Archive for the ‘Peeving’ Category

Like, uptalk, and Miami

September 10, 2013

I’ll start with a three-strip series from One Big Happy:




The two features at issue here — the discourse particle like and “uptalk” (a high rising intonation at the end of declaratives) — have been much discussed in the linguistic literature. The popular, but inaccurate, perception is that both are characteristic of young people, especially teenagers, especially girls, and both features are the object of much popular complaint.


Rebranding and mustiness

March 7, 2013

News reports before and after the Academy Awards ceremonies this year made much of the rebranding of the event — as The Oscars, with no mention of Academy Awards during the show or in its promotional materials. The problem with Academy Awards? It sounds “musty”.


laughing out loudly

February 4, 2013

The German correspondent of “Another invented rule” writes with another teacher-inspired query, going back to when he was a senior in high school. His story (lightly edited):

I had an English teacher back then, who abhorred (still abhors) AmE, and preferred BrE. He is neither American nor is he British. He’s German. According to him, Americans cannot speak English.

One day, we were asked to write a letter. We had to create a story of two people who are pen pals and who love sharing each other’s everyday stories.

I made up a story, wrote it down, and in one line I had written.. I was laughing out loud….

After a few days we got our homework back. What struck me the most was that he had marked laughing out loud as a mistake. Above, he he had written laughing out loudly.

Now that I’ve checked on the Corpus of Contemporary American English, there is no entry with an -ly ending. But when I type laugh out loud, I get many results.

My question for you is : Was my teacher correct? If not, why is it wrong to say “laughing out loudly”?

High marks to my correspondent for checking COCA, rather than relying on raw googling, since web searches will yield a respectable number of instances of laughing out loudly (and even a few of laughing aloudly), though these are wildly outnumbered by the standard English (Br or Am) laughing out loud.


The war on errorism

November 29, 2012

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Keeping up the paranoid sense of threat in the world of grammar, style, and usage, and combining errorism as a play on terrorism with the snowclonelet composite X police, in this case the very common grammar police (most recent posting here).


Spelling rage

August 25, 2012

Passed on by Edith Maxwell on Facebook, this New Yorker cartoon by Jack Ziegler:

Misspellings on menus have many sources. Many are typos of the simplest sort (inadvertent transpositions, anticipations, perseverations, etc.), and a great many are “ear spellings”, as Ceasar salad probably is here. Some are generalizations from the spelling of other expressions, as the hyphenated osso-buco might be here (cf. chaud-froid).

Some people annoy restaurateurs by writing corrections in on the menus. Others just complain. I have yet to see someone refuse to order a dish because its name was misspelled on the menu, or walk out of a restaurant because of its spelling, but who knows what spelling rage might do to people?


Annals of nouning (and peeving)

August 23, 2012

Ben Zimmer points me to a Harry Shearer Le Show podcast of 8/19/12 in which (16:32-18:50) Shearer rants about nounings he doesn’t like (especially from British English and biztalk): big ask, big spend, and fail. And then on ADS-L, reports of money suck ‘money sink’.


Caring less

August 6, 2012

Via Eleanor Houck on Facebook, this poster from Grammarly:

Grammarly is peeving obtusely here, affecting to misunderstand an idiom — could care less — that’s been around for at least 60 years and is now a commonplace. No modern speaker should fail to understand the intended meaning of the idiom.


The comma-swatter

July 30, 2012

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Oh my. Arnold the fussy grammarian. (Arnold is an intrinsically funny name, it seems.)

But that should be garmmrian, not grammarian.


Off-putting grammar

July 12, 2012

… or maybe “grammar”, we can’t tell. On an ecard:

Since the “hideous grammar” came in a text message, I suspect that it was garmmra that was at issue.

Cards like this, and posters of similar sort, lie in some borderland of the cartoons/comics world: they combine text and art, but they aren’t framed as cartoons. One step further, and you get text-only posters, bumper stickers, buttons, magnets, etc. — which nevertheless exhibit artistry in the choice of fonts and colors and the placement of the words.


Split those infinitives!

July 12, 2012

In a posting by Stan Carey yesterday (“How awkwardly to avoid split infinitives”), this Ozy and Millie cartoon: