|Poor Grammar, Sophomoric* Statements and Stupid Thoughts
*sophomoric [sahf-MOR-ik] adjective: conceited and overconfident of knowledge but poorly informed and immature. From a combination of the Greek word "sophos" (meaning "wise") and "moros" (meaning "foolish").
[Source: Merriam-Webster Online]
While attending the University of Cincinnati, I began an unsanctioned college newsletter to help students on co-op assignments become aware of an unannounced – but seemingly inevitable – joining of two departments. In searching for reporters to prepare articles, I had a rude awakening: articles submitted with "you know" and "like" sprinkled throughout. I could not believe a college student wrote a sentence in that way let alone expected it to be published! How did that moron get into college?! President Obama does not have command of the English language as I'd hoped or led to believe and we made fun of President Bush, but too many of us make far greater faux pas every time they open their mouths to speak. Today, I am less shocked by misuse and error by professionals, but find it interesting (and therapeutic) to list a few of these . . . WORST MEDIA GRAMMARIANS in Denver, Colorado (TELEVISION) SELF-APPOINTED MEDIA GRAMMARIAN in Denver, Colorado (RADIO) MY TOP PICKS: GRRRRRRR! A change? / mispronunciation SHAME SHAME SHAME . . . and a man of his purported intellect. / sophomore mathematics POOR PHRASING
Television and radio are omnipresent. It is appalling that the media doesn't present English at its best. Apparently, the lowest common denominator is the basis and it is vital to know your target market. Pharmaceuticals are the absolute worst offenders. They have invented and used what I call medi-speach: grammar that ignores the rules. Rather than giving direct examples, simply watching ANY television advertisement from a drug maker provides ample examples! I make innumerable grammatical errors, but I am not a marketing professional or in the news media.
KDVR Fox 31. As evidenced by the many print and electronic media journalists in the United States, English proficiency is NOT a prerequisite for a journalism career. Nearly the entire news reporting and editorial staff fails in the use of American English. Actually, I'm not sure who passes* at this station – I’d be ecstatic to find someone. (BTW the use of "his" in this description is not a gender-specific use of the word. Another imposed changed in our language.)
Mike Rosen, 850KOA AM You may not agree with Mr. Rosen's politics or his "abrupt and curt dismissal" of callers that can cloud the message he is trying to convey, but his respect for grammar and word usage is generally commendable: With the notable exception of his pronunciation of some words such as "mathematics" and insisting on adding an "h" after the "s" in words that clearly were never intended to be pronounced this way! e.g. shtrange. Still, Rosen periodically DOES have guest grammarians. - see below as well.)
It seems like 1/2 the newscasters and even our President kept saying "in-aug-errr-ation." It is pronounced: innau-gyour-ation." President Obama is no better skilled in grammar than the Previous President. Hail the “chef!” (oops)
George Alexander "Alex" Trebek of the popular TV gameshow "Jeopardy" insists on pronouncing sophomore with the middle "o" distinctly pronounced (soph-O-more). It is correctly pronounced in the United States without the middle "o" (soph-more.) Of course, if he is still a British subject (Canadian), then his pronunciation is acceptable and can be overlooked. In that vein . . . he also pronounces mathematics as math-a-matics instead of the American pronunciation math-matics. Unfortunately, a lot of pseudo-cultured American nouveau-intellects pronounce these words as if they were a British subject. As with many grammatical aberrations, American psuedo-intellectuals in the United States have felt it elevates their societal standing to pronounce the "e." Actually, it simply demonstrates their lack of grammatical sophistication to those who are truly the intellectuals.
Does this redundancy sound familiar? Do advertising executives always target the lowest common denominator? Yup. ur concidert to have a pritty low IQ: sumwhar 'tween 80 and 90*, I spôz.
(*a ranking known as "Dull Normal")
While attending the University of Cincinnati, I began an unsanctioned college newsletter to help students on co-op assignments become aware of an unannounced – but seemingly inevitable – joining of two departments. In searching for reporters to prepare articles, I had a rude awakening: articles submitted with "you know" and "like" sprinkled throughout. I could not believe a college student wrote a sentence in that way let alone expected it to be published! How did that moron get into college?!
President Obama does not have command of the English language as I'd hoped or led to believe and we made fun of President Bush, but too many of us make far greater faux pas every time they open their mouths to speak. Today, I am less shocked by misuse and error by professionals, but find it interesting (and therapeutic) to list a few of these . . .
