In an article for the Huffington Post, Riobert Lane Greene writes about the difference between word misuse and outdated grammar and usage rules. What do you think?
Everyone has a language peeve. Mine is “literally,” a great word with no close synonym. When used as a mere intensifier or to mean simply “It felt as though…” it has almost no kick at all. And when misused, it can be spectacular: what Lindsey Graham recently said of an American program to turn weapons-grade plutonium into reactor fuel for peaceful energy. Truly this is a good thing, but Graham probably shouldn’t have said that “the United States is literally taking nuclear swords and turning them into plowshares.” My first thought was that it was pretty sweet that DARPA had finally invented nuclear swords. My second was, “But who wants a nuclear plowshare? Would you eat vegetables out of a field plowed with one?”
Read the full article here.
Cheryl - May 18, 2011
The comments under this article are hilarious — it starts all measured and academic, and quickly deteriorates into a nitpicking war. Good times.
Karen - May 23, 2011
Oh the language pet peeves! I have certainly decided to pick my battles over the years and accept ending a sentence with a preposition quite gracefully now, but I still cringe when I hear “at this point in time”. Why not just “at this point” or “at this time”? And one that is particularly irritating to me, the misuse of “hopefully”. “Hopefully, I’ll make it.” NO! You mean “I hope I’ll make it.” Argh! Those I have yet to accept gracefully.
Tyson - May 25, 2011
Interesting RE “hopefully”. I admit that I’ve never paid much attention to that one. I will now though. 😉 With most things, if it’s said often enough and enough people, I tend to think it’s worth making students aware of it, even if I don’t /cough/ encourage /cough/ its use in the least.