Language fails that make you angry

Fredrik

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This one is so pervasive and it absolutely drives me insane: the use of your instead of you're when appropriate.
People don't seem to realize that most of these errors are typos, not evidence of poor grammar. The words that are the biggest problem for me are "its" and "it's". I understand these words perfectly, and yet, every time I need to type one of them, there's a 50% probability that I'll end up typing "its", and a 50% probability that I'll end up typing "it's". My brain imagines the sound of the word, and then my fingers type one of the words that sound like that, before I have even realized what I'm doing.

There is however no excuse for "should of" instead of "should've" or (better) "should have".
 

vela

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I think Curious meant that some people are saying it wrong on purpose.
Some people might, but in my experience, most people say "could care less" because they don't know any better. As far as the claim of irony goes, it just doesn't work.

People don't seem to realize that most of these errors are typos, not evidence of poor grammar.
Perhaps for you they're typos, but I think for most, the error stems from ignorance. If they were simply typos, I doubt the use of it's to mean its would be so prevalent.
 

Evo

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Some people might, but in my experience, most people say "could care less" because they don't know any better. As far as the claim of irony goes, it just doesn't work.
Anyone that says "could care less" on purpose, knowing it's wrong (are there really any?) don't realize what they're actually saying. There is no irony, it's just plain wrong and so makes the speaker sound silly.
 
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-None of them "are" and neither of them "are". "None" literally means "not one" and "neither" means "not the one nor the other". My friends laughed at me for saying this. Luckily, I had my OED in my backpack and got the last laugh.

-After getting into the habit of not ending sentences with prepositions, people doing the opposite has started to annoy me. People mixing up pronouns gets on my nerves as well. However, doing these when speaking is more excusable than doing them when writing.

-Using words incorrectly, obviously.

Our beautiful language is precious and needs to be defended!
 
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Frankly my dear, I could care less.
 

Fredrik

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Why? Just to irritate people?
I'm a perfectionist. To me, rules are rules, and I will follow them to the best of my ability. Note that I usually won't obnoxiously correct someone unless I'm deliberately trying to irritate a family member or a close friend. It is just a fairly minor annoyance.
 
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turbo

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I get peeved when people can't manage to use "less" and "fewer" correctly. It's not rocket-surgery! This is a common error in our local newspaper, so apparently the editors haven't a clue.
 
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I read a history book that mentioned "they were loosing the battle."
 
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Every Christmas season, I have to bite my tongue when Pollack's jewelry commercials come on the air. The owner pronounces it "joolery" and he insists on making his own commercials.
Do Detroit ads still talk about "lugjury" cars? Spewacious.
 

russ_watters

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People don't seem to realize that most of these errors are typos, not evidence of poor grammar.
I doubt it. I don't think I have ever seen any variant other than "your" used incorrectly. I'm pretty sure that means "your" is substituted for all similar uses.
 
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My pants are looser too.
 

Curious3141

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I disagree.

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/care.html [Broken]
You may disagree, but that source you sited is hardly what I would call authoritative.

First of all, the quote from the American Heritage Dictionary (which is the only part of that page that I would pay heed to) did not decry the use of "could care less". It merely stated that the two versions are being used more or less equally. Hardly a denouncement. Stating that they are antonyms (when taken literally) is neither here nor there. At no point was the use of "could care less" explicitly discouraged.

Furthermore, that guy himself is confused. This part in bold, for instance :

“I could care less” just isn’t logically ironic. The people speaking feel irony, but their words don’t convey it. “I’d buy those jeans” could be ironic if you really meant the opposite: you wouldn’t buy those jeans if they were the last pair in the world. But “I could care less” isn’t used to imply its opposite: that you care more. Thus it is not ironic.
is just plain muddled nonsense. The literal opposite of "I could care less" is not "I could care more" but "I couldn't care less". That perfectly fits what he seems to consider to be acceptable as irony.

The rest of the article pretty much just states an opinion (about the impact of the alternative phrasing). Opinions don't mean squat (by which, of course, I ironically intended to mean that they *do* mean squat). :tongue2:

One of the linked references is far more even-handed in its treatment: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ico1.htm This paragraph pretty much sums up all that need be said on the subject:

In these cases people have tried to apply logic, and it has failed them. Attempts to be logical about I could care less also fail. Taken literally, if one could care less, then one must care at least a little, which is obviously the opposite of what is meant. It is so clearly logical nonsense that to condemn it for being so (as some commentators have done) misses the point. The intent is obviously sarcastic — the speaker is really saying, “As if there was something in the world that I care less about”.
There may be aspects to language that we personally object to, but the fact remains that English is a living, thriving language that is constantly evolving. We get to split infinitives and use "who" and "whom" interchangeably in speech - things that would've blanched the faces of the literati barely a century ago. Heck, I don't like the American spelling of many words (which makes it especially ironic that I'm defending an idiosyncrasy of American origin here), but I accept that these spellings have become mainstream.
 
