9 Words - Do You Know What They Mean?
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Posted by Kelly (+2706) 12 years ago
In case you have not noticed, cracked.com is becoming one of my favorite websites. Here is one for the grammarians...

http://www.cracked.com/ar...think.html

I have to admit I've used "plethora" incorrectly.

[This message has been edited by Kelly (11/22/2009)]
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
I almost never hear the word "irregardless" anymore. Maybe people have finally gotten the message?

I have a real beef with people using "enormity" incorrectly. Supposedly well-read and educated media people often use it to mean something that's "weawwy, weawwy big." Yes, yes, the dictionary will show a second meaning, but it's not the original meaning of the word and there is no reason to abandon it. Bah!

Another word that should be on that list is "infamous". It does not mean "really famous". There was an article in the Star last summer which used that word incorrectly. My mom and I laughed because in the context of the article the true meaning was pretty funny.

And another is "myriad". It's not a noun, people! You can't have a myriad of anything! You can have myriad things, however.

Dammit, Kelly. See what you've started.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 12 years ago
Meanings change over time. Bemused has wandered back from meaning confused to amused to confused and back. The word "nice" used to mean insipid. Jane Austen wrote to her sister about attending a "nice" party and we don't know, because the meaning was shifting at the time, whether it was an insult or a compliment.

English is a weird language, ahyah.
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Posted by Dave Golterman (+243) 12 years ago
Very interesting article. I had used a few of those words incorrectly myself.

I also learned that there's a place called Boner Knob in Beaverhead County, Montana.

Sorry, I was just channeling the 8th grade boy in me!

Dave
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Posted by Julie (+419) 12 years ago
The phrase that will send me to an early grave is "I could care less." GAWD! I always want to respond with "I could agree more."

YOWZA! It's I COULDN'T CARE LESS. Meaning there's no way you could care any less.

EGADS! How hard is it?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
Julie - while it sounds odd, it actually is "I could care less."

"I couldn't care less" is a double-negative.

As for me, I prefer "I really don't give a/n [insert colorful metaphor of your choice here]."

Kelly - once again, thanks for the cool link. Please keep them coming.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 12 years ago
I'm with Julie on this one. With "I couldn't care less" the double negative is intended, as is the confusion. It's a sarcastic remark, therefore the intention to create a bit of befuddlement among those on the receiving end of the message. At least that's what I've always thought...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
I've offered the perfect solution, Steve. Hehe.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 12 years ago
Indeed Brian - your solution is crystal clear!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
Usually is.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
Julie - while it sounds odd, it actually is "I could care less."

"I couldn't care less" is a double-negative.

As for me, I prefer "I really don't give a/n [insert colorful metaphor of your choice here]."



Sorry, Brian. Julie is right. There's no double negative in "I couldn't care less." The word "less" does not negate anything. It's a matter of degree. It means "I care so little about this issue that I could not care any less than I do right now." "I could care less" indicates that you care somewhat because you COULD care less than you do now. Just because you hear so many people say it doesn't make it right.

[This message has been edited by Wendy Wilson (11/24/2009)]
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
Okay, here's a puzzle.

ShamWow is now 4 times cheaper than the leading towel!

What's wrong with this sentence?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
Fair enough, Wendy. Thanks for the lesson.

I rarely use the term in either form.

But, just for the sake of argument, I offer this: I don't believe that "I could care less" is incorrect. Here's why:

If one truly "couldn't care less," they wouldn't say anything at all (including the statement "I couldn't care less"). Obviously, they care enough to make a comment. Therefore, they actually could care less. Those who say "I could care less" are technically correct.

I win.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/24/2009)]
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Posted by LG (+195) 12 years ago
I use pristine improperly. Other than that I'm good.
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Posted by Julie (+419) 12 years ago
Thanks so much for the clarification Wendy! And in response to your ShamWow puzzle... The number 4 should be spelled out as 'four.'
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
Wendy wrote:
ShamWow is now 4 times cheaper than the leading towel!

