Since I work with words in the English language every day, I am particularly sensitive to instances when I read or hear them being misused. In fact, sometimes it drives me crazy; especially when the perpetrator is someone who should know better such as a journalist, a writer, an academic, or a politician. (Okay, maybe my expectations for that last occupational group are a bit of a stretch!)
Nevertheless, just because you hear something on the radio or television, or you read it in a newspaper or magazine, doesn’t make it correct. This is especially true these days when journalists and writers copy and paste a good deal of their columns from facebook posts and twitter tweets. So what if Ozzie or Mabel, living goodness knows where, with goodness knows what education level, spouted their opinion on whatever subject online! Does that mean we should accept their grammar, phrasing and and/or spelling at face value? I don’t think so! Otherwise we would soon have total language anarchy.
Below I am listing about a dozen or so typical examples of “words” that I often see or hear that don’t qualify as correct or standard usage English grammar, regardless of who uses them.
Some people may remember George Bush’s famous quote “I’m the decider!”. It’s not a word folks!
He should have said “I make the decisions.”, or “I’m the one who decides”.
Slang term used to mean “more fun”. Poor form. Don’t use it!
Non-standard way to say “has impact”. Sounds too “jargony”. Avoid it.
Redundant “ir”; and not a word. Use “regardless”.
Not a word! Some people use it incorrectly when they mean “laptop”; a computer that fits on one’s “lap”.
Modern day slang contraction used online to mean “lots of”. Do not use in formal writing.
No such word. Someone decided, on their own, to turn the noun “mandate” into a verb.
Again we can thank George Bush for this non-word. While he was in office he consistently used this mispronunciation of the word “nuclear”. To this day, I often hear people pronounce it incorrectly.
Not a word. Use “participant”.
Non-word that is sometimes used incorrectly instead of “supposedly”.
Non-standard way to say “more stupid” or “dumber”. Avoid it.
Incorrect form of “undoubtedly”.
I DO UNDERSTAND that the English language is constantly growing and evolving. However, it’s not a total free-for-all out there folks! All I ask is that you at least wait until your “word” is listed as standard usage in major dictionaries before using it.
This is especially important if you want to be taken seriously in business or academic circles. You must be careful not to fall into the trap of using popular jargon just because you heard or saw someone else use it; especially when writing.
So, whenever you are about to use a particular word or term, and any doubt about it creeps into your mind, check it out first before using it. Nine times out of ten, when you check your dictionary or style manual, you will find that your initial gut feeling was right. Don’t embarrass yourself unnecessarily just because you didn’t check; especially in a professional situation.
IF YOU have any pet peeves about poor or incorrect word usage, please share those in the COMMENT BOX BELOW so I can add them to my list:
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