescriptive "you're using words wrong and adding unnecessary shit" angle,...

        It creates a different tone, sure, I just don't like that effect or the phrasing that gets you there.

        I'm not going for a prescriptive "you're using words wrong and adding unnecessary shit" angle, the stylistic choice just bothers me.

    2. clerical_terrors
      Link Parent
      This post has completely ruined my writing, I can't not notice when I'm about to write "I mean" any more.

      This post has completely ruined my writing, I can't not notice when I'm about to write "I mean" any more.

      5 votes
    3. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      yeah well I mean, that's just like your opinion, man I can see how this might be bothersome, but the reason to fix it is more about being succinct in your wording and delivering the correct message.

      yeah well I mean, that's just like your opinion, man

      I can see how this might be bothersome, but the reason to fix it is more about being succinct in your wording and delivering the correct message.

      4 votes
    4. stephen
      Link Parent
      I hate it when people misuse whom. Or fail to acknowledge when I have correctly used whom.

      I hate it when people misuse whom. Or fail to acknowledge when I have correctly used whom.

      1 vote
  5. [3]
    cadadr
    Link
    The general simplification of written text to the point of it becoming just childish. Reading blog posts and programming tutorials, this has always been the thing that annoyed me the most WRT text...

    The general simplification of written text to the point of it becoming just childish. Reading blog posts and programming tutorials, this has always been the thing that annoyed me the most WRT text in English. This is very diffuse especially in the programmers' community, but found elsewhere too. Technical texts are written in an extremely colloquial style or straight out made into childrens' books together with irrelevant pictures that are supposed to be illustrations but illustrate nothing else than how annoying the text is, and memes, memes, memes, and huge gifs that wiggle as I'm trying to read the broken prose that goes like "So, the pointery things in C are like cute lovely eggs, you have to crack 'em open to get to their contents. Go on, try in your editor the following example, Squiggly has created it for you!" And Squiggly is a completely irrelevant chicken that is drawn horribly in a creepily childish cartoonish style, looking at the egg it just dropped. Or say in a blog post, it's like "Java is a horrible language. When I see it, I'm like: [huge stupid gif] Yeah, so I use Kotlin instead. [another idiotic gif with a clue of awkward glee]."

    I like my text at least mildly complex, elaborate and mostly serious. Something like _why's Ruby book is illegible for me. Interesting, but I'd prefer something like the K&R book over it any time.

    In Turkish, my mother tongue, there's a word "kanka" which means somehting like buddy, and I hate it. It's paralysingly cringy. My annoying habit in Turkish is that I started using foreign language words very often, and I don't like doing it in casual settings because it's generally regarded (by me too) rather snobbish, and while I don't think I give out a snobbish image, I have always had problems with looking inadvertently highbrow and even arrogant, and thus have always actively tried to avoid foreign language words that are not established loanwords. But these days most of my reading is in English (it always was, but switching from tech to social sciences these words started to leak into casual conversations), and quite often I just can't help because I can't retrieve the Turkish word for some things, and say it in whatever language with an apologetic face. Then I breach for the reactions...

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      You brace yourself for the reactions. FYI.

      Then I breach for the reactions...

      You brace yourself for the reactions. FYI.

      3 votes
  6. [12]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    The misuse of "literally" is one of my biggest pet peeves. "Oh my god, I am literally dying right now!" No you're not, dear.

    The misuse of "literally" is one of my biggest pet peeves. "Oh my god, I am literally dying right now!" No you're not, dear.

    8 votes
    1. [9]
      iiv
      Link Parent
      And my pet peeve is the idea that using "literally" as emphasis is wrong. Literally every dictionary includes a definition for "literally" similar to "Used for emphasis while not being literally...

      And my pet peeve is the idea that using "literally" as emphasis is wrong. Literally every dictionary includes a definition for "literally" similar to "Used for emphasis while not being literally true".

      9 votes
      1. [8]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Remember that dictionaries describe usage, rather than proscribe it. If we all started using "cat" to refer to birds, a future dictionary would include the definition "flying winged avian" under...

        Remember that dictionaries describe usage, rather than proscribe it. If we all started using "cat" to refer to birds, a future dictionary would include the definition "flying winged avian" under "cat". That doesn't make it right, just commonly used.

        4 votes
        1. [6]
          iiv
          Link Parent
          If everyone started using "cat" to refer to birds it would be right.

          If we all started using "cat" to refer to birds, a future dictionary would include the definition "flying winged avian" under "cat". That doesn't make it right, just commonly used.

          If everyone started using "cat" to refer to birds it would be right.

          11 votes
          1. [5]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I tend more to descriptivism than prescriptivism, but I believe there are still limits. If we start using the same word to refer to two different types of animal, it would lead to confusion. "Look...

            I tend more to descriptivism than prescriptivism, but I believe there are still limits. If we start using the same word to refer to two different types of animal, it would lead to confusion. "Look at the cat chasing the cat!" If we start using two different words to refer to the same type of animal, it would also lead to confusion. "Birds lay eggs. Cats make nests." Language has to have some degree of predictability and consistency in order for it to perform its task of communicating concepts.

            Also, there are lines beyond which language can no longer do its job. The best example that comes to my mind is the phrase "could care less". This phrase is exactly contradictory to its intended meaning, and there is also a phrase which does convey the intended meaning: "could not care less". When you're describing a situation where someone's interest is at its lowest possible level, they could not care less. To say they could care less is to say that their interest is not yet at its lowest possible level, which is to contradict your intended message.

            There are limits to how much we can twist language and still expect it to do its job. Labelling birds as "cats" would be beyond those limits. Maybe "right" and "wrong" aren't the best words to describe that situation, but there are still some underlying rules of, and requirements to, language, which are not best served by changing a word's meaning so drastically.

            Paging @apoctr, rather than copy-pasting this comment.

            7 votes
            1. [3]
              iiv
              Link Parent
              I agree, but I also think language will have that predictability naturally. People using "cat" as a synonym for "bird" won't happen because that is too confusing. Your example of "could care less"...

              Language has to have some degree of predictability and consistency in order for it to perform its task of communicating concepts.

              I agree, but I also think language will have that predictability naturally. People using "cat" as a synonym for "bird" won't happen because that is too confusing.

              Your example of "could care less" is interesting since it has a semantically correct version, "could not care less". But I still think "could care less" is right (even though I don't say it myself). There are plenty of idioms that make no sense. This article by Arika Okrent, though it is popsci, is an interesting read.

              There are limits to how much we can twist language and still expect it to do its job. Labelling birds as "cats" would be beyond those limits.

              Yes, I totally agree. But I think it's impossible to break those limits, at least by natural language evolution. We would have to be in some kind of 1984 situation where Big Brother wanted to have some fun. Otherwise "cat" will always have a separate meaning from "bird".

              4 votes
              1. [2]
                Thales
                Link Parent
                Generally, but not always. I'm largely open to experimentation with linguistic conventions and artistic-license, but there are certain cases where I think a line really ought to be drawn....

                I agree, but I also think language will have that predictability naturally. People using "cat" as a synonym for "bird" won't happen because that is too confusing.

                Generally, but not always.

                I'm largely open to experimentation with linguistic conventions and artistic-license, but there are certain cases where I think a line really ought to be drawn.

                'Literally' is the probably the most infamous example.

                "The wait-time to get in the theatre is literally an hour long." Hold on -- is the wait literally an hour or figuratively an hour? Because I'm willing to wait 30 minutes, but an hour is too long.


                Another example, one I often see on sports message forums (for some reason).

                "I'm weary of acquiring expensive players through unrestricted free agency."

                ... Are you tired of it, because your team has acquired several in the past and it's been a point of contention for you? Or are you wary about it, because you've seen the damage it's inflicted on other franchises?


                One more example: have you ever tried to read a sentence entirely devoid of punctuation as much as i respect cormac mccarthy as an artist and prose stylist his aversion to quotation marks commas and a few other pieces of punctuation makes his work occasionally difficult to parse with time ive grown accustomed to it but i think i would enjoy his work more were he to be a little less dogmatic about orthography


                Overall, I think it's great that society is largely open to experimenting with language and accept alternative pronunciations, orthography, figures of speech, etc.

                But language is ultimately a tool designed to express information to other people, and we've developed linguistic conventions, grammatical systems, and other frameworks to enhance our ability to communicate clearly and concisely with one another.

                It's absolutely fine (and potentially fun!) to experiment with this tool to see how it can be modified to produce interesting effects. But when that experimentation begins to impair the tool's ability to function for its original purpose, I think it's completely tenable to advocate for a more prescriptive approach in some cases.

                4 votes
                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Just to prove your point: I had to slow down when reading your unpunctuated passage, to be able to parse it.

                  have you ever tried to read a sentence entirely devoid of punctuation

                  Just to prove your point: I had to slow down when reading your unpunctuated passage, to be able to parse it.

            2. Askme_about_penguins
              Link Parent
              This is exactly how I feel towards this issue. But I've never been able to express it so efficiently. Thank you.

              This is exactly how I feel towards this issue. But I've never been able to express it so efficiently. Thank you.

        2. apoctr
          Link Parent
          What does make a definition of a word 'right', if not usage?

          That doesn't make it right, just commonly used.

          What does make a definition of a word 'right', if not usage?

          2 votes
    2. [2]
      BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      I suppose it depends on how long a view we take on the statement. You might argue that to be alive is to be in the process of dying.

      I suppose it depends on how long a view we take on the statement. You might argue that to be alive is to be in the process of dying.

  7. [3]
    pamymaf
    Link
    I used to say "Awesome" all the time while working as tech support on the phone. While it was usually once or twice for each customer, my coworkers heard it constantly. Luckily I was able to break...

    I used to say "Awesome" all the time while working as tech support on the phone. While it was usually once or twice for each customer, my coworkers heard it constantly. Luckily I was able to break the habit after it was pointed out.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      determinism
      Link Parent
      I have a coworker who terminates every instructive interaction with "Beautiful, awesome" after he gets an affirmation.

      I have a coworker who terminates every instructive interaction with "Beautiful, awesome" after he gets an affirmation.

      1 vote
      1. Neverland
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I was once running(not the owner of) a small business where everyone was older than myself, but I was in charge. There was one sales guy who ended every sales call with “good enough.” It drove me...

        I was once running(not the owner of) a small business where everyone was older than myself, but I was in charge. There was one sales guy who ended every sales call with “good enough.” It drove me crazy. But he was older, all sales calls were incoming, and we made a lot of money. I never did confront him about that.

        We were selling high end vacation rentals in the Florida Keys. Good enough? It’s amazing down there, sell the dream dammit!

        Edit: clarity

  8. [12]
    balooga
    Link
    YouTubers starting every video with that same glib "Hey guys!" Saying "different than" instead of "different from" Using plural pronouns to refer to an individual (I know this is a hot-button...
    • YouTubers starting every video with that same glib "Hey guys!"
    • Saying "different than" instead of "different from"
    • Using plural pronouns to refer to an individual (I know this is a hot-button issue these days — I'm not trying to offend, merely remarking on the ambiguity of that construct in certain contexts)
    • I'm really getting tired of the tech sector's arcane numeronyms like "i18n" and "a11y"
    5 votes
    1. [8]
      clerical_terrors
      Link Parent
      Singular 'they' is correct usage even removed from any political considerations, fight me.

      Singular 'they' is correct usage even removed from any political considerations, fight me.

      14 votes
      1. [7]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The singular "they" has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years, as far back as Geoffrey Chaucer, and later by Shakespeare. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me! Mind you, we...

        The singular "they" has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years, as far back as Geoffrey Chaucer, and later by Shakespeare. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me!

        Mind you, we Aussies have been using the singular "they" comfortably and casually for a few decades now. It's normal here.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          BuckeyeSundae
          Link Parent
          But what about the Kiwis! Won't anyone think of the Kiwis!

          But what about the Kiwis! Won't anyone think of the Kiwis!

          1 vote
          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            No. Why would they? :)

            Won't anyone think of the Kiwis!

