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Poor English in the media

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Celebaelin
1116311.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:07 am Reply with quote

This irritates me beyond belief and I've finally surrendered to my inner pedant and decided to start this thread. By no means the only one on television recently but I hear it so often it's really setting my teeth on edge.

Quote:
Starburst - unexplainably juicy.

Firstly they're Opal Fruits and no amount of re-branding will persuade me otherwise but secondly and more importantly the word is inexplicably; consequently there's only one word in that slogan without a squiggly red line under it and that's 'juicy'.

 
swot
1116319.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:52 am Reply with quote

I agree. That advert gets on my nerves.

 
Celebaelin
1116326.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:07 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
...consequently...

Bearing in mind the nature of the thread I should correct myself there - the reason why 'Starburst' gets the squiggly treatment is that it isn't a real word whereas both 'Opal' and 'Fruits' are.

PS Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!* It's on again!

* Also not a real word but a justifiable outburst I feel.

 
filofax
1116353.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:42 am Reply with quote

Oh, don't get me started!

I make the effort to have English language TV so that Filoboy will get some benefit from sitting in front of a screen every waking minute of the day, and when I hear newsreaders making mistakes it drives me to the brink of madness.

My major gripes are:

'hung' instead of 'hanged'
misuse of 'begging the question'

and worst of all, constant misuse of 'you and I', as in 'between you and I...'
Aaagggh. Sometimes, 'you and me' is correct!!!!!

 
sally carr
1116359.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:04 am Reply with quote

My bug is people using 'yourself' when 'you. or 'your' would do.

 
RLDavies
1116365.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:21 am Reply with quote

"Starburst" is a perfectly good English word for a particular type of pattern or design. I'll quote Chambers: "a pattern of lines radiating from a central point".

The sweet was renamed to bring the UK name in line with the brand name used elsewhere in the world. Don't confuse brand nostalgia with complaints about the use of English. Brand names are pretty well exempt from ordinary grammatical considerations, anyway.

Anybody can make a slip when speaking live. What really annoys me is when something is scripted and it's been written wrong for no good reason. Non-standard language has its purposes -- for characterisation through dialogue, for rhyme or rhythm, for humorous or other effect. But there's no reason to stick "between you and I" in the middle of an (otherwise) educational children's song, for instance.

 
CB27
1116367.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:28 am Reply with quote

Just reading the first paragraph of the OP, before I even got to the offending advert, I was reminded of Muphrys Law...

 
cornixt
1116420.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:17 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I was reminded of Muphrys Law...

Is that the law where if you are going to write Muphry then you're going to spell it Muphry?

 
PDR
1116432.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:58 am Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
What really annoys me is when something is scripted and it's been written wrong for no good reason.


"Written badly", "written wrongly" or "written incorrectly" surely?

PDR

 
Zziggy
1116433.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:02 pm Reply with quote

Ha, yes, only last night me and my bf were watching TV and saw that advert, turned to each other and said "...do you think they meant inexplicably?"
filofax wrote:
misuse of 'begging the question'

This is one that I have literally never heard used correctly other than when I first learned the term in my Philosophy of Religion class. In fact earlier today I was watching "Animals in Love" (I think it was called that) and the presenter Liz AnimalPresenterLady (whom I like, I just don't know her last name. Sorry Liz.) said something like "so it's clear animals feel emotions, but that begs the question: can they feel love?" - whereas a more accurate sentence might be: "so it's clear animals feel emotions, but this begs the question: love causes animals to mate for life, and something that mates for life must feel emotions."

To be fair though, apart from the irritation that someone has used the phrase again and used it completely incorrectly again, I don't get that irate about this phrase, partly because I think people probably quite rarely have cause to use it properly, and partly because, let's face it, it's doesn't sound like it means what it does mean, and it does sound like it means what it doesn't mean. I had assumed that it was one of those fossil phrases that used to make sense but doesn't any more, but in fact, Wikipedia tells me that it's a mistranslation of the Latin 'petitio principii' (assuming the initial point), so presumably it never made sense as a real phrase.

