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Misuse/Abuse of words - That is So Wrong!


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Misuse / Abuse of words - This is so wrong!

The word irregardless ... it just makes my skin crawl! The other night I heard it from a very popular anchor on cable news and wanted to throw my remote at my TV. It is not a good word, yet people use it so often thinking they are grammatically correct. Seriously folks?

I love the quote from Urban Dictionary: "Irregardless Used by people who ignorantly mean to say regardless. According to webster, it is a word, but since the prefix "ir" and the suffx "less" both mean "not or with" they cancel each other out, so what you end up with is regard. When you use this to try to say you don't care about something, you end up saying that you do. Of course everyone knows what you mean to say and only a pompous,rude asshole will correct you."

Go ahead, call me the pompous, rude whatever that wants to correct you!

Anyone else have a word people use too much that makes you want to throw something?

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I totally agree. It's a fairly common mistake but I am surprised that a popular news anchor would use it on TV!

You're totally right, the 'ir-' and the 'less' cancel each other out. It's like saying 'He's uncareless!'.

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Well, I have to say that it's the first time I have ever head of this word. Irregardless is not even a word, but when you type it wrong like I did right now, you will see the option to correct it. So, it is recognized as a word by my default grammar and spelling checker. I am really confused now.

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Wow, I've never even heard that word once in my life. People really use that? Which country do you live in? I'm guessing America.

They're the only ones who butcher English like this, because I've never heard anyone here use that word, ever.

I live in Canada NatureSun, and we try really hard not to butcher the English language, but most of our TV shows and entertainment originate stateside, where we do see a lot of that going on.

.... it was Anderson Cooper, by the way. I heard him say it with my own two ears! First time (and hopefully the last) I ever heard him say it.

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It kills me too! I'm usually not one to correct people on that kind of thing, but for some reason 'irregardless' sounds so much like nails on a chalk board!

I'm also put off by people who use an acronym, then repeat a word that's part of the acronym. An example is like, 'ATM machine'. ATM already stands for 'Automatic Teller Machine,' you don't need to say machine again. That eats at my ear more than it should I guess.

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I am so glad that you brought this up and pointed out that "irregardless" is not a word. I have never taken the time to look it up or analyze how the prefix and suffix cancel each other out, but I frequently hear this word used interchangeably with regardless. I will never make that mistake again!

One phrase that I have heard forever and sadly just learned what it really was supposed to be is "for all intents and purposes" which is the same as saying essentially or effectively. For a long time, I thought it was "for all intensive purposes," and this is apparently a common mistake.

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I can see how those two phrases could be confused with one another, but their meanings are quite different.

"For all intensive purposes" excludes casual purposes and everything else.

"For all intents and purposes" is far more inclusive and is intended not to exclude anything really. Funny how that works.

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It kills me too! I'm usually not one to correct people on that kind of thing, but for some reason 'irregardless' sounds so much like nails on a chalk board!

Yes, I feel the same way.  Maybe it's something about that extra syllable and double "r" sound.  It is very grating!

Another common error is the mispronunciation and misspelling of "prerogative."  People will mistakenly say or write "perogative" instead.  "Prerogative" is defined as an exclusive right or privilege that a person or group has.

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A pretty funny thing I come across once in a while is Asian people writing "tried" instead of "tired". I don't know why but I have seen that sooo many times. I am just wondering why this error happens so frequently. I do not see a special difficulty with the spelling of the word "tired". My guess is that both of them sound pretty similar when spoken...and it must have to do with the letter R :=)

If you heard (Asian) people writing (saying) "tried" instead of "tired" please let me know..I am really wondering if I am the only one  :cool:

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I've never personally encountered the "tried - tired" mistake in Malaysia, probably because Malaysian English is based on British English rather than American, so we do not pronounce the "R" in "tired". "Tired" and "tried" sound totally different. On the other hand Chinese learners today usually learn American English and the "R" sound is very prominently pronounced in both words which makes them sound similar. In Mandarin Chinese, "R" appears at the beginning and at the end of words but never in a consonant cluster meant "tr" and "pr" and "cr" combinations do not exist in Chinese, so it is very difficult for Chinese speakers to pronounce "tried" but it is easier for them to pronounce "tired" so it may just be that they mentally map "tried" and "tired" together.

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Huh, I've always wondered about that actually! I have never actually looked it up to see if my suspicions were correct, but now they are confirmed! That's so funny how people say things without questioning their true meaning or origins because everyone else says them. I feel like nearly everyone does it, I always find myself speaking more like the people I spend a lot of time with! I always agreed with the saying- "Surround yourself with intelligent friends".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've never heard of this used before. But seriously it kind of negates the point they are trying to make! How ignorant of people..

What irritates me to boiling point is the utterly insane use of the word "like"... I, like, went to my friend's house and she was like, you know, why don't you like ever call before you come, like she ever does, i mean like.. What the heck is that?! Like means to simple appreciate or have a positive predisposition to something...or when it's used to compare one with another!  I feel like throwing something at people every time that word drops out of their mouths! UGGHH!!

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I have heard the word before, just never really thought about it. Like you mentioned, it is used by ignorant people, and I guess I have just learned to ignore it when heard. Good that you brought attention to it. I will definitely think about it next time I hear it, and I will sure not say it myself. :)

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The word "literally" when misused.  Literally is the opposite of figuratively.  What "literally" ACTUALLY means is "to do something according to the concrete, literal, non-abstract definition of the word".