WORST MEDIA GRAMMARIANS in Denver, Colorado (TELEVISION)
SELF-APPOINTED MEDIA GRAMMARIAN in Denver, Colorado (RADIO)
MY TOP PICKS:
GRRRRRRR! A change? / mispronunciation
SHAME SHAME SHAME . . . and a man of his purported intellect. / sophomore mathematics
Quite the popular – albeit curious -- combination of “any” and “given.” It is all-the-rage with sports figures.
- ACCEPTABLE / "ASSEPTABLE . . ."
Cockney Jo Frost on the ABC reality TV show "Super Nanny" incessantly uses this word throughout the hour long program! Sure she's British; but gad, her favorite word* is (at least in Americanized English) pronounced "ak-sep-ta-bl." (*acceptable - gad)
- ACCESSABLE /
"If you can reach it, you may have it because I made it 'assessable' to you. "Similar problem: it is pronounced "ak-sess-eh-bl." (double gad)
- ACCURATE / NO TIME FOR THE CURE
"That boy is 'acrit' at foul shots."
Okay, this one is simple grammar gone awry. (Ak-cure-it or "accurate.")
- AMBULANCE / SOMEBODY'S GONNA GET HURT
"AM-BAH-LANCE." OR "AM-BLANCE." Two very common mispronunciations among non-linguistically inclined individuals. Again, another Latin derivative: from "ambulare." AM-bhyewl-ance.
I'm so tired of the psuedo-intelligencia mispronunciation of American English words: “diabeeteez?!” What about “Dolores” or “noses?”
- CABINET or CABINETRY
Another psuedo-intelligencia mispronunciation of American English words: the "i" is silent! This insistence on pronouncing every letter is happening with too many American English words. In the words artistically, logically, musically, romantically, stoically, the “a” is silent. How about words such as sophomore and mathematics?
- CAREENED / OR JUST FLAILING
Jeff Kingery who was with 850KOA AM radio in Denver, Colorado insisted on saying "karened" (as in the female name) instead of "careened" (as in to lurch or swerve while in motion) when broadcasting the Colorado Rockies baseball games. I can't help but believe he was been informed numerous times of this faux pas, but he continued this mispronunciation until he left announcing Rockies games.
/ TOO MANY COFFEE BEANS (espresso)
We in America truly base our pronunciation of word on words with which we are familiar. "Espresso" isn't part of Midwestern culture. So many of us want a fast hot drink we call "eX-press-O." Oh ,well.
- IMPORTANT / IMPOTENT
"Impord-ant." Well, this may be a regional thing -- in the Southern States. I don't understand why it isn't import-ant and easy to say this word correctly.
- LARYNX /
AS BARNEY FIFE WAS HEARD TO SAY . . .
"larnyx" (Layr-nix) instead of "larynx" (Layr-inks) It helps to get the "n" and "y" in the proper position.
- MANUFACTURED FOOD FOR THINKING BEFORE SPEAKING
"The part was 'mannafactured' in Belgium." Certainly, food can be made by hand . . . Duh. In the Book of Exodus manna is compared to coriander seed and described as fine, white, and flaky, with the taste of honey and wafer. However, the word most are intending to use is pronounced man-u-fac-teur-d. (Latin manu factura "making by hand"; from manus "hand" + factura "making", from facere "make".)
- MISCHIEVOUS /
THE DEVIL, YOU SAY . . .
Not "mis-cheeve-E-ous." Way too many people insist on adding and pronouncing an "e" before the "o." Mischievous mis-chiv- us
- OFTEN / OFF BY TEN
The "t" is silent. Oh, we can spell it, alright. We spell this word so well, that it influences the pronunciation: DON'T pronounce the [t]! An exception to the belief that spelling aids in pronunciation. (ofen)
- OLD GOLD
/ WELL THEN, GO TO "L"
"I have a 'Go-den' opportunity." or the TV newscaster favorite: "owed" instead of "old." It's something that can be unlearned, but has its roots in childhood mispronunciation from otherwise grammatically-proper people.
- PSYCHIATRY /
"HEAL THYSELF . . .DOCTOR"
Why did it happen that some educated people determined the preferred pronunciation of "Psychiatrists" (seye-ki-a-tryst) to be "sek-eye-a-trysts?" It's a derivative of the Greek goddess of the soul, "PSYKHE” (psyche) "sigh"-key), not the Middle English "sick." Oh, well. I'm somewhat a snob about Greek and Latin derivatives.
