Write Again . . . It’s a losing proposition

Published 7:52 pm Monday, September 29, 2014

For those among you, kind readers, who aren’t particularly interested in or concerned about language usage, please let me assure you that should you elect to forgo reading further, I understand.

So. For those of you still with me, thanks for your indulgence.

Some of the words and phrases cited herein have been around quite awhile. Most fall into the trite, cliché or trend-words category. Others are just plain incorrect. We have learned, however, that something used incorrectly, long enough, by enough people, may well become accepted usage.

Let’s begin with “snuck.” Have mercy. The past tense of sneak is sneaked.

“Went missing.” As if someone had decided to go missing.

“Funeral service.” Redundant. Just funeral works fine.

“Podium.” Nah. What is usually meant is speaker’s stand or lectern.

“Close proximity.” Common error. Just proximity works.

“Pre-owned.” Unless pre now means previously, that is. It really means before.

“Hopefully” and “momentarily.” All but about a dozen of us in the whole world, it seems, use these two words incorrectly. It’s a lost cause.

“Problematic.” What happened to a problem?

“Back-to-back.” Consecutive. Two in a row. One after another. Even front-to-back would be, metaphorically, more accurate in an envisioned sense.

“Sustained.” As in sustained an injury. Incurred, actually.

“Shuttered.” The factory was shuttered. How about just closed?

“Sink-sank-sunk.” “Swim-swam-swum.” Even well known authors often struggle with these verbs.

“Further.” Time was when that wasn’t used synonymously with farther. Time was.

Oh. Don’t let me forget “on the ground.” TV reporters aren’t just there; no, sir, they’re on the ground in wherever. I guess that’s better than being up in a tree, or dangling from a window.

Let’s also not forget “impact.” Things aren’t affected anymore. They are impacted. Glad it isn’t a tooth. Or one’s bowels.

Enough. Let me end this less than riveting rambling — which no one really “tasked” me with — by saying “at the end of the day” such trite-isms aren’t going away.

If I had been smart I would have realized this “early on.”

So it goes. Unfortunately.

APROPOS — “The language is awash with trite-isms, and some seem bound to use them all.”

— Unknown