By ANNE DONNELL
I saw online an article about the ten most irritating words and phrases. I’ve enclosed the list. Enjoy! And did you see the tee-shirt with “I’m the grammarian about whom your mother warned you”? You need that. Where would you wear it?
-A Pal from Around Here Wow – what a pal. We’ll get to that list in a sec; I’m interested in wardrobe. Online I found the shirt with the engaging caption, and the description opens with, “Go forth and strike fear into the hearts of the clueless, the careless, and the punctuation impaired.” Nice touch. A real wish-I’d-said-that touch. So where would I wear the shirt if I spent the money requested (plus tax and shipping)? Church? Good sized crowd to see it, but a gray cotton tee-shirt on a getting gray woman is not very dressy (or very warm). If I order this tribute to me (which is humorous considering how little I know about the huge field of grammar with its many weird realms, the bits universities savor) I’ll first wear it around town, walking the streets sporting it, looking for crowds like our fine county fair. If it hasn’t shrunk too much from repeated washings. I know I won’t be doing any shrinking. Against my policies on food and beverages.
So, here’s the list. Oxford University (that would be in England, chaps) researchers conclude these are “The top ten most irritating phrases:” •1. At the end of the day • 2. Fairly unique •3. I personally •4. At this moment in time•5. With all due respect •6. Absolutely •7. It's a nightmare•8. Shouldn't of •9. 24/7 •10. It's not rocket science
THERE’S MORE (London) Daily Telegraph top ten list: • 1. Literally •2. A safe pair of hands •3. I'm gutted •4. Basically •5. Going forward •6. Upcoming •7. Shouldn't of •8. Up until • 9. Neither here not there •10. On a daily basis
Why don’t we have American lists? Ten reasons? •1. We’re too busy watching television •2. We admire television greatly. • 3. We’re too lazy • 4. We’re for the most part semi-literate • 5. We confuse phrase with phase like with the moon. •6. We’re too tired after the national elections • 7. We like saying trite words and phrases. • 8. We’re afraid people will think we’re nerds if we make a list • 9. We need to make a grocery list more because we’re out of chips and dip. 10. • We can’t stay focused because we think the national supply of Ritalin is in a box car in Nevada. So who is going to play in the Super Bowl any way? Should Jeff Fisher shave?
I’m with the Brits on several. And, fearlessly, I made a list. It’s scarcely complete, because annoyance with poor language habits is a life work for me. And subject to change. And not limited to ten.
TAH, DAH. MY LIST, unnumbered and more than ten and including some from the Isles, British, that is. • Anything with "hisself" in it• Very unique, rather unique, somewhat unique, sorta unique, kinda unique, a bit unique • With all my heart • "Myself" as subject or object• Nominative used as object of preposition as in "to Jim and I"• Awesome • Totally • Ain’t • He (or she or it) don’t • Bottom line • Heavy use of “just” • kinda, sorta • I personally • Literally • At this moment in time • 24/7 • It’s not rocket science• Duh
Why do we use these worn out, dreadful things? Well, once upon a time some of them were splendid, beguiling, and rarely used. Then the besmirching began on TV and radio. We hear it. We say it and write it because we’re usually wretched, craven beings, longing to be thought cool.
Plus, we know exactly what they mean. [ATA – According to Anne. Wonder when to put a comma between adjectives? Like wretched, craven beings. Is it little tiny berries or little, tiny berries? The simplest rule here is Could you place an “and” between the adjectives for a sensible reading? If so, put in a comma. So go with little tiny berries. Don’t worry about it.]
Well, one fine thing about these irritating phrases: they tend to go away.
WELL, CHEER UP. It’s ONLINE DEPARTMENT. “Tail End of Pet Rules” (First part “Ask Anne” November 19, as if that matters) To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door: To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets: 1. They live here. You don't. 2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it 'fur'niture.) 3. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they: 1. Eat less 2. Don't ask for money all the time 3 Are easier to train. 4. Normally come when called 5. Never ask to drive the car 6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends 7. Don't smoke or drink 8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions 9. Don't want to wear your clothes 10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and... 11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.
A BONUS “Answers form Children’s Science Exams” (Thanks, MT) • Q: Name the four seasons. A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar. •Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink. A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists. • Q: How can you delay milk turning sour? A: Keep it in the cow. •Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs. •Q: What happens to your body as you age? A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental • Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? ( e.g., abdomen) A: The body is consisted into three parts -- the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels A, E, I, O, and U. •Q: What does 'varicose' mean? A: Nearby. •Q: What does the word 'benign' mean? A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.