As a writer, having such respect for words means that I can often be quite precious about them. I love words and hope to treat them with the utmost respect they deserve. So when I hear someone befouling the English language, misusing words or even making them up, it really grinds my gears. Ah well, I s’pose new words’ve gotta come from somewhere …
Anyway, here are the top five non-existent words I hear used all the time. I sincerely hope you don’t use any of them, but if you do, I hope I don’t offend you – it’s all just a bit of fun!
Have you ever heard someone say something such as “irregardless, I’m going anyway”? This is the first word of which I thought when I decided to write this piece, because I hear it used so often. People who say it actually mean plain old ‘regardless’. If I ever hear someone I know say it, I always answer with, “there’s no ‘I’ in regardless” and I’m often met with a look of incredulity.
This one, for some reason, really grinds my gears. It’s almost as bad as saying “arks” instead of ask. Which is why this one is number two and arks is number three. Supposedly, my giving grief to people who say supposably makes me a nit-picking type. But it’s just not a word, darn it!
You’ve all heard someone say “arks” instead of ask. It’s so commonly used that it’s almost accepted as everyday speech. But you know what? Arks are something in which biblical animals travelled during the alleged flood, so if you ask me, people who arks for stuff shouldn’t receive a thing. At least not until they can speak properly (pronounced ‘prop-er-lee’, not ‘prop-lee’).
Brang, brung – wrong! If this word wasn’t constantly brought (which is the correct past tense word for bring) to my attention, it probably wouldn’t bother me so much. But brang and brung is so often used as the past tense of bring that it’s actually listed in the Macquarie Dictionary as a non-standard word for ‘brought’.
Having worked in the coffee industry for many years, “Gimme an expresso mate” was barked at me so often that I ended up becoming used to it. What I found funny, though, is that some people with whom I worked – who should’ve (not ‘should of’) known better – would also say expresso.
When I first heard it when people ordered their coffee, I would make sure that I said “here’s your ESPRESSO sir” when I gave it to them. But after a while I just gave up. So, the next time you order your coffee, ensure that you ask for an espresso. I promise you, your barista will unconsciously make you a better coffee, because when they hear your order, he or she will concentrate on grinding your beans instead of their teeth.
In closing, I thought I’d put forward ‘chalant’ as an honourable mention, which I don’t hear a lot, but is a line from a very funny Christmas film called The Hebrew Hammer:
Well it’s good to see that you can be so nonchalant about the whole thing.
I guess I could be chalant about it, but then again I’m not even sure if that’s a word. Listen, Chief, we could stand around arguing all day, but I got a case to crack.
Do these words grind your gears as much as they do mine? Or am I just being precious? Do you know of any misused or non-existent words not listed here exist? Why not share them with our members?