Once Upon a Time English was a Lovely Language

picture courtesy of NY public library.org

Oh, for the love of all that is precious…why do I frequently find myself explaining the English language to those who should have learned to speak this language properly years ago?  Am I the only one who cares?

To me, hearing or reading butchered English is the same as hearing people running their (not “there” and not “they’re”) fingers down the side of a balloon or their nails down a chalkboard.  The use of poor English equates to driving a very large piece of pipe into the deepest part of my brain.  It hurts.  [Disclaimer: Please note that the often imperfect English used in my blog does not count as I frequently slip into the habit of conversational English – Blog English, or Blenglish — and that’s perfectly okay.  It is, afterall, my blog.  ‘Nuff said. ]

However, the misuse of English in many instances makes my head come close to imploding….for example:

The word is NUCLEAR and it is pronounced NU-klee-ar  not  NU-KU-LAR.  I recently heard this blatant mispronunciation of the word by someone who should know better.  To make matters worse, he said it not once, not twice, but THREE times in the course of a speech.  Ack Ack.

I truly don’t want to sound too harsh or critical here.  (Yes I do because this is one of my pet peeves.)  I realize some of this may be the result of  living in a particular area of the country, such as here in southwestern Ohio.  Dialects can be tricky all over the U.S.  and here in Ohio we have some interesting dialectal goodies.   I go completely insane when I am asked either of the following questions :  Where’s it at? or the equally mind-numbing, Where you at?  I respond with the desire to drive my own fingernails deeply into my eyeballs. 

I understand we tend to pick up the habits of speech of our environment.  That, however, does not excuse the following….

The other evening I was watching a well-known tv news show.  The anchor announced a bomb scare at Lourdes, France, and then proceeded to tell the audience, “This is especially difficult as today is the Feast of the Consumption.”  I am NOT making this up.  Apparently, Catholics all over the world are now celebrating poor folks who have passed on from tuberculosis with a feast day.  Feast of the Consumption….I am truly appalled.  But let’s continue, shall we?

Several evenings ago, while watching some historical tv show, (okay I admit…it was Pawn Stars) I witnessed the following.  An “expert” was discussing a carbine (think rifle-type gun) which he dated to the Civil War.  He claimed it was a weapon used by the CAL-va-ry.   Gasp!  This man is a Civil War historian, deals with museums, and he does not understand that the word is:  CAV-al-ry.  CAL-vary is the English name for the area outside Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified.  Hello?  Did anyone actually pass 8th grade English or ever participate in a history lesson??  Cavalry vs. Calvary — learn the difference please.  Don’t make me smack your hands with a ruler! (visions of parochial school – yikes!)  Pressing onward…

The word describing the accessories my dear friend Sueanne makes and sells is JEWEL-ry not JEWEL-LA-ry!  (The horror of it all!)  Sueanne – I think a Slaptini is in order here! 

Here’s one that always gets on my nerves.  When folks purchase a house they may engage the services of a professional who sells real estate for a living and that person is  a REAL-tor not a REAL-A-tor.  (Shivers!) 

Is it any wonder that the U.S. is ranked only 12th overall in college graduation ratings?  I have saved the very best for last.   A co-worker was discussing teaching her daughter how to do laundry and she said to her daughter that when putting items in the dryer:  “You should use you a Bounce.”  USE YOU???  I about fell out of my chair.  This is right up there with the time another co-worker told me “Dip you out some ice cream!”  DIP YOU OUT???  Yes, both these examples are dialectal, but I wanted to run screaming from the room each time. 

Sometimes, it is simply too much for me to take without letting you know how I feel.  Rest assured I will continue to share my pain with  my 12 faithful readers…in the meantime, “Use you some sense when you speak English or I may have to go all Nukular on your a$$es”…sigh…


17 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time English was a Lovely Language

  1. Ha. You, my mom and I would get along great! Or is it greatly? Oh boy… now I’m afraid to type. One of the Senior VPs of our company has used your instead of you’re twice in recent days. I didn’t have the courage to correct him, but seriously? The one that gets me is “Please call Karen or I if you have any questions.” (Another work example)
    Hi sweetie – thanks for stoppin by! Grates (greats lol) on you’re (ouch) nerves, eh? ROFL I have thousands of examples — I have been an editor for too long — glad to know I’m not alone in this! 😉

  2. Thanks for saying/writing what I have been thinking for years!
    Aha! So it makes you crazy too? Excellent…I’m not alone! Thanks for dropping in!

  3. I hear ya there sister. The verbage I detest is “these ones” or “those ones.” They are NOT talking about one dollar bills here, either. It would be so much easier if they realized they are adding unnecessary words. This one or that one is fine, but these and those stand alone without any help from any “ones” (snickering, here). Yikes! Makes me want to ask them, what school did you go to, What’s Amatta U? LOL
    We’re on same page here. I think instead of showing our driving licenses for ID we should have to show proof of basic education. LOL

  4. I agree with you, although I did have to stop and say out loud “cavalry” and “Calvary” to see if I pronounced “cavalry” correctly. But, of course, now I can’t really be sure if I was pronouncing it correctly or not. Luckily, “cavalry” does not come up in my conversation too often, unless I’m saying “Send in the Cavalry!!” However, a Civil War guy should definitely know how to pronounce the word!!
    Hi sweetie – YES a Civil War historian should know better. Heaven forbid we should all shout out Send in the Calvary and a bunch of sweaty Romans w/timber show up at the door. Ack Ack. I’m going back to mumbling now… rofl

  5. Hello, it’s Helen here Sandy’s friend. She is letting me have a go at blogging and leaving comments. Nice meeting you.
    Helen x
    Jumping up and down with delight!!! Hi Helen – it’s lovely meeting you too sweetie. I’m so glad u and Sandy found each other – what a joy that one is! Thanks for stopping by my humble blog. Visit any time – say hi to my fav Goth. xo

