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Misuse of the English Language, Some Pet Peeves

Obviously, I’m a writer. As such, the English language is quite dear to me. I find it to be the absolute best language for creative writing in the world, for several reasons – and I don’t just say that as a native English speaker; I also speak German natively. For creative use, English has many advantages over other languages – primarily that of Poetic License – that one golden aspect of the language that allows the writer to do really whatever the heck he or she wants in order to produce the most fluid, musical, and magical phrase, clause, or sentence to best fit their vision. One can reorder the words, shorten them, drop consonants, turn nouns into verbs and vice versa, all in the name of better fitting the rhythm, sound, and feel for which one is striving. This also makes the language very difficult for non-native speakers to learn. It is, in fact, the hardest language in the world for non-native speakers to pick up simply BECAUSE of these free-and-loose ability to just blindly ignore the rules when it’s necessary (and it’s not like English follows its own rules consistently when you’re not using poetic license, either, because it simply doesn’t – every rule is broken repeatedly as part of regular use). However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t limits to just how far one can stretch the language, and that’s what this article is really about. I have several pet peeves when it comes to some of the abuses of the English language.

Irregardless: This word simply makes no sense. “Regardless” is the word for which you are looking if you use it, and means “Without regard.” “Irregardless” would mean, nonsensically: “not without regard.”

All of a sudden: AGH! Firstly, this phrase is unnecessary, as the correct term is “suddenly,” which is shorter, so easier to say, write, and type. I honestly don’t know why the former phrase ever came in to being considering this, especially since, upon examination, the phrase simply makes no sense. Just what is a “sudden” and how does one have all of it? The phrase implies you can only have some of it, so what happens then? “Suddenly” means “immediately, without warning,” so how can you have a portion of “without warning?” It either is, or is not, so you can’t have some of it, only all or none. So the term “all of a” is absolutely unnecessary. Just keep with “Suddenly.”

Any qualifier before “unique:” Also, unnecessary! And you sound like an absolute idiot when you use a qualifier before “unique.” It means: “one, the only, singular.” If something is unique, NOTHING else is like it. You simply cannot have something that is “very unique” How do you have “very one” or “quite singular?” That makes no freaking sense whatsoever. Stop using those qualifiers before “unique.”

Misconjugation of verbs: This I find is becoming an increasingly common failure among American English speakers, and is largely due to both a failure in our education system and the glorification of some of the absolutely most abysmal uses of English in our music and popular media. Common misconjugations: “binded” instead of “bound.” The infinitive is “To bind.” I bind, I bound, I will bind. You bind, you bound, you will bind. At no point in the use of the verb “To bind” does an “-ed” appear as the correct past tense. “Seen” instead of “Saw”. While “Seen” does appear in the conjugation of the verb “to see,” it is ALWAYS in the a perfect tense (past perfect, future perfect, etc), and so will be preceded by “have” or “has” (ie, “I have seen”, “you have seen,” “he/she/it has seen”).

Almost all usage of textspeak, lolcat speak, or dogespeak in regular writing or speaking: Textspeak may or may not be a faster way to text (I certainly avoid it, even when I text, just because it really chaffs my sensibilities), but it is absolutely unnecessary in regular writing, and certainly even more so in speaking. And while lolcat and dogespeak may or may not be cute in the memes from which they originated, they are every bit as grating on the eyes and ears when used anywhere else. Further, all three make the user come across as a completely uneducated individual, and can cause the user’s points to be dismissed entirely as such.

Now, like I said, I’m all for use of poetic license, and creative manipulations of the language – so long as there’s a purpose behind doing so. But when you simply use the wrong word or phrase out of sheer laziness or ignorance, when a perfectly good one already exists that is clearer *and* more succinct, you are not taking advantage of this wonderful aspect of our language, but rather displaying your lack of facility with it.

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