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What words get on your nerves?


James Thurber once made fun of words such as "gifted" in this way: "We can sleep 8 people in our house, but we can only eat 6."

The government shouldn’t ban words. But here’s my list.

By Kathleen Parker Opinion writer December 19 at 8:07 PM

The recent excitement over an incredible story about the government trying to ban certain words reminded me of all the words and phrases I despise and wish were banned.

The Post reported Friday that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been forbidden from using seven words as they prepared their 2019 budget documents. The words were: “vulnerable,” “diversity,” “entitlement,” “fetus,” “transgender,” “science-based” and “evidence-based.”

Everybody went bonkers on cue.

Pro-choice activists insisted that such word changes were an attempt to thwart abortion rights. The CDC pushed back and denied the ban. CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald went straight to Twitter, writing: “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.”

What really happened? It’s hard to know for sure at this point. The Post sees a heavy-handed silencing, but National Review’s Yuval Levin offers a different explanation. According to Levin’s sources, the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, issued a style guide to departments for the preparation of budget documents. Included were three of the words mentioned above — “vulnerable,” “diversity” and “entitlement” — with the suggestion that they be used as little as possible because they were either used too often or incorrectly.

Levin was also told that other, more intriguing words were mentioned in a meeting as possible “trigger” words that might so upset congressional Republicans that they’d slash funding. These were “fetus”, “science-based,” “evidence-based” and “transgender.” In some cases, alternatives were suggested, such as “unborn child” for “fetus.” In other words, if you want those people — congressional Republicans — to fund us, don’t use language they don’t like.

One could call this “Oh, my God, they’re trying to ban words!” Or, one could call it common sense. CDC guys worried that “science-based” would so frighten Republicans that they’d kill their budget.

Obviously, the government shouldn’t ban words, but there’s no reason a columnist, who gets to be queen for about 750 words, can’t take a stab. My own personal list begins with nouns that have been “repurposed” as verbs.

When a friend recently said to me that she hadn’t been “gifted” in a long while, I thought (to myself), “So I see.” Then, “lo and behold,” (a phrase that will be allowed at Christmastime), I was informed by a linguist that “to gift” has been a verb since 1550. He noted, however, that he would have interpreted my friend’s statement as meaning that she hadn’t been given (as a gift) in a while.

“Awesome” isn’t anymore. “Snowflake” produces more ennui than insult. “Pivot,” “veritable,” “in reality” and “best practices” wear us down. As do: “reach out,” “share” and “think outside the box.” “Own” it, if you must, but I’d sell it on eBay.

“Breaking news” IS news. It’s “devastated,” not “decimated.” You don’t “effort,” for heaven’s sake. You make an effort. Or, maybe just try.

Where is all this “low-hanging fruit,” if you don’t mind my asking. And, no, you’re not recording me “for quality and training purposes.” You’re collecting profane diatribes to read at the company holiday party. Nice try. Or just “nice.” Sick. Stop it.

We’re not going to “unpack” anything, unless you’re my valet, or “drill down,” unless you’re the plumber. We’re sick of “optics,” “mansplaining,” “onboarding” and “THIS,” as in “what she said.” We’ve had it with “closure” and “ideating,” as well as “doubling down on” “the whole nine yards.” No one is “woke.”

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the fact of the matter is we were all vulnerable as fetuses, some of whom were surely bound to become transgender because evidence-based diversity is what it is.

But, no worries. It’s all good. Believe me. Bigly.

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12/20/2017, 1:40 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


You should post this in the freak-out thread about the CDC banning words, belle.

To answer your question, "prepone."
12/20/2017, 1:52 pm Link to this post PM gopqed Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


I would have, gopquy, but that thread had turned into a discussion of another subject.
12/20/2017, 2:48 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


Lots of American words and constructions really grate,

'drugged' (instead of 'dragged')
'intuited' (heard that one yesterday)

'dialoging'
'conversating'
'burgularized'
'acclimate'
'bachelorette'(which doesnt even make sense)
'cremains' (contraction of cremated remains)
'gotten'
'snuck'

sorry American readers but those words 'grind my gears' (heard that on Family Guy)
12/20/2017, 4:59 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


in no particular order
war on Christmas
party of Reagan (no it's not)
with all due respect (usually followed by no respect)
a no-brainer
settled science
global denier or any denier when i think about it.
i have a bone to pick with you.

These words, really sayings get on my nerves. NO i don't want them banned.




Last edited by snowpixie, 12/20/2017, 5:39 pm
12/20/2017, 5:26 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


I've never heard "drugged" for "dragged," Mais Oui. Did you mean "drug" for "dragged"?
12/20/2017, 6:07 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


quote:

Did you mean "drug" for "dragged"?



probably - its possibly I didnt hear it correctly over my screams of NO!
12/20/2017, 6:36 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


Although I don't use the word "gotten" it is an older form and is not objectionable to me. Got - gotten cf forgot and forgotten.
12/20/2017, 6:39 pm Link to this post PM Yobbo
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


"Gotten" is perfectly good American English.
12/20/2017, 7:21 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


quote:

mais oui wrote:

Lots of American words and constructions really grate,

'drugged' (instead of 'dragged')
'intuited' (heard that one yesterday)

'dialoging'
'conversating'
'burgularized'
'acclimate'
'bachelorette'(which doesnt even make sense)
'cremains' (contraction of cremated remains)
'gotten'
'snuck'

sorry American readers but those words 'grind my gears' (heard that on Family Guy)



Those are mostly words of the less educated, they may be different types of words than you're used to but all English speaking countries misuse words when lower educated. I assume that is true for all countries as well.
12/20/2017, 7:42 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


The word 'intuited' which I heard for the first time yesterday was used by a cardiothoraic surgeon!