  6. Try critiquing a manuscript that is loaded with writing faux pas. It’s enough to drive you around the bend. Said manuscript was given to me to read and critique a few years ago. One chapter in and I was screaming in agony. I gave it back covered in red ink and with the recommendation that the person take a basic course in English. Dare I say he never asked me to look at his writing again? 😉
    For many years I was an editor for the government – people don’t take kindly to a “lowlife” contractor editing and correcting their revered work – I so understand the critiquing…believe me. Although I’d love a telecommuting editor gig these days – I’d be happy to critique manuscripts from home. sigh…

  7. I’m going to the Mall. You wanna come with? ROFLMAO! snort!
    Ack Ack – SLAP – with? WITH? That’s a hoot! You crack me up, sis!

  8. OhHhH oooo OoOOh! You forgot ‘all the sudden’. People ACTUALLY say ‘all the sudden there was this huge crash’… REALLY? All the sudden? Does that even make SENSE? Try all OF A sudden. Sheeshhhh. 😉 I’m totally with you on this. Makes my skin crawl. EEK! (I think I need to go somewhere quiet and calm myself now.)
    Yikes that is awful!!! All the sudden?! How about “Suddenly” instead? That works. These people are driving me insane — yes quiet and calm….quiet and calm…let’s both breathe deeply and now exhale – aw crap they still drive me nuts! lol Thanks for stopping by sweetie!

  9. i would suggest you stay far away from my hick town…i cant half understand them sometimes…lol.
    oh sweetie – it’s bad enough here, trust me. These people cannot speak proper English to save their lives. Or maybe it’s just the East Coast snob in me rearing her ugly head….nah I’m sticking with my first comment…the problem is others around me not being able to speak properly. rofl

  10. Ok calm down. Put down the chalk and step away from the blackboard.

    My biggest peeve is a pronoun problem. It’s not ‘just like you and I’ It’s ‘just like you and me’.
    The trouble is we don it long enough and they change the rules to accommodate. Then we’re the ones who are wrong. I found out a while back that ‘unique’ is no longer an absolute. One thing can be more unique than another. That’s just not right. Either it’s unique or it’s not.
    NO…’unique’ will always be an absolute in my world. The butchering of pronouns bothers me too. Sadly, we will get used to this. As a good friend of mine once said… you can get used to hanging if you hang long enough. 😉

  11. My sister was a copy editor for a newspaper for many years. She and I have had many conversations about spelling and grammar. I refuse to shorten words whe I text or write on Facebook. You is not u. Are there really people who still think they go to the libary in Febuary? Who’s going to sell your house a realtor or relator? Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
    I have given in…I now use terrible pseudo-words such as “u” or “r” on Twitter but Facebook gives me more room so I can usually speak in regular American English. I hate texting language – it simply makes my head hurt to use it. I feel stupid. The real problem here is the prevalence of shortened language seeps into our regular usage and suddenly it is perfectly normal to use these incorrect words. I feel so sorry for any person who is an actual English teacher today! Thanks for stopping by sweetie – good to see you!

  12. “Your gonna go and axe that relator sumpin about where da libary at.”
    And have you noticed that so many Facebook fan pages are absolutely RIDDLED with misspelled words and grammar? Drives me circus freak crazy, it does.

    I’ve been out of pocket for a while and haven’t had the opportunity until now to thank you for the blog award. I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of blogging things.
    Hello my dahlink – yes even Facebook is full of grammatical nightmares. I simply can’t get used to this — I constantly search for editorial mistakes and I often run out of the room screaming and pulling out my hair. As to the award, not to worry swee’pea, I assumed you were otherwise engaged – I do want you to get back to blogging since I love the way you tell a story, Red! xoxo

  13. I can’t count the posts I’ve done about similar mistakes and how they drive me crazy. (“My bad.” “Your bad what? ‘Bad’ is an adjective, not a noun!”) True, I use a lot of colloquialisms and purposely-improper forms — such as “Who’da thunk it?” — when blogging, but only for effect, and in such cases it should be apparent that I’m doing so. I LOVED this post!
    I am so happy you enjoyed this!!! I love playing with the English language and I am the first one to admit I don’t use proper English in my blog — it’s a BLOG so colloquialisms and improper English are fine and dandy! It is different when one is speaking in front of an audience. In that situation one should know the proper pronunciation of all the words in the speech!! Gasps! Thanks for stopping in and leaving such a nice comment! 😉

  14. Oh dear friend you hit one of the sorest spots in my brain. In my neck of the woods people often say “I stood home last night.” Huh? You stood? All night? OHHHH, you STAYED home last night. Right. Dumbass.

    But the two that make me the craziest are nuclear and realtor. The latter because I AM a REAL-tor…..not a RE-LA-tor. I have been known to say to my husband……I am a NU-KU-lar RE-LA-tor.

    You would be shocked how many realtors don’t say it correctly.
    Believe me I understand — I once was a Realtor and it just galled me to hear other Realtors mispronounce that word. What I wrote here is simply the tip of the iceberg — truly astounding English out there — I like your example of stood vs stayed. Dialectic — the whole country has strange little quirky ways with the language. Some places seem like a foreign country. Frightening.

  15. Hi,great observation n can be really frustrating cause many times you got hold back your tongue.
    There’s one i’ll tell you..we’d lost our way n were looking for direction,nice guy he told us the correct path,then asked who misled us n retorted in anger…’phhoolisman’.Wondered for a moment then understood ! Foolishman is what he meant.
    Another acquaintance says…there was no ‘sepracy’,actually meant privacy.

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