These Misused Words and Phrases Make Me Immediately Stop Listening
I know I am not the easiest going guy out there. I get that from my pops. My pops, however, was a great guy. What he was not great at though was hearing. Several years in a USMC tank will do that to a man’s hearing. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting at the dinner table and my pops yelling at my older sister, “slow down and enunciate!” With a whole heap of emphasis on the word “enunciate,” so it came out more like “E-NUN-SEE-ATE!” What those dinner-table lessons taught me was simple; if you want people to hear you, and understand what you are saying, you better slow down and know what you are saying. Unfortunately, in 2018 it seems like the vast majority of people are guilty of misused words and phrases and clearly have no idea what they are saying.
Language is important, but you would never know that listening to people speak in 2018. Half the time I am in a conversation I have to parse the different words and phrases I hear uttered, and instead of listening, I have to spend my time figuring out what they were trying to say. This is bad for everybody. I understand this list is going to be as effective as urinating in a tornado, but sometimes you have to get your boots wet if you want to make a change. Part of why I feel the need to share this list is because by misusing words, you weaken their meaning. When you say something, I want to know exactly what it is you are claiming so that I can agree or disagree with your stance and then we can engage in a civil conversation/argument. By diluting the language you are harming society’s ability to engage in discourse, and I believe that is part of why everything in 2018 is so contentious.
Some of these are political, some of these have wiggled their way into the vernacular because “damn their actual definition,” and some are just plain stupid. Also, if you are guilty of using these, you are not stupid. I get it. But you do come off as such when you use them, so stop using them, and sound smarter. So without much further ado, here is my (admittedly) most pedantic article to date so let me unzip and hope the winds do not buffet me too much; here are the Top 8 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018 in order of stupidity and frequency:
No. 1 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Same Exact
The Same Exact phrase you probably use every day. The problem: If something is the same, it is by actual definition exactly the same. “Same Exact” is an exercise in redundancy. People use it for emphasis… only because they have no idea what “same” apparently means. If it is the same, it is “exactly the same.” If it is not, it is similar. This fallback is a glue phrase used by roughly 95% of sports broadcasters and bothers me to no end. The shot came from “the same exact shot.” Ok, it came from the same spot. All I hear is “same same” spot. If not, “that shot came from almost the same spot as before,” or conversely, “that shot came from a similar spot.” This is not a hard one, but for the love of all that is holy, please stop saying “same exact.” There is no need for redundancy in broadcasting and the added emphasis implied makes you sound extra stupid… or… ummm… stupider.
No. 2 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: I Could Care Less
Easy one here. If you “could care less” that means you are caring some amount. In fact, by saying “I could care less,” you are turning the amount you care into a guessing game. So which is it, if you could care less, does that mean you care a little? Do you care a great deal? Let us use an actual phrase, “I could care less about politics.” See, there is an infinite amount of space between you caring, and you not caring at all. Maybe you could care some about voter registration laws… or about wetland conservation. If you “couldn’t care less,” about politics then you are admitting to the other person something like, “screw the State of the Union Address, I watch hockey fights on YouTube during that thing.” Use the contraction for “not” and clear up the issue. This might seem like a weird one to note, but I could really care less about it.
No. 3 Misused Words & Phrases of 2018: Tyrant
Hitler. That guy was a tyrant. Stalin? Yup. Donald Trump? Not so much. You will not find me defending Donald Trump until I am blue in the face. Far from it, but what you will find me doing is defending him against accusations of being a tyrant. A tyrant is somebody that is a cruel and oppressive ruler. Part of the issue with this claim is that it can come off as subjective. I am sure there were some Nazi’s who thought Hitler was anything but cruel and oppressive… to them. Six million Jews and as many as 500,000 (probably closer to 220,000) Roma would obviously beg to differ. This is a bad one to misuse because a tyrant is somebody that should not be allowed to stay in power. Mao Zedong, Stalin, Hitler. Those guys combined for more than 100 million deaths. Pol Pot. Saddam Hussein. Those guys are tyrants. Whether or not you agree with how the American political system picks its president is beside the point; if you call somebody like Donald Trump a tyrant, you are alleviating the atrocities brought to the world by the other men listed above. Trump might be the antithesis of what you think the President should be, but just because you believe his behavior (and certainly his tweets) are unpresidential, does not make him a tyrant.
