I'll admit it: when it comes to language, I can be a bit prickly. I'm one of those people who sees someone use "your" when they mean "you're" and has something of an internal freak-out about it. But lately, the problem seems to be niggling at me more than ever. People keep saying things - in person, online or over the phone - and my brain starts to make a worrying hissing noise, like a kettle ready to boil.
I will also admit that I'm well aware of how petty it is to be wound up by something so trivial, when there are far bigger, more important things going on in the world. That's why I've decided to round up some of my most hated expressions and write about them here, in the hope of somehow exorcising myself. You never know. It might work...
Current number one on my list of language grievances...
A couple of months ago, I finally decided to join Tumblr (for totally non-Dan-and-Phil-related reasons...). Since then, I've really enjoyed using the site. I've chatted to lots of people, discovered funny things and generally become a fan. But there is one incredibly irritating thing that I see what feels like at least nine billion times a day on that website and it's the following overreaction:
Person 1: *posts selfie*
Person 2: OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SO CUTE!!!! I'M CRYING!!!! HOW ARE YOU SO BEAUTIFUL?! I AM SCREAMING.
Are you? Are you really? Or are you just saying it, because apparently simply telling the person they look nice is NOT DRAMATIC ENOUGH???!!!
Yes, yes, I know. A lot of Tumblr users are, like, thirteen or whatever. But that's barely an excuse. When I was thirteen, I didn't phone my friends' houses and go: "What did you have for tea? Burgers?! HOLY CRAP, I AM CRYING."
And yes, I would much rather teenagers were building each other up and fostering body confidence in one another, than they were putting one another down. But it's totally possible to make someone feel good about themselves without dramatically declaring that a person's selfie has literally left you screaming. Oh, sorry, SCREAMING. Mustn't forget the all-important caps lock.
Seriously, unless you're genuinely crying a river, or screeching until you've gone hoarse, just don't say it. And if a random person's selfie actually does leave you screaming your head off, maybe step away from the Internet for a while...
Pictured: Apparently all of the world's teenagers.
And whilst we're on the subject of phrases that are massively overused online...
"I can't even."
I'm guilty of using this one. I totally get it; you use it when something is so awful/amazing/shocking that you can't even form a response to it. In a strange way, it kind of makes sense. But the phrase is so over-used, it's becoming infuriating. Plus, it only really works as an expression when something is really major and worthy of a semi-speechless reaction. We've now reached the point where people are just using it to end an average sentence: "There's no chocolate in the house and I can't even." You can't even what? Make a delicious chocolate mousse? Get to the shops, because they're shut? Be arsed to finish that sentence?!
Worse still, people are starting to use it mid-sentence to describe (or rather, totally avoid describing) their feelings about something or someone. "Don't talk to me about my friend Dave. I can't even with him."
NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. That doesn't make any sense. It's time we put this annoying phrase to bed, because frankly, I can't even with it.
Again, I feel a bit bad, because a lot of young people use that expression and I don't want this to sound like I'm having a pop at teenagers. But that said...
Just stop it. That's not even a bloody word. My eyebrows are not on fleek. They're just groomed. This is real life, not Cruel Intentions.
When people use common expressions, but get them WRONG.
I read a really interesting article earlier, but I can't actually remember what it was about, because I reached a point where the writer used the expression "every once and a while" and after that, I took literally nothing in, because I was too busy seething "EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE." Is it really that hard??!!
Other completely wrong phrases that make my eyes sad include:
- "On route." No, you are en route. It might sound the same, but it's not spelt the same.
- "I could care less." This is basically an American thing, so I apologise to my American readers, but seriously... The whole point of this phrase is that you use it to show how little something bothers you. So if you're saying you could care less, then you're saying that you care more about this thing that you do about other stuff. The phrase you're looking for is "I COULDN'T care less." Think about it - it makes much more sense.
- "You've got another thing coming." No, you've got another think coming. That's why this phrase is usually used after "if you think you're getting away with this..." or something similar. It's a longer version of "think again."
- "Irregardless." Why are you making work for yourself? You don't need those two letters at the start, because the word you're looking for is "regardless." Otherwise it's a double negative, as well as a double irritation to my poor brain.
- "Yet alone." You mean "let alone," right? I know actual real-life people who say this and I love those people, but they are wrong and they are hurting my mind.
- "For all intensive purposes." Look, I know people online like to be intensely intense, but chill out, please. It's "for all intents and purposes."
AND MY MOST HATED WRONG PHRASE:
- "Should of/could of/would of." WHY DO YOU HATE ME???!!! It's should HAVE, could HAVE and would HAVE. And if that's just too much effort, add an apostrophe and say "should've," instead.
We're all over YOLO, right? we've all used it to death haven't we?! How do we send it back? Did anyone keep the receipt?
The word "rape" to describe ANYTHING but actual rape.
I'm currently binge-watching a heck of a lot of Buffy, so expect a blog on that soon...
We've all seen this, right? People playing computer games online and saying things like "Man, I just raped your ass, LOL" and so on? If you haven't, consider yourself lucky. And if you haven't seen it in that context, you've probably seen it on Facebook, as part of the charming phrase "frape" - i.e to "rape" someone's Facebook page by posting a status from their profile, as though they'd written it themselves. Hahahaaa, hilarious. Rape is so hysterically funny.
Oh, no, hang on... Rape's horrendous and we need a new word to joke around with, because using the term in any context other than to discuss the actual hideous crime is to trivialise it. And that is seriously not cool.
The use of words like "gay" or "retarded" when what you actually mean is "stupid" or "bad."
This goes hand-in-hand with the one above, really. How is it acceptable to equate homosexuality or mental health issues with something being negative or silly? Unless you're a twelve year old, you have no excuse for groaning "oh, that's so gay" about anything you perceive as stupid. And if you are a twelve year old: NEWSFLASH! Stop doing it. We don't need any help creating a less tolerant, even more bigoted society and when we use words like these in the wrong context, that's all we're doing. So, stop being a part of the problem.
Deliberate miss-spelling of words!
So much Buffy, so little time...
Once upon a time, back in ye olden days, we didn't have iPhones and text messages could only contain a certain amount of characters (much like Twitter, only you couldn't message celebrities about what superpowers they'd like to gain). Because of this, people adapted language to create what is referred to by most people as "text speak." Or, as I like to call it "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WHY WON'T YOU WRITE PROPERLY?!"
Nowadays, aside from Twitter, there are few places with a character limit. So, why, in the name of all I hold dear, are people still writing on Facebook, or in text messages, things like: "Dis nu choclat bar is so gud. Gt sum if u can."
Okay, I will, Person-I-Just-Made-Up. And whilst I'm enjoying dis amazing chocolate, you can go back to school and re-learn how to communicate like an adult human.
Okay, I think I've got everything off my chest, now. I promise, I care very much about the big, important stuff in the world, too. It's just that these little things niggle at me like the underwire of a bra that's popped out of the fabric and is digging into the side of my boob.
DON'T BE THE WIRE THAT DIGS INTO MY BOOB, PEOPLE.
Until we meet again, everyone... I'm off to be less ranty. BYE!