            No. Why would they? :)

            2 votes
        2. [2]
          clerical_terrors
          Link Parent
          I can understand criticism of it being somewhat confusing depending on the context. But it is my belief that is more of an overall issue on the phrasing itself, and not inherent to the use of the...

          I can understand criticism of it being somewhat confusing depending on the context. But it is my belief that is more of an overall issue on the phrasing itself, and not inherent to the use of the singular "they".

          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I beg to disagree. I have been in some rip-roaring, bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-death arguments with some people on the internet who insist that "they" is a plural pronoun, has always been a plural...

            But it is my belief that is more of an overall issue on the phrasing itself, and not inherent to the use of the singular "they".

            I beg to disagree. I have been in some rip-roaring, bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-death arguments with some people on the internet who insist that "they" is a plural pronoun, has always been a plural pronoun, and should never ever ever ever ever be used to refer to a single person under any circumstances whatsoever, and that using "they" to refer to a single person is yet another sign of the ongoing fall of western civilisation itself.

            The grammatical prescriptivists of the 19th century have a lot to answer for.

            4 votes
        3. [2]
          MacDolanFarms
          Link Parent
          I use singular they quite a bit, and I've never had anyone ask about it as far as I can remember. However I would really appreciate a singular third-person pronoun whose plurality doesn't depend...

          I use singular they quite a bit, and I've never had anyone ask about it as far as I can remember. However I would really appreciate a singular third-person pronoun whose plurality doesn't depend on context; "they" can get confusing when there are multiple groups involved. It's the best option I know of, but do we have any other options?

          1. Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            There are no existing options. Some people are trying to use new singular non-gendered pronouns, such as "ze", "zhe", "xe", and others, but these haven't taken off because there's already a...

            There are no existing options. Some people are trying to use new singular non-gendered pronouns, such as "ze", "zhe", "xe", and others, but these haven't taken off because there's already a pronoun to do this job: the singular "they". We English speakers generally don't like to use a new word when we can re-purpose an existing one.

            5 votes
    2. [3]
      apoctr
      Link Parent
      ... "i18n" means internationalisation? What the fuck.

      ... "i18n" means internationalisation? What the fuck.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The word "internationalisation" contains 20 letters in total. That means there are 18 letters between the initial "i" and the final "n". "i18n" therefore means "i" + "18 letters" + "n". It was...

        The word "internationalisation" contains 20 letters in total. That means there are 18 letters between the initial "i" and the final "n". "i18n" therefore means "i" + "18 letters" + "n". It was invented by computer developers.

        3 votes
        1. edward
          Link Parent
          It also avoids the issue of internationalizing the word itself, i.e. internationalization vs. internationalisation.

          It also avoids the issue of internationalizing the word itself, i.e. internationalization vs. internationalisation.

          2 votes
  9. [7]
    EightRoundsRapid
    Link
    I get very annoyed by people who say "off of". There is absolutely no need to add the "of". And seeing "cliché" when "clichéd" is what's meant. The same goes for saying "bias" when "biased" should...

    I get very annoyed by people who say "off of". There is absolutely no need to add the "of".

    And seeing "cliché" when "clichéd" is what's meant. The same goes for saying "bias" when "biased" should be used. And saying "ouster" when it's clear "ousted" is the correct word to use. It's like saying employee when you mean employer.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I've noticed that my local newspaper has been using "ouster" quite a lot lately, where I expected "ousting" would be more appropriate: "the ouster of Prime Minister Turnbull", "the ouster of ABC...

      And saying "ouster" when it's clear "ousted" is the correct word to use.

      I've noticed that my local newspaper has been using "ouster" quite a lot lately, where I expected "ousting" would be more appropriate: "the ouster of Prime Minister Turnbull", "the ouster of ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie". It confused me, so I looked it up. It seems that "ouster" is now the noun version of "oust": when someone is ousted from their position, an ouster has occurred.

      4 votes
      1. EightRoundsRapid
        Link Parent
        Not in this house. Not now, not ever. This is a good, grammar fearing house, and that's how things are going to remain.

        It seems that "ouster" is now the noun version of "oust": when someone is ousted from their position, an ouster has occurred.

