Annoying words, and Words You Hate

For the discussion of language mechanics, grammar, vocabulary, trends, and other such linguistic topics, in english and other languages.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Monika
Welcoming Aarvark
Posts: 3595
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:03 am UTC
Location: Germany, near Heidelberg
Contact:

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Monika » Wed May 18, 2016 5:19 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:"Rent" means both in English, "like" switched directions (it used to mean something like "please"), and "leornian" and "læran" were similar enough in Old English that "learn" came to acceptably mean both "receive knowledge" and "give knowledge" for about 600 years. (The verb "learn" sounds rustic as a synonym for "teach", but the participial adjective "learned" is still perfectly acceptable in standard English.)

In German learn is lernen and teach is lehren (or beibringen ... lehren is a different register and also usually means a formal teaching relationship), but younger school children, at least in the area I grew up in (Saxony), use "I will learn you" instead of "I will teach you" nearly 100% of the time.

There are also a number of words English treats as symmetrical which other languages don't. Learners sometimes have trouble with the fact that both "brother-in-law" and "sister-in-law" can mean both your sibling's spouse and your spouse's sibling.

Interesting. Which languages distinguish this? I would guess e.g. Chinese, where there are even different words for younger and older brother etc. But are there e.g. Indoeuropean languages that do it, too?
#xkcd-q on irc.foonetic.net - the LGBTIQQA support channel
Please donate to help these people e.g. Ragna needs these items and Frances needs money for food

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25615
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Wed May 18, 2016 5:50 pm UTC

Serbo-Croatian makes a lot more distinctions (including the ones I mentioned), and I believe it's true in Russian and other Slavic languages as well.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
HES
Posts: 4731
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 7:13 pm UTC
Location: England

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby HES » Thu May 19, 2016 1:42 pm UTC

I've often wondered if cousin-in-law is a valid phrase. My mother's sister's daughter's husband is in the same profession as I am, so of all my family he's probably the one I mention most at work.
He/Him/His Image

User avatar
ucim
Posts: 5373
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:23 pm UTC
Location: The One True Thread

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby ucim » Thu May 19, 2016 4:18 pm UTC

HES wrote:I've often wondered if cousin-in-law is a valid phrase. My mother's sister's daughter's husband is in the same profession as I am, so of all my family he's probably the one I mention most at work.
English is a usage-based language, so if you use it as a phrase, and other people understand and pick it up, it becomes a valid phrase if it wasn't one before.

Evolution is made of mistakes we decide we like.

Jose
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Please help addams if you can. She needs all of us.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:27 am UTC

lede

I've noticed this spelling a lot on Wikipedia and a few other places and it really irritates me. It just looks wrong. Apparently it's supposed to distinguish the word from the metal lead, but that makes no sense, because nobody is going to change the spelling of the verb lead, so why change the derivative noun? At least spell it "leed." I can't think of any other monosyllables ending in -ede.

EDIT: Well there's "cede," and apparently also archaic words "rede," "brede," and "glede," and of course the proper noun "Swede," but of those only "cede" would ordinarily come to mind. And then there's also "suede" which has a very different pronunciation which doesn't help matters any.

ObsessoMom
Nespresso Bomb
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:28 pm UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:28 pm UTC

Eebster, you may find this illuminating. I stumbled across it a few days ago when I was trying to figure out someone's use of "TK".

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:55 pm UTC

I've wondered why our spelling doesn't distinguish between the present and past senses of "read" even though it does so for "lead", which seems to be perfectly analogous. I mean, sure, the past tense form would then coincide with the color term "red", but I think that would cause a lot less ambiguity than leaving it identical to the present tense form.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:16 am UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:Eebster, you may find this illuminating. I stumbled across it a few days ago when I was trying to figure out someone's use of "TK".

The article makes it sound like those are just abbreviated copy annotations, not even true jargon.

