Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grammar Nazis

In a splendid episode of Family Guy, Stewie finally takes over as president of the world. He gives a television broadcast to inform the country of his takeover and implements four new laws. One of which is that anyone caught using the words "all of the sudden", "a-whole-nuther" and "irregardless" will be sent to a work camp. It was fantastic.

A while ago I came across the most glorious website (seen here). It is a list of common errors in the English language. It's the most extensive list I've found and is extremely helpful for pretty much anyone. I use it on a regular basis when I find myself stuck on something like effect/affect.

I thought I would research for more misused words in the English language and found quite a few sites and articles devoted to the topic. From various articles, here are a few words that are often used erroneously:

What people think it means: regardless
What it actually means: absolutely nothing. "Regardless" means "without regard" and "ir-" means "not". So then irregardless means "not without regard"? WTH does that mean?
*It is, however, a very yummy restaurant in downtown Raleigh. 

What people think it means: first; very ultimate; super most fabulous ultimate ever
What it actually means: next to last. It's not even the ultimate of last-ness. It's the runner up to last.

What people think it means: an amusing coincidence
What it actually means: an outcome opposite of what one would have expected
Ironic: If Michael Phelps drowns in the bathtub.
Not ironic: If Michael Phelps began endorsing Nair.

What people think it means: mildly amused
What it actually means: bewildered or confused
This one is tricky because the word itself sounds like it should mean "sort of amused." But it doesn't.

What people think it means: enormous
What it actually means: outrageous; heinous; atrocious
War-crimes are enormities. A ten-foot wide super-pizza is not.

What people think it means: a lot of something
What it actually means: overabundance; excess
A "plethora of pinatas" is only accurate if El Guapo decided he only wanted 20 pinatas for his party but in fact he had 50.

Do you mind?/Would you mind?
Most people answer these types of questions with "yes" but when you say "yes" you are telling them that you would object to whatever it is that they're asking. If you are okay doing what they ask, you're answer should be "No, I don't mind."

"I could care less"
What people think it means: I don't care at all; not one little inkling of care. 
What they should say: I couldn't care less. Otherwise, if you yell "I could care less about who Billy is dating!!! Jerk!!", you really are saying that on your personal level of caring, you only kind of don't care. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the least amount of care possible), your caring is anywhere from 2-10. Not really all that impressive.

This is just a small list. What others have you noticed? What ones make you cringe whenever you hear them used? There are many that I find myself using and try to catch. If you find that I've used numerous grammatical errors in this post or any previous post, please hold them to yourself and let me enjoy my moment.


  1. I have run across many things that just sound funny. But I definitely use some as well.
    Your link didn't work to the website though...

  2. how about ending a sentence with the word "so"? Have you noticed how everyone does that now? Is it the new "um"?

  3. Per se. adv. by, of, for, or in itself; intrinsically. I hear people use this word incorrectly all the time. I don't think anyone really knows how to use it...they usually just add it to the end of the sentence in attempt to sound more intelligent and use it to mean "necessarily". I don't really know how to use it, either, so I guess I can't be too critical. Do you know how it is used?

  4. I just want people to stop using apostrophe s ('s)all over the place when they are making a word plural and there is no possessive anywhere in sight.

  5. Crap, I just used enormity on my blog yesterday.

  6. I laugh when people say 'I could care less'. I really want to say, "then do it!" But I'd look like a freak.

    I get really annoyed at the lack of proper spelling, text language if you will, that people use on their blogs, facebook, or emails. If U want 2 talk 2 me, take the time 2 spell the word. Does it really take more time 2 hit an xtra ltr?

    Oh, and the word 'prolly' as in I'll prolly make enemies with my sisters since they speak text talk to me all the time.

  7. I was disappointed that you did not explain the difference between affect and effect. I would have thought that you would have found an effective way to include it your blog. But at this point I am concerned how it is going to effect me or is it affect me not knowing the difference.


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