- SCHWARTZENEGGER /
It's Arnold "Schwarz-en-egger" not "Schwartz-nehger." Arnold may call his adopted State Khow-lee-forn-yuh, but most in the press corps don't even attempt to properly pronounce his name!
/ "HE IS A 'SUSSESSFUL' MORTGAGE
What in the world causes people to say this word without acknowledging the "hard C!" It doesn't require a degree in English to get this one right. "Suck-sess-full." You'd think this one would be easy. Maybe it's people who had early childhood experiences with a Super Nanny.
- SUGGESTION /
JUST A THOUGHT
"At his 'sugestion' [sic] (suh-jest-yun) I made the change." Just another example of ignorance: ignoring the repeated letter. For crying out loud . . ."Sug-jest-yun!"
- "SPOSED TO" or "SPOST TO"
Nearly all of us non-blue-breds have said this at one time or another. It's good 'ole slang for "supposed to."
- SUPPOSABLY* [SIC]
It sounds very wrong: But, thinking about it, I find I am able to suppose it . . . nah! What am I thinking? (*supposedly)
- TOUR / WITHOUT AN OAR IN THE WATER . . . (tour)
"We're taking a 'toar' of Europe." Where the hec did they come up with that?! It is a too-er. Perhaps some Gen-X's believed it made them sound more worldly or refined. whoops.
- TOURNAMENT /
JOUSTING WITH RIP TORN
"The 'tornament' was won by . . ." What was torn? hmmm. too-er-na-ment hence, tournament (See "tour" above, as well.)
- VICE VERSA / OR IS IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND?
Quite simply: it is "vice-ah-ver-sah" and "vice" not pronounced as we would think - as when referring to naughty play. Yes, it is meant to be pronounced via the Latin method of pronouncing every letter. After all: it is Latin.
- VINEGRETTE / "VINEGAR-ETTE." (A tad sour on the ear.)
Obviously not spoken by a true connoisseur. No "a" between the "g" and "r." (At least, tread lightly on the "a" sound.) Vinegrette, or more like the French: vinaigrette. (That's "vin-uh-GRET.") Certainly not "vin-ah-gar-eht." Etymology: 19c: French, from vinaigre (vinegar.)
- WASH / WOOOOSH!
"I'm gonna 'worsh' [sic] that word right out of my head." Okay: growing up in the Midwest . . . well, yes, I used to say it using the invisible "r." (now I say it more correctly as "wah-shh")
MISPRONUNCIATION / POOR SPELLING
- PRESCRIPTION vs. PERSCRIPTION
"The most widely sold 'perscription' medication on the market." Oh, my: You are, in fact, prescribed (emphasis on "pre") medication by a physician. However, this mispronunciation of prescription is as wide spread as the black death. . . . and this mispronunciation is "per" the drug manufacturers’ TV and radio advertising! Though, per the script . . .
MISUSE i.e. lack of understanding
- "THE TOWN WAS NEARLY DECIMATED"
How often (see #4) have you heard that used as a way to say people were nearly wiped out, when in fact, it means "one of every ten" people was eliminated. (From the Latin, decimare: "removal or destruction of one-tenth." See Online Etymology Dictionary) Now, if the town was annihilated . . .
- LESS IS NOT MORE
"Less" is incorrectly used more often the word "fewer." Generally, if you can put a number to it, "fewer" is the correct word: "I have 4 fewer monitors than last year." (i.e. You shouldn't say: "I have 4 less monitors than last year." Conversely, you should say, "I have less time than when I was younger," since saying "I have 10 fewer time than when I was younger" just doesn't make sense!) Trust me: In most cases the test works for using the word "less" or the word "fewer." Unfortunately, Americans are hooked on not using the word "fewer" in any sentence.
- "OFTEN TIMES . . ."
This is from the Office of Redundant Redundancies. Pick one. Not both: It is "often" or "at times." See the above item as well . . .
- "I'LL TRY AND [sic] FIND"
Heard that before? Trying to find is substantially different from finding. Perhaps some media darlings would have done better had they paid attention during English grammar classes rather than doodle on a notepad. They need to "try to find" the time to learn the basics of their craft. Marketing is communicating, but this is definitely to the lowest common denominator.