Derek
Posts: 2117
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:57 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:I've wondered why our spelling doesn't distinguish between the present and past senses of "read" even though it does so for "lead", which seems to be perfectly analogous. I mean, sure, the past tense form would then coincide with the color term "red", but I think that would cause a lot less ambiguity than leaving it identical to the present tense form.

Something something great vowel shift.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:49 am UTC

"Winningest", when used in any other context than endearing smiles.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:54 am UTC

The only other context is the sport context, right? I'd taken it as a weird bit of jargon.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:16 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:The only other context is the sport context, right? I'd taken it as a weird bit of jargon.


Indeed. When I read about "the winningest team in NFL history", I try and imagine people cooing over a group of muscled brutes trying to look as though butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:26 pm UTC

"Winningest" is a strange word. Normal grammar rules would have "most winning," and after all "winninger" isn't a word. I've only ever heard it used for the specific meaning of "having won the most matches in the specified competition over the specified interval." So you could have "the most winning smile on Earth," but not the "winningest smile," unless your smile was somehow involved in a smile competition and won more than all the other smiles.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:40 pm UTC

Yeah, I'm only familiar with it in the sporting context. Sports provide quite a few linguistic oddities, like the baseball verb "fly out" (past tense "flied out"), or the initial-stress versions of "offense" and "defense".
Exit the vampires' castle.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:19 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:"Winningest" is a strange word. Normal grammar rules would have "most winning," and after all "winninger" isn't a word. I've only ever heard it used for the specific meaning of "having won the most matches in the specified competition over the specified interval." So you could have "the most winning smile on Earth," but not the "winningest smile," unless your smile was somehow involved in a smile competition and won more than all the other smiles.


"Winning" as an adjective can mean one of two things.

1. The victor in a contest ("the winning team").
2. Endearing.

Since 1. is binary, it can't logically have a comparative and/or superlative, any more than "top", "bottom", "first", "last" etc. In British English we would refer to the most successful team/athlete - "winningest" sounds childlike and nonsensical.

2. presumably can have a comparative and superlative, e.g. "let's try that again with a more winning expression" and "that's the most winning smile I've ever seen on a six year-old", but "winninger" and "winningest" seem clunky (and, indeed, have a red squiggle under them on my screen). Come to think of it, are there *any* valid adjectives ending -inger or -ingest?
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:50 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:Since 1. is binary, it can't logically have a comparative and/or superlative, any more than "top", "bottom", "first", "last" etc.

Human language tends not to respect such appeals to rationality, which is why forms like "more/most perfect" and "more/most unique" have cropped up on both sides of the Atlantic for centuries. And your own stated definition allows comparison: one team can be the victor of contests more than another – thus more victorious, or more winning. You could, perhaps, offer the counterargument that "win" must be contextually limited to a single contest, but perfectly unobjectionable uses like "They're always winning" or "They win more than they lose" would go against that.

In British English we would refer to the most successful team/athlete - "winningest" sounds childlike and nonsensical.

It's a perfectly sensible concept, and many things in language may sound childlike if you're not accustomed to them.

Come to think of it, are there *any* valid adjectives ending -inger or -ingest?

Not that I know of. And indeed, I think morphology provides your strongest ground for objection, since in general English allows synthetic comparatives and superlatives only for adjectives that are monosyllabic or end in "-y". But there are exceptions to almost everything: in the opposite direction, for example, we have "fun", which has become well established as an adjective in common usage, but still tends to retain the analytic forms "more fun" and "most fun" owing to its origin as a noun.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Tue Jun 28, 2016 5:50 pm UTC

Right well etymologically I suppose "funny" would be the adjectival form of "fun," but of course its meaning has changed, so now we have little choice of adjective there.

There are exceptions the other way too like able and simple, which may have been seen as monosyllabic in the past.

As for -ingest, I can't think of any monosyllabic adjectives ending in -ing except from proper nouns like Ming, so I wouldn't expect it.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:11 pm UTC

There are exceptions the other way too like able and simple, which may have been seen as monosyllabic in the past.

