Is there a name for this literary pet peeve?


“CostCo’s raison d’etre, or reason for existence, is providing great deals to its customers.”

I have a vague notion that I was taught this in school, but now it just seems like good common sense. If you’re going to use a word or expression in your writing that you don’t think your reader is going to understand, then don’t use it. Using the word/expression and then immediately defining it just wastes letters and risks insulting your readers.

The exception is children’s shows, which do this all the time and have taught my kids a lot of words that I wouldn’t have thought they were ready for.

It’s a not-so-clever way of saying: “Look how smart I am, and look at how dumb you are!”

Funny you should mention children’s shows, I remember one show that my little sister watched occasionally that had the same exact dialog in both English and Spanish. It was annoying because while I am far from a fluent Spanish speaker, the basic words I grok enough to not have to translate in my head so to me, they were saying the exact same thing twice in my mind.

Pairing condescension with information? Sound’s like Cecil.

The name is Costco, not CostCo.

For all the times I’ve seen that logo I always thought the second C was big. Thanks for the correction.

We’re the SDMB. Nitpicks are our raison d’etre, or reason for existence.

Ah, there is something, some je ne sais quoi that I like about that sorta thing.

Now add some EVOO, that’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but I just say EVOO to save time, see how much time I saved?

Way to STWA.

Michael Scott: Everybody in here stat. No time to lose. CRIMAN Squa F and C double time.
Dwight Schrute: CRIMAN Squa?
Michael Scott: Crisis management squad.
Ryan: F and C, double time?
Michael Scott: Front and center, twice as fast as you would normally go. Any other questions?
Jim Halpert: One more. Why are you talking like that?
Michael Scott: To save time, Jim.


I suppose I prefer that over the practice I see in some books where they just use the french phrase and then never define it. It makes me feel so uncool.

And you think adults never need to, and never enjoy, learning new aspects of their language? What is the cut-off age when we know everything we need to and trying to teach us more is insulting? Or is it that we are supposed to begrudge other adults, who don’t yet know some particular expression that we ourselves happen to already know, the chance to learn it?

What annoys me about the statement in question is that it is a baldfaced lie. Costco’s raison d’être, like all capitalistic corporations, is to make money. Providing great deals is, at best, a means to that end, and one that the company would drop in a heartbeat if they found a more effective and still sustainable way of squeezing money out of people.

Well, if the entertainment industry is any indication, then the cutoff is about 5. After that you’re expected to look things up on your own if you don’t know them. I remember reading as a kid with a dictionary next to my bed.

Of course, now I have a smartphone so I don’t need to know anything.

My peeve is for people who use an Important Term (IT), and then the acronym for it, and then don’t use the acronym again. Or, even worse, they go ahead and use Important Term again, in which case, the fuck use is the acronym?

Being Dan Brown?

Wow. I came in to suggest Dan Brown Syndrome, named for the man who wrote a novel about Renaissance art set entirely in France for people who didn’t know what the Renaissance was or where France is.

I just find the “or [definition]” construction annoying. You’re working in print. You can use parentheses. Or if you must try to sound like a natural conversation, try using something, you know, natural sounding, e.g. “Costco’s raison d’etre is finding great deals for its customers. It’s the reason the company exists.”

And, yes, the basic reason for defining a term is that you intend to continue using the term after the initial definition.

Whenever I see the phrase raison d’etre, I mentally translate it as "earth grape."That’s raisin de terre.