Language rant

This morning on public radio, I heard our representative to the United States Congress use the word “irregardless.”  He was a teacher before he became a Congressional Representative. In either case, he should know better.

For once and for all, there is no such word.  The word is regardless.  Or irrespective, if you’re feeling the need to use a prefix. But irregardless is not a word.

Yesterday, I was in a chat with a Librarian at a Big University.  At the end of the chat, the librarian responded to my thanks with, “your welcome.”

In both cases, these are educated people.

What on earth has happened to our language? There is a difference between your and you’re.  Learn it.  If you don’t, you sound like an uneducated person.  Sorry to be harsh, people, but if a grammar and language nut like me reads something you’ve written and you’re misusing simple words, I will assume you’re not too bright. Or very educated.

Their, there, and they’re.

Your and you’re.

Its and it’s.

Were and we’re.

We’re going to use written communication more and more often, in instant messages and text messages. We’re supposed to be the educated ones. We should be using correct grammar and spelling.  I don’t mean the occasional misspelled word – I mean the intentional misuse of the language, as cited in the examples above.

Drives me nuts, it does.  Is it laziness? Are people simply not being taught correct grammar and spelling anymore?

Where are the nuns when you need them?

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10 Comments

Filed under Me and mine

10 responses to “Language rant

  1. Caroline Kalinoski

    Mary Beth, so funny that you write about this as I JUST had an argument with someone about this the other day. While it may not have originally been a word, it’s now recognized by Merriam Webster as a real word: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/IRREGARDLESS (Just ignore the part at the end that says to use “regardless” instead!)

  2. Jeff Kalinoski

    my old boss used to use this word all the time, and it drove me nuts. he insisted it was legit because it was in the dictionary, irregardless of the fact that it’s a total bastardization of two other words.

  3. Lisa

    The one that drives me crazy is “orientate.” Orient, folks! No such word as orientate. You orient yourself in the right direction, not orientate yourself.

    Or, less vs. few. There cannot be less people in the room – unless, collectively, they lost a lot of weight. Fewer people in the room.

  4. Caroline Kalinoski

    None of you would make it in the consulting world, where “words” like “impactful” are an everyday occurrence.

  5. It seems to me that the fact that irregardless is in a dictionary is Merriam-Webster throwing in the towel. Linguistically, it makes no sense. Regardless means without regard. Therefore, irregardless would mean….?

    I hearken back to “The Princess Bride

  6. Susan Mark

    Loose and lose. ARGH! I don’t know when it became acceptable to say you would “loose your mind.”

  7. DBF

    I share your horror. Beyond misuse, however, there is also jargon. Like consulting, philanthropy, too, is crawling with it. I cringe when I hear colleagues use terms like “drill down” and “granular”. These are real words, properly spelled, but used in ways God did not intend. For a laugh–or some general nausea– check out The Communications Network’s “Jargon Finder. http://www.comnetwork.org/Jargon_Finder

  8. DBF

    Sorry, having followed my own advice, I must share the above link’s entry for “convener”.
    Convener/Convening
    Some may be surprised to learn that these are venerable words with an ancient pedigree. The Oxford English Dictionary traces CONVENER to at least the 16th century, and the noun CONVENING to the 18th. But you’d never know it from the howls of derision the two words summon from fed-up nonprofit and foundation officials. And in fact, the deriders are right: Although these words are correct English, they are pretentious and antiquated. (Indeed, not one usage from the OED is more recent than the mid-19th century, and nearly all are older.) In modern-day use, the word is nothing more than a posh disguise for ordinary meetings, conventions, and conferences. The self-styled CONVENER is simply whatever outfit hosts the meetings.

    There is, in fact, something slightly pathetic about the bloated self-importance of the CONVENE clan. To insist on referring to the drudgery of meetings and conferences as if they were a summons to Buckingham Palace suggests a life starved for excitement. Said one foundation officer: “Whenever I’m invited to a ‘convening,’ I make it a point to decline. If they’re calling it that, they must be desperate for participation, and that means it’s the last place I’ll want to be.” The whole matter could not be put more succinctly

  9. Carla

    I feel your pain! Many words that were not acceptable even a decade ago, are now in the dictionary because so many people use them. I was taught that the correct word to use is “orientate” (it is in the dictionary), not “orient” because at one time “orient” was used to define the Far East. Orient, however, is easier & faster to say, so that became the replacement word.

    Remember when donuts used to be spelled doughnuts? With email & texting, I’m sorry to say that the shorter, faster way to spell and get the message across will win.

    –carla j.

  10. Matthew

    Hey, Carla! Move to Canada where we still proudly spell doughnuts the standard way. You would, I’m sure, make a lovely neighbour 😉

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