Oh, I forgot about those. I think there are enough cases like that (e.g. "nobler", "subtler") that we could add disyllabic "-le" words as a third part of the rule.

As for -ingest, I can't think of any monosyllabic adjectives ending in -ing except from proper nouns like Ming, so I wouldn't expect it.

Zhu Di was the Mingest emperor ever.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
Grop
Posts: 1810
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:36 am UTC
Location: France

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Grop » Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:33 pm UTC

Would that made Cixi the Qingest empress?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25615
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:01 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:Come to think of it, are there *any* valid adjectives ending -inger or -ingest?
Presumably not what you'd consider valid. After "ingest", which somehow got tagged as an occasional adjective in COCA, the "-ingest" adjectives in order of frequency are:
winningest (308 examples)
losingest (18)
second-winningest (10)
third-winningest (7)
swingingest (5)

There are several more after that, but "swingingest" already has a frequency less than 1 per 100M words in this particular corpus.

As Lazar explained, -er/-est endings typically only get added to monosyllabic adjectives and disyllabic ones where the second is -y or -le (with a few other exceptions like "handsomer" and "handsomest", which are uncommon but not generally considered incorrect).

In addition, participial adjectives never seem to get -er/-est endings even when they are monosyllabic. We say "more bored" and "more tired" rather than "boreder" and "tireder" (though "tireder" doesn't get underlined by Firefox and doesn't sound as wrong to me, even though "tired" might arguably have two syllables).

CharlieP wrote:Since 1. is binary, it can't logically have a comparative and/or superlative
True binary adjectives can't, but I'd say that most adjectives with a binary sense also have a gradable sense, so "more unique" can mean "unique in more ways" and "more winning" can mean "winning more frequently".

(I would argue that it makes more sense, both etymologically and grammatically, to analyze "first" and "last" as already (contracted) superlatives, than as binary adjectives in their own right.)
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Derek
Posts: 2117
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:15 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Derek » Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:02 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:In British English we would refer to the most successful team/athlete - "winningest" sounds childlike and nonsensical.

"Winningest" has a very specific meaning. It is the greatest number of wins. "Most successful" is far more vague, there are many ways to measure success. Number of wins, number of championships, dominance over competition, strength of competition, etc. "Winningest" is a word coined to refer to a specific one of these, the number of unqualified wins. So when someone discusses the winningest team, that means the team that has more wins than any other team. But this could just be because they're an older team than any other.

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:33 am UTC

This study provides an interesting analysis on frequency of -er/-est forms versus periphrastic more/most for comparison of monosyllabic and disyllabic adjectives. It adds two more classes I might not have thought of (-ow, as in narrower, and -er, as in cleverer) but points out that in the -er and -le classes, periphrasis is now significantly more common. But of course, no rule is truly universal, as gmalivuk's "handsomer" example shows. And there are many monosyllabic adjectives that, while frequently compared, don't usually take the -er/-est endings, such as loanwords.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:23 am UTC

Hmm, looks like I'm in the minority on that one. What about another sporting term that's only come to my attention in the last few years, but may have been in use in the US for longer, namely "medal" as a verb? I'm not sure if I dislike it because verbing weirds language, or because it's too easily confused with its homophone "meddle".
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Carlington
Posts: 1574
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:46 am UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia.

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Carlington » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:29 am UTC

I understand it but wouldn't use it. I'd be more likely to use "place" there, as in "of their last five sprints, they've won two and placed in three"

Winningest is definitely grammatical for me, but only in a very particular context/tone, which would be strongly associated with the sort of showiness popularly imagined around Las Vegas. Something like "alright, now go out there, put on your winningest smile, and show these people a good evening".
Kewangji: Posdy zwei tosdy osdy oady. Bork bork bork, hoppity syphilis bork.

Eebster the Great: What specifically is moving faster than light in these examples?
doogly: Hands waving furiously.