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The literal opposite of "I could care less" is not "I could care more" but "I couldn't care less".
No. The literal opposite of "I could care less" is "I could not care less".
 

Curious3141

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Anyone that says "could care less" on purpose, knowing it's wrong (are there really any?) don't realize what they're actually saying. There is no irony, it's just plain wrong and so makes the speaker sound silly.
Again, this is just your opinion. There are many expressions in common usage that don't withstand literal logical scrutiny, but we use them anyway. Even the phrasing you prefer, "I couldn't care less", is strictly illogical because it's almost vanishingly unlikely that the speaker is being accurate about caring less about the topic of conversation than *anything else* in the entire Universe. For one thing, there are many things that the speaker is actually not consciously considering at the time. It's easy to make the argument that by expressing a strong opinion, even a disdainful one, about the subject under discussion, the speaker is showing he cares more about the subject than all those things he's not consciously thinking about right then.

So the statement is inaccurate if taken literally. But we accept it because it's just another trope - in this case, it's obvious hyperbole.

Now which speaker sounds silly?
 

Curious3141

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No. The literal opposite of "I could care less" is "I could not care less".
"Couldn't" is just a contraction of the same. Duh. I was going for pithiness, which is why I didn't bother to explain that.
 

Curious3141

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I think Curious meant that some people are saying it wrong on purpose.
Essentially yes. But even if someone uttering the phrase hasn't consciously reflected on the semantic structure (which is a fool's errand in any case, as I explained), it doesn't change the fact that most people understand exactly what is intended. And that's really the point of language - communication.
 
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It seems to have affected you very deeply.
Yeah. I think it started watching the Smothers Brothers. The tattoo artists tells Pat Paulsen, "there you go buddy! Born Too Loose."
 
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What's the opposite of "I could have less than two living biological parents."
 

fuzzyfelt

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The demise of adverbs is dreadful bad, or not. :)
 

Evo

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Again, this is just your opinion. There are many expressions in common usage that don't withstand literal logical scrutiny, but we use them anyway. Even the phrasing you prefer, "I couldn't care less", is strictly illogical because it's almost vanishingly unlikely that the speaker is being accurate about caring less about the topic of conversation than *anything else* in the entire Universe. For one thing, there are many things that the speaker is actually not consciously considering at the time. It's easy to make the argument that by expressing a strong opinion, even a disdainful one, about the subject under discussion, the speaker is showing he cares more about the subject than all those things he's not consciously thinking about right then.

So the statement is inaccurate if taken literally. But we accept it because it's just another trope - in this case, it's obvious hyperbole.

Now which speaker sounds silly?
No, what you're saying doesn't make sense (or you hang out with really odd people). :uhh: :wink: When you use the phrase "I couldn't care less", it's always about something specific, as in "I couldn't care less about your hat". I guess you could say that you couldn't care less about anything in the universe, but I've never heard anyone say that.

The phrase is a mistake, like people that say "should of" instead of "should've" or "should have". And then there is "you don't half to like it". :biggrin:

You youngun's be destroying our language.
 
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Dembadon

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... it doesn't change the fact that most people understand exactly what is intended. And that's really the point of language - communication.
"Intention" is contextually derived. Without context, we would have to rely on logical inference, in which case "I don't care" is not the only valid inference from "I could care less." But then the exercise becomes more intellectual than colloquial.

Since most of the thread has been about taking a more intellectual approach to analyzing communication, then it almost goes without saying that most of us already understand the point you've been trying to make since nobody is claiming that inaccurate constructions make things impossible to understand.
 

Fredrik

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I doubt it. I don't think I have ever seen any variant other than "your" used incorrectly. I'm pretty sure that means "your" is substituted for all similar uses.
I have the same problem with those words. I understand their meanings perfectly, but when I need to type "you're", my brain imagines the sound of it and sometimes has my fingers type "your". If I'm more alert than usual I'll see that I've typed the wrong word as I'm typing the next few words. If I'm careful, I'll catch the mistakes in proof reading. I have a feeling that people who post comments to youtube videos or whatever aren't exactly doing a lot of proof reading.

I'm having issues with all words that sound like another word. If you ever see me make a too/to/two mistake, this is the reason.
 

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