For example, if someone says, "Getting pulled over by the cops literally made me sick," what they mean is that they ACTUALLY were sick (threw up), not that it "made them sick" according to the figurative meaning (it made them angry, it made them nervous).

But people misuse it by using it to intensify the statement-- i.e. "I was so nervous I was LITERALLY climbing the walls!" when the person was actually NOT climbing the walls, was just extremely anxious.

THAT drives me nuts; it demonstrates the person doesn't KNOW what literally ACTUALLY means.

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THAT drives me nuts; it demonstrates the person doesn't KNOW what literally ACTUALLY means.

It's not exactly the most difficult to use word in the world. It's just that a lot of people are so used to the incorrect usage that they stick to it no matter what.

But still, it's annoying alright when somebody shows up and says, "Dude. that song literally blew me away".  :angry:

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I've never heard of this used before. But seriously it kind of negates the point they are trying to make! How ignorant of people..

What irritates me to boiling point is the utterly insane use of the word "like"... I, like, went to my friend's house and she was like, you know, why don't you like ever call before you come, like she ever does, i mean like.. What the heck is that?! Like means to simple appreciate or have a positive predisposition to something...or when it's used to compare one with another!  I feel like throwing something at people every time that word drops out of their mouths! UGGHH!!

Yes, I agree.  These words that are used that way, as  "conversational crutches," as they are called, are very annoying and grating to the ear. 

The same is true for "you know" which is so often inserted into conversations.  And even worse when people use both "you know" and "like!"  As in..."I was walking to the story the other day, you know, and I ran into an old friend.  We were in school together, like, you know, five years ago, and so, you know, like, we had a lot of catching up to do."

It's not exactly the most difficult to use word in the world. It's just that a lot of people are so used to the incorrect usage that they stick to it no matter what.

But still, it's annoying alright when somebody shows up and says, "Dude. that song literally blew me away".  :angry:

Yes, I can relate to this.  Another misuse of the language!

My other pet peeve is the constant use of superlatives to the point that their original meaning is lost.  "Awesome" being an example.  It means "extremely impressive" or inspiring admiration or even fear, depending on the context.  But the problem is that people use it so frequently it has lost its intensity in both contexts. 

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What irritates me to boiling point is the utterly insane use of the word "like"... I, like, went to my friend's house and she was like, you know, why don't you like ever call before you come, like she ever does, i mean like.. What the heck is that?! Like means to simple appreciate or have a positive predisposition to something...or when it's used to compare one with another!  I feel like throwing something at people every time that word drops out of their mouths! UGGHH!!

Oh yes, you are right! The abuse of "like" is also something I really can't stand. I am glad you mentioned it and I am also glad you wrote "irritates me to boiling point". I really like this idiomatic expression:=)

I would like to add the expression "you guys". Some people just use this all the time: "What are you guys doing tonight?" "You guys are just so..." and so on. I just really cant stand it. Moreover, I do not understand why people would use this for a mixed group of boys and girls as well? A guy, at least for me, is male and never female. It just sounds so weird to me if somebody it talking about guys including girls as well. Hmm, maybe that is just me because, after all, I am not a native speaker of English :P

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I would like to add the expression "you guys". Some people just use this all the time: "What are you guys doing tonight?" "You guys are just so..." and so on. I just really cant stand it. Moreover, I do not understand why people would use this for a mixed group of boys and girls as well? A guy, at least for me, is male and never female. It just sounds so weird to me if somebody it talking about guys including girls as well. Hmm, maybe that is just me because, after all, I am not a native speaker of English :P

The problem arises because "you" can refer to one person or several persons or, collectively a group of people.  Some other languages have a separate singular and plural form of "you" but English does not.

So what happens is that people think they need to modify "you" to make it plural when it's actually not necessary.  These modifications vary by region.  In the American South, people tend to say "you all" which winds up being pronounced "y'all."  In the New York City metro area you will sometimes hear people say "yous."

And more universally we hear "you guys" and also "you folks."    At least "you folks" is not gender specific. 

But no modifier is needed.  It's acceptable -- and correct -- to use "you" by itself. 

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(...) I am also glad you wrote "irritates me to boiling point".

That reminds me, in Dutch, a common error (which annoys a lot of people) is to use 'irritates' when one means 'annoys'. It's because some verbs have a word similar to 'oneself' or 'me' built into them. Annoys has this, but irritates does not. So people will say "I irritate myself about something" when they mean "I annoy myself [this is correct grammar in Dutch] about something" or "Something irritates me".

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That reminds me, in Dutch, a common error (which annoys a lot of people) is to use 'irritates' when one means 'annoys'. It's because some verbs have a word similar to 'oneself' or 'me' built into them. Annoys has this, but irritates does not. So people will say "I irritate myself about something" when they mean "I annoy myself [this is correct grammar in Dutch] about something" or "Something irritates me".

Ok, so did I use "irritates me" in a wrong way? If so I'd really appreciate if you can explain why! :)

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Ok, so did I use "irritates me" in a wrong way? If so I'd really appreciate if you can explain why! :)

I am not sure if it works the same way in English. Because in Dutch, the verb 'annoy' comes with the extra 'themselves', it cannot be substituted for 'irritate', but this is probably not the case in English.

Some people may say that 'irritate' is used for a longer period of time, while 'annoy' is for shorter annoyances. "My neighbour's loud music every day irritates me" vs The screaming child on the bus annoys me".

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