If you’re not careful, there’s potench for murder
It’s funny how they say that the red mist descends. In my case, it rises, boiling up from the pit of somewhere dark until everything is fury.
This week it was a chirpy PR person’s query about whether or not the thing he had just sent me had “potench” or not. After all, potential is such a long and difficult word to use.
No, it isn’t. It’s a perfectly good word that doesn’t need to be abbreviated – abbreved even.
Our lovely language is under attack and we need to fight back. English gives us more words than most of us will ever need to exactly describe all of our experiences, desires, and complaints. We don’t need to deliberately mangle it.
It doesn’t make you sound cool or clever. Instead, we don’t know what you’re talking about and I get cross.
Here are the linguistic manglings that have set my teeth on edge lately:
Loop you in when they intend to copy you into the round of emails.
Granular meaning “in great detail” and nothing whatsoever to do with a type of snow or anything grainy.
Pre-anything. For example – pre-planning, pre-preparing and pre-organised. What’s wrong with just planning, preparing and organising?
Close of play. Isn’t that a cricket thing? It suggests officey types bowling up rows of desks in whites and pads, leather on willow and all that.
110% or more. They are 110% happier. They might be, but I’m not. It makes no sense mathematically or otherwise.
So fun. It was so fun. No, it wasn’t. And if you think such fun and so much fun would be, well, funner, you are in very dangerous territory.
Insanely in headlines. Insanely means not sane or not of sound mind, please don’t use it if you mean vaguely interesting or slightly amusing. Just stop it.
Reaching out. Nope. What you mean is “getting in touch”.
Let’s be clear. This phrase shouldn’t be used because we all know it means ‘I think you are a moron who disagrees with me’. If that’s what you mean, you should just say it.
More iconic. It’s an icon or it’s not.
We we we. Who put the we into twee? You did, repeatedly.
Grabbing. Have you noticed how much of it there is at the moment? I’ll grab a coffee, we can grab lunch, let’s grab those seats. Didn’t your mummies tell you it’s rude to grab?
Maggie Barr says
I’m so out of the ‘in’ crowd that most of your examples don’t come into my everyday language, but a pronounciation error, if you can call it that, that has me shouting at the radio is the insertion of an ‘r’ in words where there isn’t one, such as ‘drawring’ instead of drawing, or ‘sawring’ instead of sawing.
And there has been an outbreak of people starting their sentences with ‘So,’…….. You listen!
I’m just saying…..
Jeannie Mackenzie says
I’m glad you added the soothing image as this misuse of language also irritates me. One of my current pet hates is ‘going forward’ meaning ‘in the future’. Some seem to think that adding it to a financial statement makes their calculations more accurate.
Mary Allcock says
I agree so much although can’t quite think of my most irritating phrase. Lots of years ago there was a brilliant book published called, I think, plain English or similar title. It was aimed then at officials who used gobbledygook in official documents!! Nowadays it is just laziness in my view!!!
Brian Lavery says
The latest for me is “quite unique”. It’s an absolute. They would not say “a bit dead” ….almost tempted to use ANGRY CAPS. …?
Wonderful ! Thank you for putting all that into words!! I agree wholeheartedly, our language is rich and deserves to be used properly. Now , take in that calming view and relax.
Haha, this made me LOL. (Sorry!). I do wonder sometimes. My two new favourite (that is to say they make me want to punch walls) sayings are ‘on fleek’ and ‘all the feels’. As in ‘your hair is on fleek’ and ‘those shoes … ALL the feels for them’
Yes, I despair.