        Not in this house. Not now, not ever. This is a good, grammar fearing house, and that's how things are going to remain.

        3 votes
    2. apoctr
      Link Parent
      Ah, I'm pretty guilty of that. It just sounds wrong without the extra of, grammar be damned!

      I get very annoyed by people who say "off of". There is absolutely no need to add the "of".

      Ah, I'm pretty guilty of that. It just sounds wrong without the extra of, grammar be damned!

      2 votes
    3. stephen
      Link Parent
      So like for example....?

      And saying "ouster" when it's clear "ousted" is the correct word to use.

      So like for example....?

      1 vote
    4. balooga
      Link Parent
      Similarly, people often describe others as "prejudice" instead of "prejudiced." Pet peeve of mine.

      The same goes for saying "bias" when "biased" should be used.

      Similarly, people often describe others as "prejudice" instead of "prejudiced." Pet peeve of mine.

      1 vote
  10. BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    This probably follows a similar sort of gripes that @earlgreytea has, but I think it's really obnoxious when people are unclear with the definitions of the words they're using (in that I literally...

    This probably follows a similar sort of gripes that @earlgreytea has, but I think it's really obnoxious when people are unclear with the definitions of the words they're using (in that I literally don't understand what they mean) and then when I ask them what they mean they just blindly refer to the dictionary like I was trying to play a gotcha with their diction. When I'm talking to someone about an argument they're making, I want to know how they're using that word as the people making the argument. The expert's attempt to generalize a word's usage does not interest me, so I am a little liable to get salty when people smack me with the dictionary entry as though I didn't know how to google.

    I know how to google. That wasn't the problem. Words have all sorts of nuance to them that the dictionary doesn't always handle very well, and I wanted to understand the way you were using this important term, hypothetical person I was interacting with. pls.

    4 votes
  11. [9]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    Does vocal fry count? Surprised nobody had mentioned that. I have a co-worker who does it and our customers complain that she's being condescending when I really don't think she means to be.

    Does vocal fry count? Surprised nobody had mentioned that. I have a co-worker who does it and our customers complain that she's being condescending when I really don't think she means to be.

    4 votes
    1. Zeerph
      Link Parent
      Not surprisingly, most people only care when women do it, seems that it's "OK" for men to do it. This should tell us something.

      Not surprisingly, most people only care when women do it, seems that it's "OK" for men to do it. This should tell us something.

      3 votes
    2. [7]
      wise
      Link Parent
      Wait, how does someone jump from vocal fry to condescending? Do you mean the vocal fry register (like croaking)? Or is vocal fry something different? I'm really confused.

      Wait, how does someone jump from vocal fry to condescending? Do you mean the vocal fry register (like croaking)? Or is vocal fry something different? I'm really confused.

      1. [6]
        Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        It's when someone raises their voice at the end of a statement the same way they would if they were asking a question. In my co-workers case, it makes an explanation sound condescending, like why...

        It's when someone raises their voice at the end of a statement the same way they would if they were asking a question. In my co-workers case, it makes an explanation sound condescending, like why didn't you know this?

        1. [4]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          That's not vocal fry. Vocal fry is when someone growls while they're speaking (although it's usually at the end of their sentence, like the habit you're describing). Here are a couple of videos...

          It's when someone raises their voice at the end of a statement the same way they would if they were asking a question.

          That's not vocal fry. Vocal fry is when someone growls while they're speaking (although it's usually at the end of their sentence, like the habit you're describing). Here are a couple of videos about it:

          What you're talking about is almost the opposite of vocal fry: vocal fry is when the voice goes down a register; an upward inflection is when the voice goes up a register. And, yes, it sounds like they're asking a question. It's what I wrote about in this comment. To me, it sounds the opposite of condescending: it sounds insecure. Rather than sounding like someone talking down to me, it sounds like someone seeking my affirmation the whole time: "Can you understand me?; "Am I making sense?".

          Paging @wise.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            gibby
            Link Parent
            I would agree. The only time I ever notice my vocal fry is if i'm nervous for whatever reason and am having trouble speaking from the chest. Its involuntary when it happens to me, I'd imagine...

