Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Word Cop: Nails on Blackboard

For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with language and how people use it. Um (gestures to entire blog) OBVIOUSLY.

I don't know why it is. If someone has a verbal tic or uses certain words, I cease to be able to actually listen to the content of what they say, and instead become completely focused on the tic or the word. Sometimes it's in a good way. My gay husband refers to a certain kind of girls' short-shorts as "Cooter Cutters" and sounds exactly like some sassy seventy-year old lady when he says it. And the channeling of a Golden Girl through this Banana Republic-wearing hot gay potato never fails to make me giggle endlessly.

Then again, sometimes it's NOT in a good way. We recently had a call with our team to talk about certain things, and we kept discussing "basic qualifications." Instead of calling them "basic qualifications" everyone on the team calls them "basic quals."



I don't know why...I mean I REALLY don't know why, but this word "qual" makes me shudder. I have tried to parse my reaction but I cannot. I just inexplicably hate this abbreviated word with every molecule in my body. I didn't hear anything else I'm supposed to be listening to because every time they said "qual," I tensed up.

Secondly, they also kept talking about making our job descriptions "pop." I think it's great that we're trying to improve our ads, but "pop?" It's not a red accent wall. It's not eyeliner. POP?

Anyway, this post is less to critique anyone on my team and more to wonder: what is wrong with me? Why am I so fixated on this stuff? Does anyone else do this?


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Ill-Suit said...


I Buy Books said...

I totally do that. A very close and dear friend always says "safe home" when she's saying goodbye to someone. Okay -- not even close to gramatically correct. I can appreciate the sentiment, but I CANNOT get over how it comes out. I was a proofreader in a former life, so I get pissed off at stuff like this on pretty much a daily basis. As my favorite T-shirt says, "Good grammar costs nothing!"

The Mad Tatter said...

Sigh I can relate as well. I am close to several people who habitually mispronounce things, use the wrong word entirely, and/or abuse grammar. (I am a grammar snob; however, I feel that if you know your grammar, you have a license to abuse it if the situation calls for it...but only if you KNOW your grammar--and I ain't talkin' about your grandpa's wife!) To add to the T-shirt greatness: "Bad grammar makes me [sic]" from this website:

Worry not Ill-Suit! You are NOT alone!

Brenda said...

I can really relate to this. When I used to Irish dance, this one girl would always say, "trad" instead of traditional. "Have you practiced your trad set today?" "Which trad set are you doing?" Made me want to shoot myself in the foot. It's weird how certain words, phrases or "tics" as you called them can drive you up the wall. I've noticed I say "like" a lot in conversation, but I'm probably just a product of my generation. I also tend to say "I don't know" as filler. What exactly I don't know is still a mystery, but I say it nonetheless. "I went to the supermarket today and bought apples" -pause- "I don't know. Did you watch "House" last night?" Odd, huh? I get irked when people say "you know?" after everything as well.

Ill-Suit said...


You are a better person than I. That makes me want to shoot HER in the foot.