That makes you sound dumb.

My biggest pet peeve is otherwise bright and articulate people who repeatedly make little mistakes in throwaway “smartspeak” that make them sound verrry stupid. Okay, if you can’t pronounce something you NEED to say, that’s cool, but setting yourself up for a fall? Come on, people!

I just heard TWO out of the SAME PERSON:

“Well we shouldn’t go on arguing about it now, because we can’t do anything about it, so it’s a mute(sic) point.”

“For all intensive(sic) purposes, the discussion is over.”


That sort of thing drives me crazy, too–mainly because I take it as an indication that those otherwise bright and articulate people have never picked up a book that wasn’t assigned for class (and, all too often, not even then.) To me, it clearly indicates that they have heard the phrases in question but never seen them in print. What is really scary, though, is that the same types of mistakes are starting to appear in professional publications. Apparently if the spell-check program doesn’t think it’s an error, it’s not an error.

It could be the other way around: they’ve seen them in print but never heard them, so they’re not sure how to pronounce it.

Okay, that’s probably NOT the case with the two examples above, but I thought for years that “superfluous” was pronounced identically to “superfluid” up until the final syllable. It wasn’t until high school when I actually heard a teacher say it aloud that I realized I had been wrong.

My boss, who is an extremely bright and well-educated person, consistently mispronounces “potpourri” as “pot-poor-ee”. Every time he does it I cringe and he uses it very frequently. Unfortunately, I think my window of opportunity for correcting him has come and gone so I’ll just have to continue to grin and bear it.

“If ignorance were corn flakes, you’d be General Mills.”
Cecil Adams
The Straight Dope

I have a co-worker who has a habit of throwing big words into his conversations. Unfortunately, he frequently doesn’t remember the actual word he’s trying for. Usually this results in a non-sequitur like using “ascertain” for “acclimate” or “entrepreneur” for “overseer”. But at one point he was using the word “recant” in the exact opposite meaning of its actual definition.

Me: “Did you get a chance to talk to that guy and see if we can get any more information about what happened?”
Him: “Yes, I talked to him and he recanted his original story.”
Me: “So now he says it never happened?”
Him: “No, he recanted it.”
Me: “?”

Checking out the one-list website a few weeks ago, and someone had started a list for fans of Steven [sic] King.

Another had a list for people who wanted to talk about masterbation.

I guess I can understand the second mistake – it’s hard to hold a book with one hand, but the first one? Nope.

The one I seem to see all the time in my world is insure/ensure/assure. Not the same words. Different meanings. Please know which one you mean.


Fiat Justitia

What effects me is where supposubly smart people go “I went to colledge,” irregardless of there dumb grammer and mispellings.

I can guarantee that this is the case, in at least some cases. (While ‘all intensive purposes,’ of course isn’t ‘mute point’ could very well be.)

I am like that. Sizable vocabulary, but I mispronounce quite a few words, as I’ve only read them, not heard.

Interesting side effect. After I’ve gotten used to my mispronunciations, when I finally hear the word pronounced properly, I file it away as a different word - so I end up considering a word its own synonym.

‘They couldn’t hit an Elephant from this dist…!’

Last words of General John Sedgwick

Tenn -
Lucky for you I have finnished my beer (moniter still wurks tho),and a nicle for every time I misspelled colledge and corrected it before I post I wish I had.

A point in every direction is like no point at all

But seriously, I do put a d in college and then erase it after it looks wrong … Must be the engineer genes :slight_smile:


Will someone please tell me where the word “irregardless” came from??? Cripes, I want to just smack the crap out of every person I hear using it! Except for TennHippie, of course. I’m not a colledge gradgitate, but I got the joke.

Funny, my husband and I were just discussing funny mispronounciations. Things you see in print and always think they sound a certain way until you hear someone else say them correctly. My grandparents used to refer to their lizard as a CHAM-e-lon. My dad once refered to someone’s burial place as a ma-ZOL-e-um. And for the longest time I thought a hairy man was her-SWEET, instead of her-SUIT. My friend Shirley calls these “reading words.” (Her sister once refered to someone being MY-silled, and after some discussion it turned out she meant “misled.”) Stuff you’ve seen a jillion times in books but no one really says much in real life.

Speaking of improper or slang things sneaking into actual writing, I couldn’t believe it when I was reading an article in our local paper about a recent multi-level embezzling scandal in a charity and they had a paragraph something along the lines of:

“the manager of that location had blamed the loss on the district manager, who claimed he didn’t know Jack about it.”

I swear to God! I fell out of my chair laughing. This wasn’t a direct quote from said person, it was the writer’s own paraphrasing – and this somehow made it past an editor!

Vogue! No way! That’s hilarious! Is that paper online? I’ve got to see that!

TennHippie, them supposebly smart colledge graduate’s also effect me the same way. Them people don’t know Jack about grammer. And congradulation’s on spotting those word’s.

Obviously, they don’t no what there talking about, but maybe they will find out in do course. Whatever, it’s a mute point now.

Thank’s for bringing up an “intensive” topic, stolichnaya. I’ve got to go renew my magazine prescription now.

My dearest friend says “borrow” when she means “loan”.

For example:
“Oh, you haven’t read this book? I’ll borrow it to you, if you want.”

She’s also working on her MBA.

But she’s from a way northern part of Minnesota - could it be a colloquialism?

It is much easier to see ourselves as better than or even worse than, rather than accepting that we simply are. - John “The Penguin” Bingham

What I find annoying are journalists trying to look clever and quoting something in another language. That’s fine and dandy if you want to do that, but at least spell in properly. It’s not “coup de gras”, it’s “coup de grâce”!

Some drink at the fountain of knowledge…others just gargle.

Cristi: Regardlessis the proper word, irrespective of the common use of the nonsensical irregardless.

I dislike those who use “contact” as a verb. And people who use “infer” and “imply” interchangably.


OK, say someone strongly resembles someone else. Is he the spit and image or the spitting image of the other guy? Help.

Sucks to your assmar.