The following five words and phrases are all too common these days, and they just don’t make any sense. I’m not talking about euphemistic idioms like “rule of thumb,” or “raining cats and dogs.” No, no, no. These are far worse. See, the aforementioned colloquialisms are just figurative expressions derived from some old superstition or myth. But the following phrases are seemingly innocent until you really break them down and realize that they are nonsensical, overused terminology that should be completely banned before they take over and render the entire English language incomprehensible.
Same difference: This is something that is often said to me in an exasperated tone after I finish a lengthy explanation as to something like how schizophrenia is not the same as multiple personality disorder. When someone says “same difference,” they most likely mean that two things are the same, not that they actually have the same difference. When I confronted someone about his usage of this phrase, he explained to me that it does indeed make sense because if one house was blue and another was pink, they would have the same difference; the difference being color. Um, right. If you’re using logic like that, then sure, by all means, schizophrenia is exactly the same as multiple personality disorder.
Relatable: This is used so often, it’s hard to believe that it’s actually a made up word. See, let’s say that you’re reading the story of a Russian family and how they have to cope with the loss of their beloved family cat, and the narrators name is Olga. You might say that you like the story because Olga is a relatable character. What you really mean is that one can easily relate to Olga. Words like relate, that need a “to” added before you can apply them to a noun, cannot be made into –able words. Take “sing” for example. Maybe Olga often sang to her pet cat; this would not make the cat singable.
I could care less: This one is absolutely ridiculous, because people who use it mean the exact opposite of what they’re saying! When you say this, you probably are not trying to convey that you care a measurable amount. You probably mean that you don’t care at all, in which case you should say, “I could NOT care less.”
Irregardless: This is another made up word, but is more like “I could care less” in the sense that it means the opposite of what the person is trying to say. “Irregardless” is used most often by pseudo-intellects who will spout whatever verbal atrocities it takes for people to think they’re smart. "Ir" as a prefix means “not” or “the opposite of,” so just don’t add that extra syllable and you’ll be set.
Literally: Okay, so this one does make sense, but only if you use I to mean “actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy,” which NO ONE does.
Classmate: “It took me literally ten years to do my homework last night.”
Me: "Wow, really?! I didn’t know you have a time machine, can I see it?"
I’ll admit that I’ve been trampled by the bandwagon of people saying these phrases, and may have said "relatable" or used "literally" incorrectly a few times. But now that the truth is out about these nonsensical disgraces to language, we should all make an effort to eliminate them from our vocabulary.
Post by friffel!
What are your biggest language pet peeves? Do you agree with friffel about "literally," or do you side with Dan B.?