Please use he/him/his pronouns when referring to me.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:27 pm UTC

While I'm here, "blood doning" for "donating blood". Although I've only heard a small number of people saying it.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Lazar
Landed Gentry
Posts: 2151
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:49 pm UTC
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Lazar » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:06 pm UTC

Oh wow, I've never heard that one. It reminds me of the verbs "minus" and "times", which I heard a fair bit in school (even from teachers, occasionally) – although I've never used them myself.
Exit the vampires' castle.

User avatar
jaap
Posts: 2061
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 7:06 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby jaap » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:21 pm UTC

CharlieP wrote:While I'm here, "blood doning" for "donating blood". Although I've only heard a small number of people saying it.

Do you think they are deriving that from blood donor rather than blood donation?
And are they using it for the act of donating blood, or more for the state of being a blood donor?

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:36 pm UTC

Lazar wrote:Oh wow, I've never heard that one. It reminds me of the verbs "minus" and "times", which I heard a fair bit in school (even from teachers, occasionally) – although I've never used them myself.

Those really irritate me too. "Remember, times the numbers before you plus them." Only marginally less annoying than "verse" as a synonym for "challenge."

Aiwendil
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:53 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Aiwendil » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:33 pm UTC

I regularly hear "times" used as a verb by fellow physicists (mostly young ones). It irks me, but I bite my tongue about such things ever since a group of them didn't take kindly to my telling them that they were pronouncing "processes" wrong. (I'd had a few beers, and I believe I suggested that it made them sound both ignorant and pretentious).

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:54 pm UTC

Yeah I stopped correcting people when I realized that however the person speaking may sound, correcting them definitely makes me sound ignorant and pretentious. So now I just get annoyed in silence (like most people in this thread, I assume). After all, as this thread proves, we all say things that annoy other people at various times, and the notions of "correct" and "incorrect" are very slippery when it comes to language.

MarioMariano
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:46 pm UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby MarioMariano » Mon Jul 04, 2016 12:49 pm UTC

"Just sayin'" - most annoying phrase ever :D

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:02 pm UTC

MarioMariano wrote:"Just sayin'" - most annoying phrase ever :D


Ugh. I used to have a co-worker who seeming couldn't say anything without prefacing it with "In fairness" or "To be fair though". :(
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:04 pm UTC

I'm not sure if this fits this thread exactly, but does anybody else hate seeing "a hundred" written as "a 100"? My brain refuses to parse it as anything other than "a one hundred", and it hurts.
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:12 pm UTC

I haven't seen that, honestly. If it's referring to (US) currency, that's fine, but "a one hundred" would also be a sensible utterance in that context. Otherwise I can't really guess what they're going for.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:49 pm UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:I haven't seen that, honestly. If it's referring to (US) currency, that's fine, but "a one hundred" would also be a sensible utterance in that context. Otherwise I can't really guess what they're going for.


No, I mean phrases like "a 100 people". I can't find specific examples because it's quite a hard thing to Google.

EDIT: http://lessonsalive.com/a-100-things/
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:47 pm UTC

Oh, wow. That does, indeed, hurt. And thanks for finding that example.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
Eebster the Great
Posts: 2576
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:41 am UTC

OK that is not remotely as irritating as the inability to select text or right-click on that page.

User avatar
slinches
Slinches get Stinches
Posts: 927
Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:23 am UTC

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby slinches » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:03 pm UTC

And that is almost as irritating as websites that refuse to load text without javascript enabled.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2416
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:16 pm UTC

I think I'd hold them all about even. Any one of the three is going to be exactly enough for me to disregard any content or value the site might contain and move on.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

CharlieP
Posts: 397
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:22 am UTC
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Annoying words, and Words You Hate

Postby CharlieP » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:34 am UTC

I don't mind "text" (as in SMS) being used as a verb, in fact I often do it myself. However, it sets my teeth on edge when I hear people use "text" as the past participle, e.g. "she text me last night to say she was going to be late". Is this common usage?
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


Return to “Language/Linguistics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 9 guests