For a similar reason, I don't get that annoyed when people confuse 'lose' and 'loose', because, you know, I can totally see why you'd think they were the other way round.
filofax wrote:
and worst of all, constant misuse of 'you and I', as in 'between you and I...'
Aaagggh. Sometimes, 'you and me' is correct!!!!!

I once brought my English teacher up on this! She had corrected a sentence of mine - something like "she picked up my grandad and me" and she'd changed it to "and I", and I got to tell her she was wrong (if it sounds like I was probably a dick pupil, let me assure you my English teacher was a massive twunt and being told she was wrong about a small piece of grammar by a 15 year old was so far removed from a just punishment that it is almost a reward.)
sally carr wrote:
My bug is people using 'yourself' when 'you. or 'your' would do.

Am I alone in my experience that it is invariably telesalespeople who do this? Very annoying.

One thing I do find annoying, which has been touched upon before, is the flagrant use of commas when something else is required. This makes general prose quite hard to read in my experience, because I read stuff as it is written and not as the author really meant it to sound, but it is at least ten times more annoying when I see companies do it, I mean YOU'RE REPRESENTING A COMPANY FOR GOD'S SAKE. Or sentences from authors who are clearly so scared of any punctuation at all that they decide nothing is worth the risk and you end up with sentences that leave you out of breath just reading them in your head.

Or misuse of plurals - e.g. "this is a well-documented phenomena" (a real example from a documentary).

There are other things that annoy me though which are the flipside of this. Example: people getting annoyed over using "they" as a third-person singular. What the eff is wrong with that? I can't waste my life saying "he or she" all over the place, and besides, that feels like I'm giving a weird level of importance to the gender of some unknown and probably irrelevant person.

Hmm, didn't really keep this to "the media" did I. Well, it's published now; that counts.

 
suze
1116440.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:12 pm Reply with quote

RLDavies wrote:
Brand names are pretty well exempt from ordinary grammatical considerations, anyway.


But should they be?

There's an increasing trend for companies to abolish apostrophes which ought to be present in company or product names. God alone knows how many millions Boots, Morrisons, and Waterstones paid management consultants in return for the advice "Spell your own name wrongly".

Yet across the pond in the USA, the country where apostrophes in place names are strongly discouraged, McDonald's still has its apostrophe. I dare say McDonald's speaks to management consultants too, but they would appear to be less ignorant ones.

 
Strawberry
1116449.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:37 pm Reply with quote

Zziggy: I think the animal presenter's last name is Bonnin.

 
Zziggy
1116450.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:41 pm Reply with quote

Yup that's her, thanks :)

 
Strawberry
1116454.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:49 pm Reply with quote

It's all right.

 
PDR
1116456.  Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:02 pm Reply with quote

Zziggy wrote:
To be fair though, apart from the irritation that someone has used the phrase again and used it completely incorrectly again, I don't get that irate about this phrase, partly because I think people probably quite rarely have cause to use it properly, and partly because, let's face it, it's doesn't sound like it means what it does mean, and it does sound like it means what it doesn't mean. I had assumed that it was one of those fossil phrases that used to make sense but doesn't any more, but in fact, Wikipedia tells me that it's a mistranslation of the Latin 'petitio principii' (assuming the initial point), so presumably it never made sense as a real phrase.


I always misuse that expression as a matter of deliberate policy because (as you suggest) the original usage is non-sensical. In my view the fact that the original phase is very old does not excuse its utter twaddleness, and it's high time it was corrected.

Quote:

Or misuse of plurals - e.g. "this is a well-documented phenomena" (a real example from a documentary).


See also the world's favourite tautology: the "universal panecea". Both should attract an automatic death sentence IMHO. But then of course we must account for the detail that "tautology" doesn't actually mean what people think it means (a phrase containing a redundant term), so we must also send to the gallows all those who use it to mean anything other than a proposition which is true (or false) regardless of the values of its constituent variables...

Quote:

I can't waste my life saying "he or she" all over the place, and besides, that feels like I'm giving a weird level of importance to the gender of some unknown and probably irrelevant person.


Just default to "he"; the "she" is rarely of any value or significance...

:0)

PDR

 

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