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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Didn't Get the Memo

Don't look now, but language, always alive and evolving, has substituted new words for old for no reason. Most of these words and figures of speech have been around for years now, but bit by bit they've gone from being my own pet peeves to being the only way to say a thing. I don't know when, I don't know why--but I'm relearning how to speak colloquial American English.

It seems that we are all expected to use the word in quotes instead of the word it replaced:

When did a category become a “genre”?

When did a sidewalk become a “hardscape”?

When did a political stand become a political “stance”?

When did the populace become “folks”?

When did problems become “issues”?

When did lemon rind become “lemon zest”?

When did the woods become a “green belt”?

When did God become a “meme”?

When did “said” become “was like”?

When did reframing the question become "pushback"?

Maybe you can add a few others you've noted, particularly from television commentators. I don't want to be the only one pushing the envelope here (by the way, what envelope?).

12 comments:

Steve said...

And when did a good friend become an "enabler"?

Steve said...

A couple or three more:
- a homemade bomb is now an "improvised explosire device" or IED.
- The telephone became a "landline."
- A secretary became an "administrative assistant."
-Kidnap became "extraordinary rendition"

Mary Lois said...

It is what it is. For more on this, click here.

Steve said...

Well, The Obama administration is what it is as well. Further, the problems he "inherited" are nothing more than what he asked for. So there!

Mary Lois said...

Gonna hit me with politics at this point, Steve? I am under the impression that everything is what it is.

Steve said...

Well, it was what it was. I don't think that history is going to judge the Bush presidency so well. Time will, of course, tell. I don't mean to dismiss the sins of our past. Let's just keep our focus on the future. AS Curtis Mayfield penned it, "I Plan To Stay A Believer"

He also wrote "(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Gonna Go"

Jerry Andersen said...

HMMM. Nice to know Steve took my blog seriously. He does so at his own peril.

Mary Lois said...

Is somebody here Bush bashing? I'm way too cool for that.

Carolyn said...

When did reading a good book become a good read? How does one make a verb into a noun?

It is what it is. At the end of the day. Bottom line. Worst case scenario.... Yccch.

My BIGGEST complaint is "due to".
Due to inclement weather, the schools were closed.

I was taught: Respect was due to your parents, your salary was due to you. BECAUSE of inclement etc, etc.

Jess said...

When did Shell Shock become Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I think it was George Carlin in his stage show It's all BS and it' bad for you talked a little about this. I've been gone for a while and am coming back periodically:)

Mary Lois said...

Keep coming back, Jess, and making comments too. PTSD, shell-shock--I kinda like the old way better although neither is good.

Speaking of WWII (which we weren't, I know) there were some interesting movies on Turner Classic yesterday dealing with veterans who were able to use combat techniques in civilian life--and those who experienced what was called shell shock in those days. Lots to think about when we honor our vets.

Anonymous said...

Good Blog. Do one on politically correct words, too.