Abominations of language
Tom P
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Given that everyone likes a good moan, I thought I'd create a geeklist with some of my pet hates. Or rather, some examples of one of my pet hates, which is the infuriating way English is used to create meaningless phrases using otherwise perfectly decent words.

Perhaps, like me, you're driven mad by management-speak or babbling TV presenters with only a rudimentary grasp of a language of endless richness.

Post the worst offenders here. Then sit back and watch while others nitpick your choices and provide counter-arguments as to why you are just a great big boring stuck-in-the-mud with no understanding of how language evolves.

Note: This is not necessarily game-related, though there's nothing to stop that, but it seems better suited to a geeklist rather than a forum.

Extra note: I'm not really thinking about grammar or common spelling errors, more...well I'll start off with a few examples.
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1. Board Game: Monopoly: 70th Anniversary Edition [Average Rating:5.53 Overall Rank:9368]
Tom P
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Anniversary

The inspiration for this list came from the book I'm currently reading, where the couple in the story went away for their 'six-month anniversary'.

Sorry? What?

Let's have a quick etymology lesson:

early 13c., from L. anniversarius "returning annually," from annus (gen. anni) "year" (see annual) + versus, pp. of vertere "to turn" (see versus).

Got that? Yearly. Not 'returning every 6 months'. Not 'returning every month'. No - read again. "Returning annually".

IF ANNIVERSARY = EVERY YEAR THEN YOU CAN'T HAVE A '6 MONTH ANNIVERSARY' YOU DIMWIT!!!

Phew. Good to get that out in the open.
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2. Board Game: Tactiques Issue #1 [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.75 Unranked]
Tom P
United Kingdom
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Issue

I may be on shakier ground with this one, but hopefully at least it will inspire debate strongly held and forcefully directed yet ultimately unfounded opinions.

Perhaps what really bugs me about the word 'issue' is not the change of use (even the OED is in on the act) but rather the lazy way in which people, particularly in work meetings, substitute 'issue' for 'matter' or more simply, 'problem'.

"There is an issue with the printer".

"A what? Something is flowing out of the printer?"

"Eh? No I mean it's jammed".

"Oh you mean there is a problem with the printer!"

"Yeah that's what I said".

"shake"
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3. Board Game: Good Question! [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:8495]
Tom P
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Good

As in:

"How are you?"

"I'm good, thanks!"

"You're morally upstanding? You've been well-behaved? You are 'enjoyable or satisfying'?"

"No...I mean I'm fine".

"Oh, right".
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4. Board Game: A Right Royal Laugh [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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I laughed so hard I LITERALLY split my sides.







gulp
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5. Board Game: Busted [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Jonathan N. "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
United States
Summerville
South Carolina
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Busted
Not actually a word...its slang. Sad thing is I saw it in print in a news article this past week, using it to describe something that is broken or malfunctioning. 'Busted pipe' was the usage in the article. shake
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6. Board Game: SuperSystem 2007 Annual [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.80 Unranked]
Tim Mossman
United States
Gaithersburg
Maryland
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"FIRST ANNUAL"

I see this often. It doesn't really annoy me to the point of affecting my blood pressure, but I always stop to ask . . . if it's the "first" of something, how can you claim that it happens annually?

One may hope that it turns into an annual event. One may have good intentions of it being an annual event. But, really, it's just the "first".
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7. Board Game: Imperium Romanum II [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2162]
J. Romano
United States
Denver
Colorado
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Decimate

Many people use the word decimate to indicate that something was nearly completely destroyed.

However, it only means to reduce by a tenth (hence the prefix dec-).

I don't know how true this is, but I was told that the ancient Romans would decimate armies that mutinied -- they would randomly kill one out of every ten soldiers as punishment.
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8. Board Game: Spot the difference lotto [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
whistler
United States
West Virginia
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Knob Creek Manhattan
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Same Difference

Will someone please first point out the two "differences" and then argue that they are the same? If the two comparable utterances/situations are not themselves "differences", can we please not refer to them as such?

I can accept "same thing" or "no difference", but I've never heard a use of "same difference" that could even be construed as meaningful.
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kSwingrÜber
United States
Ridgefield
Washington
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Adjectives instead of Adverbs

It drives me nuts! So many people, I would hazard to say most people (Americans anyways), use adjectives to modify verbs.

"He ran fast."
"Can you do this quick?"

The whole good/fine/well discussion above is just a sub-genre of the "Adjectives instead of Adverbs" problem. Don't they teach basic grammar in school these days? What the heck am I paying taxes for!?



And just to preempt any rebuttal from cferejohn, this isn't a matter of "the definition of a word is determined by usage", it's just wrong!

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10. Board Game: Hourai Card Game: Ganbare Athletics Meet [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Brian Mc Cabe
United States
Arizona
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He showed great athleticism.

No he didn't. He performed a great athletic feat. He is a terrific athlete. Some dumb jock who knows nothing about the parts of speech made up a word and, now, otherwise intelligent, well-educated people beat the rest of us that know better over the head with it.

The suffix -ism connotes a belief system. Taoism, Buddism. Even if you call athletics a belief system, you wouldn't say that someone showed great Taoism. It just isn't a verb.

I'd say "Thank you. I feel much better now", but I don't. People are going keep doing it, without any regard to how wrong headed it is.

Brian
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11. Board Game: American Idol Board Game [Average Rating:1.78 Unranked]
Bret Clifton
United States
Spokane Valley
Washington
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"That sounded a little pitchy"

His/her voice was amber in color? Full of a black, tar-like substance??????gulp
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12. Board Game: ESPN 21st Century Trivia [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Bret Clifton
United States
Spokane Valley
Washington
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"They use a lot of trickeration in their offense."