- V versus. VS.
Okay . . . this one really grates on me: "Rowe 'v' Wade." It used to be "Rowe vs. Wade," but the supposedly enlightened ones don't care about our Latin (as in Roman) jurisprudence linguistic roots. I come to a boil every time I here "versus" being shortened to "vee." ARGGGGH!
- ". . . AND THE ROCKETS' RED GLARE!"
What is wrong with the following sentence? The canons [sic] were firing one after another." Okay: I gave you a hint with the red letter. That's correct: the plural of "canon" is "canon."
- "THE HOUSE IS PERFECT FOR MY HUSBAND AND MYSELF"
Come on . . . admit it: Many people have no idea when to use me, myself or I. They often resort to incorrectly utilizing the word "myself" hoping to sound refined, appear intelligent, and avoid embarrassment. They truly believe they are correctly using the word! Fortunately, the house is perfect for her husband; himself.
Heard on the Discovery Channel: "The welding team are worried." When good people make a wrong grammatical turn, the result is a dismemberment and incorrect reassembly of the language. Which words go where?! "Team" or "group" refers to a unit or oneness and not a plurality. (The sum of a team or group is 1.) The same is true of "band" and "gang." When people or things are referred to as a unit - as is "the welding team," the correct statement is: "The welding team is worried."
- "HOW DO YOU SPELL THAT?" > mind trick
You wouldn't believe the number of times a clerk has asked me to spell my last name: Williams. It is the third most common surname in the United States. There are nearly 2 million of us, though we follow Smith and Johnson. A salesperson once remembered my name was common, although she called me "Mr. Smith." Then, there are those who insist on leaving out the "s." hmmmm.
- "IT IS SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE TO PICK ON THIS ONE . . ." > double negative
Regardless of your attitude, this one is in the dictionary: "irregardless." The "ir" doesn't mean or add a thing, but through usage, irregardless [sic] has been accepted as proper English: An example of how we begin to accept words rather than fight it.
- "I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE SEEN SUCH SMALL . . ." > stupid statement
It is odd to say: if it is not redundant, it is at least incorrectly structured. Either you have "never seen such small . . ." or "in your lifetime there have never been such small . . ." The point is, can you see anything that isn't during your lifetime? (That is . . . unless you share the same beliefs as Shirley MacLaine.)
- "IT IS ABUNDANTLY CLEAR . . ." > another irritatingly stupid statement
When this is said, it is rarely obvious or “clear” and an attempt to validate the statement that follows it. This is far too often used by Jay Carney (President Obama’s press secretary) and politicians in general. When said, it is a subtle attempt to justify an action or event that the speaker is uncertain his audience will accept as fact and very likely not entirely – if at all – true. It is wise to NEVER believe what is being said until independently verifying it: Just as you would after a salesman says “trust me. . .”
- THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SICK IN THE NIGHT > misconception
"Eating organic food is healthier because it doesn't contain chemicals." However, we live much longer now: even with chemicals in our food. (Of course, we get the benefit of salmonella and other bacteria with the organic food.) For this, and similar inconsistencies, see John Stossel's book, "Give me a break." Harper Collins - ISBN: 0060529148
- "STAR TREK"
In the past, when people wanted to make sure of my name (Kirk) and asked me for the spelling, I would say "As in Captain." That worked for many years until a sales clerk then questioned: "C?" More recently, people just assume they know the spelling and write down "Kurk." Where in the world is there anyone spelling that first name with a "u!" Maybe I should say "as in the Teutonic for church." Naw. Teutonic is “kirche,” for a church. While in Gaelic, it is a “cearcall,” a circle, the primitive places of worship among the Celts were round, a symbol of eternity, and the existence of the Supreme Being, without beginning or end. Source: Search for Ancestors.
- EMPATHY GONE AWRY
The text below is found in a widely distributed email and purported to be an editorial written by an American citizen and allegedly published in a Tampa newspaper (which one?). Other than the ruse of its origin, it is interesting and not all that stupid a thought.
"IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT"
I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America. Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.
This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Americans, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own life-style. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.
We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!
"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.
If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.
This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our life-style. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about our flag, our pledge, our national motto, or our way of life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great American freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE."
"Why poor grammar ain't so bad."
Article by BBC News Online's Ryan Dilley.
Want to see what Lake Superior State University says are its List of Banned Words for 2013? Check it out by CLICKING HERE.