            To me, it sounds the opposite of condescending: it sounds insecure.

            I would agree. The only time I ever notice my vocal fry is if i'm nervous for whatever reason and am having trouble speaking from the chest.

            Its involuntary when it happens to me, I'd imagine others are similar.

            1. [2]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I'm not talking about vocal fry when I refer to speech sounding insecure; I'm referring to the upward-rising inflection some people put at the end of their sentences which makes those sentences...

              I'm not talking about vocal fry when I refer to speech sounding insecure; I'm referring to the upward-rising inflection some people put at the end of their sentences which makes those sentences sound like a question.

              Vocal fry is something different: it's where people "growl" towards the end of their sentences. That does not sound insecure to me; that's not what I was referring to.

              1 vote
              1. tomf
                Link Parent
                The technical term is 'high-rising terminal / upspeak' This American Life did a short piece on vocal fry. Introducing someone to vocal fry is almost as bad as teaching someone about proper kerning.

                The technical term is 'high-rising terminal / upspeak'

                This American Life did a short piece on vocal fry. Introducing someone to vocal fry is almost as bad as teaching someone about proper kerning.

                1 vote
  12. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Another habit I hate is some Australians' habit of ending their sentences with an upward inflection. It makes everything sound like a question. It's like they're constantly seeking affirmation:...

    Another habit I hate is some Australians' habit of ending their sentences with an upward inflection. It makes everything sound like a question.

    "I went to the shop? And I bought some milk? Then I came home?"

    It's like they're constantly seeking affirmation: "You know what a shop is, right? I mean... I don't have to explain that bit? You're following the story, yeah? And you know about buying stuff? And what milk is?" Yes, I know what a bloody shop is!

    3 votes
  13. SleepyGary
    Link
    My wife and her family call anything remarkable, "special", which is not to say incorrect, but they all say it, often multiple times in the same conversation. "Oh when that plane flew just a few...

    My wife and her family call anything remarkable, "special", which is not to say incorrect, but they all say it, often multiple times in the same conversation. "Oh when that plane flew just a few feet off the ground? That was special." "Yea, that was special" "MMhhmm that was my favourite part, it was really special."

    One of our friends says "oh absolutely" as an affirmative to everything. "You got my back right?" "Oh absolutely!" "Can you watch our dog this weekend?" "Oh absolutely" "Can you hand me the salt" "Oh absolutely"

    I guess my peeve summed up would be people repeating the same phrase or word. Also my wife pronounces celery, "salary".

    2 votes
  14. [8]
    tildez
    Link
    The way that it is now accepted to use verbs as nouns. I read a piece a while back stating that it started in management circles sometime in the 80s. For example: “Ask” in place of “request”...

    The way that it is now accepted to use verbs as nouns. I read a piece a while back stating that it started in management circles sometime in the 80s.

    For example:

    • “Ask” in place of “request”
      That’s a pretty big ask.

    • “spend” / “cost” or “charges”
      This has become very common in the tech world for billing statements.

    • “solve” / “solution”
      What is the solve for this problem?

    I’m not even close to a grammar snob but just pop my eardrums pls.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Now? Now? :) When you give someone a reward, when you go for a run or a hike or take a walk or a stroll, when you give a talk, when you catch a drip from a tap, when you take a fall, when you see...

      The way that it is now accepted to use verbs as nouns.

      Now? Now? :)

      When you give someone a reward, when you go for a run or a hike or take a walk or a stroll, when you give a talk, when you catch a drip from a tap, when you take a fall, when you see a glow ... you're using verbs as nouns. You just don't notice because the noun version of the verb was created before you were born. You're only noticing these new nouns because they're happening in your lifetime.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        tildez
        Link Parent
        I'm entitled to become an old grump whenever I choose!

        I'm entitled to become an old grump whenever I choose!

        3 votes
    2. [4]
      BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      Yep, I'm totally guilty of that. I blame political organizing. We were always trained to pitch our requests to people as "Asks." "How good is your volunteer ask?"

      “Ask” in place of “request”
      That’s a pretty big ask.