These are my favorite. People making up words or making up a word derivative (if the word is longer, it must be more sophisticated, right?) in order to sound more intelligent...or something.
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13. Board Game: Finca [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:402]
Ben Bateson
United Kingdom
Ross-on-Wye
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Oi! Hands off...
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"Although Finca is designed for four, it works well with less players."

Damn you, no! No! NO! It's a very, very simple rule.

If you can count the things of which you speak (people, customers, kilometres), there are 'fewer'.

If it is an unquantified amount (distance, energy, turnover) then it is 'less'.

IS IT REALLY THAT HARD???!!!!!

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14. Board Game: What's Up? [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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Often used as a form of greeting.
For many years(until I got tired of it), when asked "What's Up?" I would look upward and describe everthing that happened to be above me at the moment. For example, I am sitting in a library, and here is "what's up":
>Acoustic tile
>Flourescent lights
>Ventilators
>Intercom speakers
>Sprinklers
>Security camera
>WiFi apparatus--
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15. Board Game: Quote Unquote [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Grand Prince Poutine Lord High Thrifter
Canada
Vancouver
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Here's one that makes me cringe: "I heard a great quote today" or "This is a quote from Churchill" or something similar. angry

NO! The word quote is a verb not a noun. Please say that you heard a great quotation or that it is a quotation from Churchill.
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16. Board Game: Tanks Alot [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Donald Dimitroff
United States
Beltsville
Maryland
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Right now I am feeling very: turbed, pirited, heveled, combobulated, and not tinguished, so don't you dare "dis" me!
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This one always bother me: alot

I see this mistake, a lot, in e-mail messages from my students. I do hope they allot enough time for their language studies!

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17. Board Game: Make Your Own Opoly [Average Rating:3.98 Overall Rank:10651]
James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
United States
Utah
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Pre-Owned

This has been around several years now, so it might actually (seem to) have some meaning when you hear it.
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18. Board Game: Super Model [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
James Webb Space Telescope in 2018!
United States
Utah
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Supermodel

Is our culture now so superficial that we need different words to distinguish between a model and a supermodel?
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19. Board Game: Composio [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:7604]
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
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Comprised of

Something comprises things, or is composed of things.

It is not comprised of things.

Bach did, however, compose things.
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20. Board Game: Some Poles Apart: The Battle of the Westerplatte [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:8799]
Dave VanderArk
United States
Coopersville
Michigan
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I laugh at the following mistake quite often. Someone posts a birthday message on Facebook to an inlaw and writes something like "I'm so glad you're apart of our family"

When people say this, they're almost saying they're glad the person is not part of their family.

(Although usually people who are too stupid to know the difference between "a part" and "apart" are too stupid to use the correct form of "you're," but that's another issue)
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21. Board Game: The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 B.C. [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
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Threshold.

That spelling has always bothered me. Something about it seems... off.
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22. Board Game: Nomic [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:4867]
Shanya Almafeta
United States
Kansas City
Missouri
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No universal standard

Okay, that's the only thing that really gets me going. More complex languages have a standards body, languages spoken by more people have a standards body, languages spoken in more countries have a standards body, simpler languages have a standards body, smaller languages have a standards body.

But for English, every school, editor, and company or university style guide is a standard unto itself. I ran into that most notably with a teacher who didn't know the use of 'they' (and its inflections) as a third person singular pronoun when the gender of the subject cannot be determined from context.

We don't need a perfect standard. We need a terrible standard we can agree to and iteratively improve.
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23. Board Game: Right Wrong: The Joys of Syntax and Lex [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Les Merrills
England
Unspecified
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I love this list! We all think our own version of the language is the best and we are all very attached to our own prejudices - that's why we call them pet hates. And pets need a lot of looking after!

My own favourite abominations of language are too numerous to list, but one I really love to dislike is the one-word imperative: 'Enjoy!' For example, the waiter puts a steaming plate of mashed sprouts down before you with a flourish and says: 'Enjoy!' Doesn't he know that IT'S A TRANSITIVE VERB? It needs a direct object, and sounds incomplete without one. For example, my wife comes home after a hard day at the coal face and says to me: 'What have you been doing with yourself all day?' I reply: 'I've been enjoying.' Something missing, isn't there? Or another example: someone asks me what I like to do in my leisure time and I reply: 'I enjoy.'

Now, I'm fully expecting someone to shoot me down by saying that, in the case of the waiter, it's perfectly obvious that this is short for 'Enjoy the sprouts' (an oxymoron, if ever I heard one). Or someone else might come back at me with the fact that in Des Moines the custom and practice of the last 200 years has been to employ the word 'enjoy' intransitively whenever there's an 'r' in the month. But you know what? I don't care, because it's my party and I'll hate what I want to. So stick!*

* It's perfectly obvious that this is short for 'stick it in your pipe and smoke it'.

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24. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:58]
Chris
England
Harrow
London
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Ye Olde Shoppe

There was/is a word such as ye but it was/is a plural pronoun.

For whatever reason, the letter Þ (thorn ; it has a th value) was at some point written or printed so that the bow was open at the top, then it looked very vaguely like a "y" (or exactly like a y because it was a y because printers didn't have the right glyph). But it's just an old fashioned way to write the and it's pronounced the so please don't say ye olde shoppe.

Unless you're calling two or more people an old shop. But that's just weird.
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25. Board Game: Loose Change [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Matt Taylor
United States
Fairfax
Vermont
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I know that this could, on occasion, be a case of typographical error, but I see Loose being used to mean Lose so often, that I cannot believe that the error is in the belief of how the word is spelled.

You lose a game,
My pants are loose
I have been known to lose my loose change.

Is it really that hard?
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