No. 4 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Literally
I hate you all. Not literally. But man… do I hate the people that use literally when they mean figuratively. This one took off about a decade ago. The influx of people using literally, when they literally meant figuratively, was so overwhelming the dictionary people literally added the figurative meaning of literal to the literal definition of literal<—I LITERALLY HATE THAT THIS SENTENCE MAKES LITERAL SENSE I NOW LITERALLY NEED SOME ADVIL!
No. 5 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Mind-Bottling
This is literally one of the stupidest misused phrases. It is so prevalent however that I have to slow myself down when broadcasting to make sure I am not coming off like an ignoramus. Yes, a good chunk of people use this ironically. To those of you that do, I get it, but please stop. Too many people are using it in an unironic sense and it is mind-boggling. The imagery is actually hilarious and I understand the urge to try and use the phrase, but no… just no. Baffling, mind-boggling, but no, not mind-bottling. If you do use this phrase, please use FedEx and ship your brain to the nearest laboratory so they can run tests to determine how we got so stupid.
No. 6 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: For All Intensive Purposes
This is the one that started my affinity with language. I was guilty of this one until my junior year of high school. I wrote it in a paper and the teacher wrote, “I am pretty sure you mean ‘All intents and purposes.'” I was MORTIFIED. Not because I wrote it wrong in the paper, but because I was saying it all the time incorrectly. I had to ask myself, “why in the world did nobody correct me before this?” The answer; because EVERYONE has this one wrong. This phrase essentially means, effectively or officially. But when used incorrectly (like your dummy author did), it boils down to, “really drastic purposes,” which obviously is a completely different meaning. So yeah, for the purposes of this article, I intensively suck.
No. 7 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Nazi
Unfortunately, this one is coming back into the vernacular because people really do not know their history. There is a slew of words like “Nazi” and “Fascist” that have gained popularity within political debates that is galling. If people read and understood more about history, they would stay away from these unless they truly meant it. “Seinfeld” actually brought it back into vogue with the “Soup Nazi” episode and anybody that blames them for its proliferation is a jackass. That is one of the greatest television episodes of all-time. However, it did make it easier for people to then start using “Nazi” as a descriptor. “Grammar Nazi” soon followed suit and for a while, people left those alone. There was an understanding “we might want to stay away from using Nazi unless we really meant it.”
But in the last handful of years, it has crept back into the lexicon, much to the detriment of society. If you want to use Nazi in connection with David Duke and Richard Spencer. Go ahead. They are White Supremacists and White Nationalist. While Nazism and calling people Nazis should really be kept to just those that were actually a part of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party, I am not going to argue with you if you want to call somebody that thinks the Ku Klux Klan has valid points, or that idolizes Adolf Hitler, a Nazi. Yeah, those guys are the closest things out there to Nazis.
However, calling somebody a Nazi is the worst thing you can call somebody in 2018. I have that ranked past racist merely because a racist does not by definition want the person of the said offending race dead. Yes, those deplorable people might think the offending race is inferior to them, but by their actual definition, they do not want the systematic death and extinction of that offending race. A racist can be a Nazi, but a Nazi is a specific type of racist that wants Ayrans at the top of the pecking order and everyone else wiped off the planet with the exception of a rare few who will serve the Aryans and their “supreme race.”
No. 8 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Further vs. Farther
*Smashes head against wall* Farther is a description of distance, further is not. Back to my profession because this happens all the time in sports broadcasting. “This team is going further in the playoffs,” whereas tnswer; because EVERYONE has this one wrong. This phrase essentially means, effectively or officially. But when used incorrectly (like your dummy author did), it boils down to, “really drastic purposes,” which obviously is a completely different meaning. So yeah, for the purposes of this article, I intensively suck.
No. 8 Misused Words and Phrases of 2018: Further vs. Farther
*Smashes head against wall* Farther is a description of distance, further is not. Back to my profession because this happens all the time in sports broadcasting. “This team is going further in the playoffs,” whereas that quarterback “had to throw the ball just a little farther to get it away from the free safety.” Before using these two, ask yourself, “Am I talking about distance?” Yes? FARTHER. Am I not? FURTHER. I can explain it more, but if you made it this far into the article, “you’re the man now dog!”