      Yep, I'm totally guilty of that. I blame political organizing. We were always trained to pitch our requests to people as "Asks." "How good is your volunteer ask?"

      2 votes
      1. [3]
        tildez
        Link Parent
        That’s so funny. When I read: My brain has to parse it out and decide if it’s even a real sentence or not.

        That’s so funny. When I read:

        How good is your volunteer ask?

        My brain has to parse it out and decide if it’s even a real sentence or not.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          BuckeyeSundae
          Link Parent
          "I have several volunteer opportunities coming up with election day less than 38 days away. Would you like to come help call potential volunteers on Thursday or Saturday?" "Damn dude, nice ask! I...

          "I have several volunteer opportunities coming up with election day less than 38 days away. Would you like to come help call potential volunteers on Thursday or Saturday?"

          "Damn dude, nice ask! I can think of one solve for a challenge your ask faces. You aren't nailing volunteers down to a specific time."

          2 votes
          1. clem
            Link Parent
            Ugh. If I didn't respect the labelling system, I'd label this as malicious.

            Ugh. If I didn't respect the labelling system, I'd label this as malicious.

            1 vote
  15. [3]
    TheJorro
    Link
    I hate the word "utilize". There is simply no reason for it when "use" exists.

    I hate the word "utilize". There is simply no reason for it when "use" exists.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Whom
      Link Parent
      When you've utilized "use" too many times :)

      When you've utilized "use" too many times :)

      4 votes
  16. Zeerph
    Link
    The thing I can't stand is peeving about the differences between your language use and someone else's. Language differences ought to be embraced, not stamped out because they are slightly...

    The thing I can't stand is peeving about the differences between your language use and someone else's. Language differences ought to be embraced, not stamped out because they are slightly different from what the listener is used to. It is not the end of the world, or the language, if someone's idiolect has some features different from your own.

    I find it patently absurd to get upset that someone has a non-identical use of language. The sheer variety of ways to say the same thing makes language interesting, not something to be hammered down and made to fit into your particular paradigm of what is and is not acceptable.

    Quite frankly I find it odd that we, as supremely adaptable creatures, find it difficult to just ignore a few differences and get on with the communicating part of language. Somehow, I thought that was the goal.

    2 votes
  17. [7]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    In every most occasions, the linguistic purism of my peers bothers me a lot more than anything else in that regard.

    In every most occasions, the linguistic purism of my peers bothers me a lot more than anything else in that regard.

    2 votes
    1. [6]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      So... if linguistic purism bothers you... you probably don't want to be told that the phrase is "on every occasion"... ;)

      So... if linguistic purism bothers you... you probably don't want to be told that the phrase is "on every occasion"... ;)

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        I actually have no problem with that, especially because this is not my first language and I appreciate all the help! ;) Also: what you did was correcting a mistake in a context in which it would...

        I actually have no problem with that, especially because this is not my first language and I appreciate all the help! ;)

        Also: what you did was correcting a mistake in a context in which it would be probably useful. Purism, I think, is when the correction is inconvenient, silly, pedantic etc.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          I figured that. People using English as a second language make different mistakes than native speakers. I can usually tell the difference.

          this is not my first language

          I figured that. People using English as a second language make different mistakes than native speakers. I can usually tell the difference.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            mrbig
            Link Parent
            Yeah... the on/in distinction doesn't make sense to me at all, for example.

            Yeah... the on/in distinction doesn't make sense to me at all, for example.

            1. Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I'm aware of the distinction, but I'm not sure I'd be able to explain it. It's just a matter of having seen and heard the phrase "on every/this/each occasion" hundreds of times, and absorbing it...

              I'm aware of the distinction, but I'm not sure I'd be able to explain it. It's just a matter of having seen and heard the phrase "on every/this/each occasion" hundreds of times, and absorbing it as the correct version.

              2 votes
          2. bhrgunatha
            Link Parent
            Prepositions are a always dead giveaway because they're so illogical and inconsistent.

            Prepositions are a always dead giveaway because they're so illogical and inconsistent.

  18. Askme_about_penguins
    Link
    I hate the now extremely prevalent use of babytalk. Especially regarding animals. “sneks”, “danger noodles”, “doggos” (which is such an ugly word per se), “puppers”, “spooktember”, “spooktober”,...

    I hate the now extremely prevalent use of babytalk. Especially regarding animals. “sneks”, “danger noodles”, “doggos” (which is such an ugly word per se), “puppers”, “spooktember”, “spooktober”, “hooman”, “longboyes”. It all sounds grating to my ears and I heavily rely on RES to filter that shit out of my Reddit homepage.

    Also, the prevalence of emojis and the ones that start to get heavily use just as a trend. Most recently, the “shrug” emoji.

    Plus memes, most memes get extremely annoying after a short while. Like the m'lady meme and its variations.

    And people talking in a serious, standard, almost-scientific-at-times manner about sex, but using vulgarisms. Extremely irksome, too.

    2 votes
  19. ProfessorRiffs
    Link
    A woman at my work says "I love that..." in response to any story told to her, even though her inflection makes it clear that she doesn't care or perhaps wasn't even really paying attention....

    A woman at my work says "I love that..." in response to any story told to her, even though her inflection makes it clear that she doesn't care or perhaps wasn't even really paying attention. Drives me insane.

    1 vote
  20. [3]
    vegetablesupercargo
    Link
    There are two phrases that drive me crazy, because they're weaselly ways of not saying anything. "Just saying". For example, "The original Ghostbusters was better than the new one with all the...

    There are two phrases that drive me crazy, because they're weaselly ways of not saying anything.

    1. "Just saying". For example, "The original Ghostbusters was better than the new one with all the women, just saying". If you had any conviction or worth as a human being, you could say exactly the same opinion (minus the "just saying") and defend it. Instead, people use "just saying" as a way of saying "everybody needs to hear my opinion, but nobody is allowed to question me about it". If anyone uses the "just saying" on you, try arguing with them. Even the mildest "I don't agree with that" is enough to set them off. "Look, I'm just saying! I'm not saying I'm right. I'm just saying!". There are few crimes against humanity more serious than saying something only for the sake of saying something.
    2. "Not a good look" (and similar generic insults). Obviously it means "bad" or "worthy of negative judgment", but it's typically used by people who don't have the fortitude or intellectual precision to specify and defend why it's bad. "All the executives being men is not a good look". Is it a problem? If it's a problem, just say it's a problem. Then we can have a conversation. If it's not, shut your fucking mouth. Don't vaguely insinuate that it's vaguely bad and waste everyone's time filling up the air with your non-information-containing weaselly exhalations.
    1 vote
    1. Batcow
      Link Parent
      I agree with you on 1 but disagree on 2. "Not a good look" has an actual useful meaning, it can be used to indicate that while something isn't necessarily a problem, it comes off looking bad.

      I agree with you on 1 but disagree on 2. "Not a good look" has an actual useful meaning, it can be used to indicate that while something isn't necessarily a problem, it comes off looking bad.

      2 votes
    2. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I used "not a good look" only this week. I was pointing out some behaviour that I, personally, wasn't concerned about, but which reflected badly on the organisation allowing it. Given this...

      I used "not a good look" only this week. I was pointing out some behaviour that I, personally, wasn't concerned about, but which reflected badly on the organisation allowing it. Given this organisation's statements about what behaviour it permitted and didn't permit, it was problematic that this behaviour had happened. I used "not a good look" to point out that, as well as the behaviour itself being problematic, the perception of the response to that behaviour also matters: by not doing anything about this behaviour, the organisation was being seen to implicitly contradict its own policies. The policies were good but, as the saying goes, justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. If people see you saying one thing and doing another, that perception influences how they think about you.

      1 vote
  21. Crocodile
    Link
    The god forsaken "Official Language." You know the stuff that the law, contracts, signs, and permits are written in. And some times they try to sound so "official" that it doesn't say the ring it...

    The god forsaken "Official Language." You know the stuff that the law, contracts, signs, and permits are written in. And some times they try to sound so "official" that it doesn't say the ring it should say. For example "This permit shall be posted on the conveyance." You could make legitimate argument that if you don't put the elevator permit up, the language just says shall.

    1 vote