Homing In And Heart-Rending

11 02 14 - 19:18

One can not "Hone In" one can only "Home In."

And sad things are either "Heart-Rending" or "Gut-Wrenching" but not a combination.

Sadly, these two are invariably misspoken by people on CNN.  Why these?  Why them?  Why?  Why?  Why?


Transitive Verbs

10 02 14 - 21:06

Waitstaff again.  After one is served, it is incumbent upon a waitperson to come back to the table and ask if the customers need anything else.  That used to be what waitpeople asked.  Recently, for some strange reason, waitpeople have started saying, "How is everything tasting?"  What could this possibly mean?  Isn't tasting a transitive verb?  How is everything tasting what?  How did this aberration emerge?  Is this another case of sef-actualized living-in-the-now?  Why can't waitpeople ask in a non-sefl-actualized fashion, "How does everything taste?"  Or, more to the point, "Can I bring you anything else?"

Update 7/2/15: I have ceded this point.  It is not possible to explain grammar to a waitperson.  I surrender.


No Problem

10 02 14 - 20:59

There are restaurants in which people serve -- or wait on -- patrons.  These people are known as waitresses and waiters or collectively, the waitstaff.  By definition, their job is to wait on customers.  Recently, a trend has developed wherein requests to the waitstaff are greeted with a reply that it would be "no problem."  How is that relevant?  Who cares if it is or isn't a problem for the waitperson?  To drive home this point, although I would never shortchange any waitperson of a tip (I waited in my youth, and I know how hard it is), once recently, I encountered a waitress who replied to my requests by saying, "It would be my pleasure."  I was so pleasantly surprised, that I made note of it to her, encouraged her to keep it up, and doubled her tip.


The New Mediocracy

10 02 14 - 20:49

There has been a disturbing trend lately.  Call it the Tony-Robbins-Self-Empowerment-Syndrome or the self-reinvention movement or whatever other New Age term you please.

The post-modern concept of "living in the now" or being self-actualized has led to people of limited linguistic range reinventing our language.

When drones use words like "ask" or "spend" as substitutes for other nouns, we all suffer.  For example, I encountered a salesperson in a corporate setting recently who was able to confirm one of our requirements by saying and writing "The ASK is ..."  The ASK is?  What was wrong with the perfectly useful term -- which is actually a term of art in the industry in question -- requirement.  And what about expenditure?

This is a slippery slope.  If we let the middle managers start defining our language, it will not be long before we are back in caves painting on the walls.



10 02 14 - 20:47

Opinion Only!  This blog does not represent the views of any person real or imagined.