Mudcat Café message #3993622 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #132499   Message #3993622
Posted By: saulgoldie
23-May-19 - 03:24 PM
Thread Name: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
Well, for better or for worse (or worser) language is dynamic. Sometimes the new usages can be interesting and enriching. Others, they just represent devolution. We all have our favorites on either side.

A couple of my own "faves" are--
Raising one's pitch toward the end of a statement as if it is were question.
Inserting a letter "h" where it does not belong (mentioned earlier).
Dropping a "d" or a "t" Where it DOES belong.
These two seem to be some sort of affectation more prevalent among young women.
Extraneous or missing apostrophes, check.
Extraneous or missing commas, check.

Now, this is my YUGE big cahuna of all word misuses. It is YUGE not because it sounds stupid/lazy/whatever. But because Its misuse f-u-n-d-a-m-e-n-t-a-l-l-y changes the meaning. That is the use of "can't." Look, if you "can't" do something, it is something that you are INCAPABLE of doing. You do not have the physical strength or coordination to do whatever it is. It does NOT mean that you do not have PERMISSION.

If you are physically CAPABLE of doing something but there are consequences that you do not like, then you must acknowledge that you CHOOSE to not do it, rather than that you "can't" do it. People say "can't" so they can avoid taking responsibility for the CHOICE that they make to avoid the consequences.

This misuse is an example of devolution. This misuse does not clarify anything, and does not provide some new and novel way of illuminating a point.