Apparently, I’m not the only person who twitches at word missteps. I have several such readers—fellow Grammar and/or Usage Nazis—who have shared with me some of their peeves.
I must say, they’re nearly all peeves of my own. (My readers are kindred spirits! It brings me joy!)
So for today’s Word Nerd Wednesday, you are the stars.
The first peeve was suggested by both Blondie and Rebecca:
I could care less/I couldn’t care less.
Which is correct? Not the first one, but you’d never know it by how often you hear it thrown around.
What you’re trying to say is that you care nothing at all for something, right?
So think about it: “I could care less” says that you could theoretically care less than you do at this moment. Which means you do care at least a little.
I COULDN’T CARE LESS, on the other hand, means that you currently care so little that there is no conceivable way you could possibly care less than you do.
There is absolutely no care-age involved. None. Nada.
(So I made that word up. Sounds like something George or Jerry would say, though.)
The very funny KristinaP at Pulsipher’s Predilections threw the next one at me:
IR is a prefix similar to UN: it reverses or negates what comes after, much like untie means to reverse the tying process. It means NOT, like irresolute means NOT resolute.
The word regardless already means “despite everything.” So if you negate that, do you mean “because of everything”?
(Which, of course, you don't. That isn’t what people mean when they say, irregardless.)
Merriam-Webster takes a stab at guessing why people use this. They say that maybe irregardless is a combination of irrespective and regardless.
Somehow I’m doubting that people who use irregardless even know what irrespective means. Maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt? Mmmm . . . nah.
Jami brought up one of my all-time favorite peeves (if that makes any sense).
This is an adjective describing something else that makes you feel sick to your stomach.
Mold could be nauseous.
The smell of vomit could be nauseous.
During my pregnancies, I thought bacon was nauseous.
But *I* was NAUSEATED.
If *I* am nauseous, then I’m personally disgusting and I make other people want to throw up! Not what people generally intend to imply when they say, "I'm so nauseous." (This one makes me giggle.)
This word is so misused that it's losing ground (you remember how language changes, right?). Nauseous is fast becoming acceptable in the sense of how you feel, rather than just describing something else that makes you sick.
Regardless (ha!), I still can't hear it without getting a funny image in my head, and I personally can't get myself to use it that way.
Sher mentioned a great one:
Needless to say
If you can include this phrase, then you should delete the phrase AND whatever comes after it. If you don’t need to say it—if it’s that obvious—then DON’T SAY IT.
Finally, LeeAnn mentioned a fun slip-up:
Weird part here is that the second word isn’t even a word, just a common misspelling of the first one.
(One of my personal spelling peeves is seeing DEFINITELY written as DEFINATELY. Ergh!).
Excite means to get something or something worked up, or excited.
Exite doesn’t mean anything, but it looks like those green signs in the movie theater that you leave through.
This was a great list. Keep the peeves coming!
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