Woohoo! It’s daily prompt time, and this time it is all about the misuse of words, well a word. Specifically…
“Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).”
…but this is going to be one of those rare moments when I don’t just ramble on all about me. Not this time.
Advertising and journalism are excellent sources of misused words. They have a job to do and that job is to sell stuff, not to use language appropriately. It’s both understandable and extremely irritating to me, that people can get away with complete out-and-out lying when it comes to advertising and journalism.
Here is my list of the top 4 most irritating and often misused words…
Maybe it shouldn’t bug me as much as it does but the word literally is misused so many times. For example “I was so excited, I literally exploded.” No! No, you didn’t or if you did you’re talking to me from beyond the grave. The pressure differential within you caused by extreme excitement did not cause you to explode. Rather than use the word “literally”, try this sentence instead “I was really excited.” There you go, short and to the point and not ridiculous, or better yet use “figuratively” which is actually the word you mean to use in the first place.
Another one here, predominantly the domain of advertisers trying to impress upon us just how quick something can happen. Admittedly there isn’t a dictionary definition in regards to exactly how long an instant is in measured time, but when I see something like “Instant Popcorn, takes 2 minutes in the microwave” an instance has to be shorter than that though, right. Quick test, blink and then wait for it to end. That is an instant, before you even know it, it’s happened. Now start counting slowly to 120, two minutes does not feel like an instant.
Arguably makes it into my top four because it doesn’t mean anything. Arguably, or “It can be argued that” is a pointless word. What can’t be argued with? It doesn’t say ‘argue with a sensible or logical rationale behind it’ oh no just that it can be argued with.
“The Sky is Blue”
“No, it’s not”
“Frogs are Green”
“No, they’re pink”
“I’m the most gorgeous guy in the entire world”
“No, you’re the most gorgeous guy that ever existed, ever.”
Oh boy does this one grind my gears. I think this one may be fairly local but no less excusable. People where I work and indeed the place where I previously worked, would replace the word “reply” with the word “revert”, for example “I trust you can revert to me on this”.
Trust you can revert to me on this? I mean…. Aaaaaargh! Revert, is to go back to a former state of being, habit, practice etc. Reply is to respond to a point, question or comment. I know they share a few common letters but that doesn’t give people the right to just use random words where ever they want, that’s just going to get confusing.
You want to “ask your sister for some chocolate” and with the above logic you’d end up “axing yellow shoes for Colombia.”
To balance out all this positivity my favourite words at the moment are…
… They’re such cool words.
Phew, I am going to have a little lie down now. My heart is literally going to explode. I’m arguably a very tired person. I’ll of course try to revert instantly to any comments.
Oh, and don’t get me started on LOL.
- Alcoholic Work-Aholic (movingtowardsthelight.com)
- I Confess (soulnspiritblog.com)
- Dictionary, Smictionary (tnkerr.wordpress.com)
- A Fatal Death (livinginafrica.net)
- I Thought I was a Cornflakes Girl and that’s OK (psychologistmimi.com)
- International Correction Day (liveoutloudandproud.wordpress.com)
- Word Vomit (thoughtsofajunkiemisfit.wordpress.com)
- Wrong Word Wednesday 57 (sweattearsanddigitalink.com)