But yes most of those words are used by the less educated particularly those from the southern states.

I think that bachelorette is in common useage the 'ette' usually indicates a smaller version of something (cigar(ette)) so bachelorette makes no sense.
12/20/2017, 7:50 pm Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


I read the history, coined in 1896 but not commonly used till the 1960's, you have hen parties, we have bachelorette parties. In daily use no one here I have heard uses the term other than the reality show for a single woman.
12/20/2017, 8:18 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


Mais oui, your opinion of the intelligence of the inhabitants of the southern states is noted. Both Jaques Barzun, editor of "Modern American Usage" (Hill and Wang, 1966) and Bryan A. Garner, in "Garner's Modern American Usage" (Oxford University Press, 2003), list "gotten" as the progressive past participle of "get." Garner goes so far as to say, "As recently as the early 20th century, some British writers lambasted the American form. Consider this misbegotten advice: 'America need not boast of the use of "gotten." The termination, which suggests either wilful archaism or useless slang, adds nothing of sense or sound to the word. It is like a piece of dead wood in a tree, and is better lopped off.' Others, however noted that 'gotten' was the standard British English form as late as the early 20th century."
12/20/2017, 11:50 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


quote:

Mais oui, your opinion of the intelligence of the inhabitants of the southern states is noted.



I dont know what you think I said but I said NOTHING that impugns the intelligence or education of those in the southern states.

some people in southern states are less well educated than others - if that such a outrageous thing to suggest?

Americans do not speak English (any more than they use English system of weights and measures) they use a language based on English which is mutually intelligible with English. there are things in American English which sound odd to an English speaker - just as there are doubtless things in English which sound odd to an American speaker.

12/21/2017, 12:03 am Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


Your suggestion isn't off, several of the southern states rate the lowest year after year, as do some of the poor urban areas that lack money or don't put money into education. You recognize it anywhere, not just the incorrect words but the accents, riding a bus/tube in London made me want to scream. Since we're on about it's the Australians that grate more on me rather than the English or Americans, which is unpleasant enough. Overall it seems the Canadians and Kiwis fare better in the 'proper' language dept.
12/21/2017, 12:47 am Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


In NZ I get the occasional scoff directed at me for being a posh Pom.
There are accents from England that drive me nuts, such as Birmingham while some American speech patterns do the same. Jeremy Clarkson belittles them all the time.

Australians think Kiwis say "fush 'n' chups" while Kiwis think Aussies say "feesh 'n' cheeps".
12/21/2017, 12:58 am Link to this post PM Yobbo
 
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It is strange what is offensive to someone's ear and another not. I find Burrrrmingham accents sweet. Clarkson belittles everyone, he's a right plonker. emoticon
12/21/2017, 3:38 am Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


The Australian upward inflection is a bit annoying as is their habit of adding 'o' to the end of abbreviated words and personal names
Birmingham isnt the most attractive accent in UK but its not ugly - unlike Esturine (Essex and some London accents) or Scouse (Liverpool). The main problem with Birmingham /Wolverhampton accents is that the speaker sounds stupid, you could be the regis professor of smart in Oxford university but with a Birmingham accent you sound stupid!


Clarkson (who is an ass) used to speak with an East Yorkshire accent - he soon lost that!
12/21/2017, 9:25 am Link to this post PM mais oui Blog
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


A very interesting construction I came across recently in a novel is "was stood." "He was stood at the edge of the crowd." I didn't remember ever having seen that before. I think it was in a Tana French novel.

Here is what Wiki says about Tana French:
Tana French (born 1973) is an Irish novelist and theatrical actress born in Vermont. Her debut novel In the Woods (2007), a psychological mystery, won the Edgar,[1] Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for best first novel. She lives in Dublin.[2] The British online newspaper, The Independent, has referred to her as the First Lady of Irish Crime, "who very quietly has become a huge international name among crime fiction readers."

I mulled over the construction and finally thought it was comparable to "was seated." It still sounds funny.
12/21/2017, 2:06 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: What words get on your nerves?


I'll have to check out Tana French as a possible Christmas gift for my wife. Not Tana herself, but one of her books.
12/21/2017, 2:14 pm Link to this post PM gopqed Blog
 
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They are absolutely excellent books, gopquy. My favorite is "Likeness." It's the best imposter book I have ever read, in which a detective impersonates a murder victim in order to catch the murderer. What, if anything, will give the imposter away?
12/21/2017, 3:17 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 


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