Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Abusage

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  • Jake Pollock,

    do you give someone a reality check, or do you write them a reality cheque

    I guess that depends on whether they're waiting on line or standing in a queue.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'd love to know who coined the phrase "to coin a phrase".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16599 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    People also often desire to colour and emphasise their language - saying "absolutely"

    I agree. I do it myself. My objection is to its use when it's plain from the context that the speaker is simply confirming or agreeing, and no emphasis or intensifier is intended.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    >If a price list has big leaps between different levels, then
    >the word "quantum" is very appropriate to convey that.
    >Quantity doesn't mean the same thing.

    But Rich, 'quantum' doesn't actually mean a big leap between levels. This is how the Merriam Webster online dictionary defines it:
    n 1: how much there is of something that you can measure [syn: measure,
    quantity, amount]
    2: (physics) the smallest quantity of some physical property
    that a system can possess (according to quantum theory)

    In the example I used (Jane Clifton's column), she is using a pretentious alternative to 'amount'.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Commentator from the US (of course) on Morning Report last week talking about the California bush fires.

    “This current one is the most impactful of the lot” Dreadful.


    I also think it’s a real tragedy how the word tragedy is overused. Giving 110% is another of my pet hates.

    But not quite as much as when people go on about something called the All Black brand

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    So many absolutely heinous linguistical crimes, recorded for prosterity, what a quantum effort by yous all!

    If I was American, I'd call it a "bunch"!

    Oh no, my brain might explode!

    Alas, the worse crime of all has not been noted.
    One to which I am radioactively exposed daily in my dangerous line of work.

    "Going forward, ..."

    My brain just exploded, and I ran out of explanation marks. Not points. Period. Fullstop. End of story.

    (p.s. when did NZers start saying "pissed" when they mean "pissed off"? Surely this marks the beginning of a nucular winter? Or peak oil? Answers on the back of a postcard to...)

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 633 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Speaking of americanisations, I have to say that I detest using the word "store" to denote shop. Hate it. Or vacation, which is slowly creeping in.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    At the end of the day we need to move on, make the appropriate response and ensure it never happens again.

    Ban these words and see what our politicians have left to say.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Somewhere back in the comments someone mentioned "impact".

    There's a religious advertisement on TV some mornings where they proclaim that "Jesus will impact your life". I used to laugh and say "Jesus will impact your teeth!"

    They need an "on"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Heh and at [__Hadyn's place of work__] we use "matrix" or "framework" instead of "table" and "graph" instead of "chart" (though that's pretty common)

    "Going forward" has gone away, but now we are "future focused".

    We are also warned to look out for "weasel words"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2081 posts Report Reply

  • Rachel Prosser,

    describing hospital passes as "average

    I think average rugby is like the trend in coffee naming. Heaven forbid that anyone sold anyone something "small" so the smallest sizes are instead called "tall" or "regular".

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 225 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Many an AB ballsup (or any of our professional rugby teams for that matter) have shocking handling errors, kicks or performances in general described in harsh terms like "average", "didn't have a great game", "will be disappointed with", or they simply won't even describe it at all.

    You've missed the John Drake special, inevitably delivered after a player has completely lost composure and cost his team points or a penalty, or dropped the ball, or missed a tackle:

    "He's better than that."

    Well clearly, he isn't.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Speaking of which, I'm going to punch on the side of the head the next person that, asked by me if they feel like a hot drink, replies "I'll have a coffee, but only if you're making one."

    See they're actually just complimenting your coffee-making skills. They won't drink anyone else's rubbish.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I'm totally all over this thread.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 723 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I don't read the Listener, but maybe when Jane Clifton said "the quantum of the new road charge is an issue" she meant "the sudden large jump in the new road charge is an issue", then maybe "quantum" is a reasonable term. It's a reasonable analogy with its scientific meaning, where it refers to a sub-atomic particle moving from one energy state to another.

    The phrase "the amount of the new road charge is an issue" doesn't mean the same.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    People also often desire to colour and emphasise their language - saying "absolutely" (or "you bet", "sure can", "does it rain in Melbourne", "are the bears Catholic" or "does the Pope shit in the woods") achieves this.

    Rich, I thought it was "If the Pope shat in a funny hat in the woods with nobody around to hear it would he make a sound?"

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    To the bears, he would.

    BTW, did you know that the word "petard" derives from the verb "péter", meaning to fart? As in "The farty little bomb of team NZ was hoist on the harbour bridge".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    On the coffee front, what's wrong with indicating that a visitors desire for coffee is enough to consume one, should it be freely furnished, but not enough to inconvenience the other party to make one solely for the visitors benefit?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Since Nov 2006 • 868 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    Ohrwurm alert.

    Absolutely an album by Madness. Contains a track Embarrassment which includes the lyrical gem “__I’m feeling twice as oldah, I’m feeling twice as oldah__”. Coincidentally released on the Stiff label. (Cue Saxaphone solo).

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 723 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    You know what this thread needs? Eggcorns, that's what.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1855 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    Bart:

    Oh and while I love the spell checker is there a way to make it stop suggesting that colour is spelt incorrectly?

    You can set your operating system language to English (New Zealand) to fix this. I believe most word processors allow you to set the dictionary too, so switching it to UK or New Zealand English should help.

    That Eggcorn site hurts my brain...though I admit wreckless driving is a good one.

    Also, I heart this thread.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    >I don't read the Listener, but maybe when Jane Clifton
    >said "the quantum of the new road charge is an issue" she
    >meant "the sudden large jump in the new road charge is
    >an issue", then maybe "quantum" is a reasonable term.

    Sorry, Rich, I know this is getting tedious, but ... I don't think this (above) is what Jane Clifton meant.

    My point is that because she used the silly, pretentious and ill-defined word 'quantum' it's not at all clear what she did mean. Why didn't she just use standard English? I love your alternative wording! It is so .. forceful!

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    OK, if we're getting in touch with our inner pedant could someone please taser the next journalist who can't tell (or just doesn't care about) the difference between "refute" and "deny"? I expect professional communicators to be a little more accurate and precise in their langauge than Winston Peters. It's hardly an onerous bar to clear, after all. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I expect professional communicators to be a little more accurate and precise in their langauge than Winston Peters

    And proof read their copy better than I do. :) L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

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