In order for the sentence to be correct, ShamWow would have to cost four times as much as the leading towel.

"ShamWow costs 75 percent less than the leading towel" or "ShamWow costs one-quarter as much as the leading towel" or "You can buy four ShamWows for the cost of one of the leading brand's towels" would more accurately convey the point the advertiser is attempting to make.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
Brian, you get the prize! I have heard this incorrect use of the meaning of the word "times" more times than I can count. "Times" always means a multiple of something. The end result is always bigger than the original - assuming that you aren't multiplying by a fraction. The ad writers certainly don't realize that what they're writing is nonsensical.

p.s. I still disagree with your "I could care less" argument. Making the comment doesn't show concern about the topic, only concern that one's position on the topic is clear.

[This message has been edited by Wendy Wilson (11/24/2009)]
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
Wendy wrote:
I still disagree with your "I could care less" argument. Making the comment doesn't show concern about the topic, only concern that one's position on the topic is clear.

You may be right - and probably are - but that doesn't make me wrong.
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Posted by Dan Mowry (+1437) 12 years ago
I might have a stroke based on usage of:

Leery, wary, and weary.

I might also have grumble about people incorrectly using "literally" when they should be using "figuratively." However, I have no doubt I say things incorrectly enough to probably bonk myself on the head too. So, I just vent.

So, in case someone enjoys word-of-the-day toilet paper lessons from the blind leading the blind:

Leery - suspicious
Wary - on alert
Weary - fatigued
Larry - webmaster

I'm also pretty sure that no matter how much one drank the night before nor how bad the headache is this morning one's head is not literally going to explode. If it did I'm not cleaning it up.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9193) 12 years ago
My pet peave: "that begs the question" - if you're asking a question, then you haven't begged it.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
That's one of mine also, Bridgier. But I've come to accept that most journalists and copy writers simply can't understand the true meaning of the phrase.

Another word that isn't a word - incentivize. This is not a word!!!!! Stop saying it!!!!!!!! I can't hear you! I can't hear you!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
I've never even heard of that word, Wendy.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
I listen to too much public radio.
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Posted by David Schott (+17052) 12 years ago
My pet peave: "that begs the question" - if you're asking a question, then you haven't begged it.

I'm not sure I understand. Isn't the implication that somebody said or did something (for instance a reply to a previous question) such that the person is practically begging the interviewer to ask "the [next] question"? It's not the person asking the question who is begging the question but instead the person being questioned who is begging the question.
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Posted by howdy (+4943) 12 years ago
I agree with David as I always understood it that way as well...
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Posted by Julie (+419) 12 years ago
ARG! "Having said that" or "that being said." Good God! You'd think it was the catch phrase of the century. It seems so very superfluous.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9193) 12 years ago
You're thinking of "raises the question". Question begging is a little different: http://en.wikipedia.org/w...e_question
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Posted by Rick Kuchynka (+4463) 12 years ago
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
Right, Bridgier. Begging the question is not equal to raising the question. It has never meant that but TV journalists and others haven't gotten the memo. It's really a kind of circular reasoning. An example might be: "When did you stop beating your wife?" Or, as in the wiki explanation: "Opium puts you to sleep because it makes you sleepy."
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Posted by Derf Bergman (+583) 12 years ago
Isn't a plethora the animal that grows the skin you use to make fake leather pants? Or is that a nauga?
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Posted by Julie (+419) 12 years ago
I love Derf.
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Posted by Stone (+1596) 12 years ago
Rick, what was your nick name in school?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
You beat me to it, Stone. I was going to mention something about everything boiling down to The Three Amigos for Rick.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 12 years ago
You'll never get a job with Fox News with an attitude like that, Wendy.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 12 years ago
Oh Brian, would that it were only Fox. I've heard it on NPR! Sometimes I weep.
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