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BS: Language Pet Peeves

Steve Shaw 18 May 20 - 03:56 PM
Mrrzy 18 May 20 - 04:46 PM
Charmion 18 May 20 - 08:50 PM
Mrrzy 18 May 20 - 09:03 PM
Joe_F 18 May 20 - 09:55 PM
meself 18 May 20 - 10:14 PM
Mrrzy 18 May 20 - 11:00 PM
Doug Chadwick 19 May 20 - 05:37 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 20 - 05:45 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 20 - 05:50 AM
Mrrzy 19 May 20 - 08:51 AM
Charmion 19 May 20 - 09:59 AM
Donuel 19 May 20 - 10:40 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 20 - 11:33 AM
Mrrzy 19 May 20 - 11:53 AM
Steve Shaw 19 May 20 - 11:57 AM
Donuel 19 May 20 - 01:09 PM
Donuel 19 May 20 - 01:31 PM
Steve Shaw 19 May 20 - 02:49 PM
Mrrzy 19 May 20 - 05:55 PM
leeneia 20 May 20 - 12:19 AM
BobL 20 May 20 - 02:47 AM
JennieG 20 May 20 - 03:29 AM
Peter the Squeezer 20 May 20 - 05:09 AM
Mrrzy 20 May 20 - 11:53 AM
meself 20 May 20 - 12:09 PM
leeneia 20 May 20 - 06:55 PM
Steve Shaw 21 May 20 - 09:36 AM
Mrrzy 21 May 20 - 10:53 AM
meself 21 May 20 - 11:29 AM
meself 21 May 20 - 11:33 AM
Charmion 21 May 20 - 11:36 AM
Mrrzy 21 May 20 - 11:42 AM
Charmion 21 May 20 - 11:46 AM
Steve Shaw 21 May 20 - 12:04 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 21 May 20 - 12:11 PM
Charmion 21 May 20 - 12:31 PM
weerover 21 May 20 - 01:57 PM
Mrrzy 21 May 20 - 02:39 PM
meself 21 May 20 - 03:14 PM
meself 21 May 20 - 03:16 PM
Doug Chadwick 21 May 20 - 03:16 PM
leeneia 21 May 20 - 03:40 PM
meself 21 May 20 - 04:22 PM
Steve Shaw 21 May 20 - 04:52 PM
Doug Chadwick 21 May 20 - 05:56 PM
Steve Shaw 21 May 20 - 06:13 PM
Mrrzy 21 May 20 - 06:27 PM
leeneia 23 May 20 - 12:44 AM
Backwoodsman 23 May 20 - 01:23 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 May 20 - 03:56 PM

"The widow of the late Mr Smith...". :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 May 20 - 04:46 PM

At least they said Widow. I watch a lot of murder mysteries where they say Wife or Husband of (murder victim). Yes, that peeves me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion
Date: 18 May 20 - 08:50 PM

On the subject of untimely death, I am always irked when I read that someone has been shot “by a gun”.

Latin has this neat thing where you put the noun in a special form (or “case”) to indicate whether it is the direct object (accusative), indirect object (dative), or something else but still related to the verb (ablative). One of the several things the ablative does is indicate that a thing is the agent through which an action happens, and you translate it using the preposition “with”.

I really wish English had an ablative case so journalists would write “by a bad guy with a gun”.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 May 20 - 09:03 PM

Or just say shot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 May 20 - 09:55 PM

Mrrzy: When I was a kid in southern California (1940s), my mother made it "You and what troop of Marines?". I don't know where she got it from. She came from the Middle West.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 18 May 20 - 10:14 PM

When I was growing up in south-western Ontario, "you and whose army?" was a question I was often asked, so I don't associate it with Liverpool or Glasgow or anywhere else. As for Mike Meyers, he came along a little later, so it might have a different association for him; I don't know.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 18 May 20 - 11:00 PM

Fascinating geographical study there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 19 May 20 - 05:37 AM

On the subject of untimely death, I am always irked when I read that someone has been shot “by a gun”.

-------- : --------

Or just say shot.



OK, it should be shot "with a gun" rather than shot "by a gun" and, normally, "shot" would do without further qualification; but - just to be picky - it could have been "shot with a crossbow" or "shot with an arrow". In fact, though it might be technically incorrect, I think I would accept "shot by an arrow" without flinching.

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 20 - 05:45 AM

I saw this beauty somewhere once, possibly an obituary in the local rag (made-up names inserted): "Albert married the late Margaret in 1949..."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 20 - 05:50 AM

Helen Willetts, a BBC weather presenter, once informed us that " the overnight rain had washed the humidity out of the air." :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 May 20 - 08:51 AM

In the US at least, shot defaults to gun. You would specify if a bow were used.

Note I would say shot with a bow, not with an arrow, as I would say gun, not bullet.

Here's one that bugs me: stray bullet. No, it didn't get out the side door while the shooter wasn't paying attention. The vic was just not the *intended* target.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion
Date: 19 May 20 - 09:59 AM

"Stray bullet" is one of those phrases that contains a whole 'nother story. Like "collateral damage".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Donuel
Date: 19 May 20 - 10:40 AM

He got shot so he got his shots, became blood shot and now he is totally shot after drinking 17 shots.

I shot a 'bow' in the air where it landed I know not where?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 20 - 11:33 AM

Heheh. Nice one, Donuel. :-)

I'm feeling a little shot at this afternoon.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 May 20 - 11:53 AM

But did you get shot of your ex?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 20 - 11:57 AM

Up north we'd often say get shut of something rather than get shot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Donuel
Date: 19 May 20 - 01:09 PM

I took a shot of Ms. Lohan but it was overexposed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Donuel
Date: 19 May 20 - 01:31 PM

The word viri did not go viral but how about virosphere


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 May 20 - 02:49 PM

It didn't go viral because it isn't the plural of virus. There are also no hippopotami, octopi or fora.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 May 20 - 05:55 PM

Waitri. Mattri. Stewardi.

But ... Octopodes.

Please don't say "face to face" when you mean on video.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 20 May 20 - 12:19 AM

I hate the word 'gunman.' I even wrote to the customer liason at my paper about it. For one thing, when a word comes in only one sex (because we never speak of gunwomen), there is probably something wrong with the word. The only exceptions are obviously sex-linked things such as breastfeeding or donating sperm.

I hate the thought that the press is leading fools and thugs who shot defenseless people to strut around thinking, "Yeah, I'm a gunman." The term gives them dignity they don't deserve.

And it's not logical. If I use my electric mixer, do I become a mixerwoman? No, I am not changed. Neither does a man who fires a gun become a gunman.
====================
Mrrzy, I agree with you 100% about 'stray bullet'. As my husband says, "Every person who pulls a trigger knows a bullet is going somewhere."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: BobL
Date: 20 May 20 - 02:47 AM

Except, Leeneia, the word "man" has at least two different meanings: (1) the animal species homo sapiens or a member thereof, man as opposed to beast, and (2) an adult male human, man as opposed to woman or child. OED lists about a dozen more I believe. Confusion arises because one definition includes the other. Some of us primary school kids found the idea of (say) a lady chairman a bit bewildering, but we got used to the idea.

So "gunman" is 1st meaning - inclusive - because we don't have gunwomen. But we do have gun dogs and, once upon a time, had gun mules.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: JennieG
Date: 20 May 20 - 03:29 AM

A pronunciation which has been creeping for some time now, used by female TV news presenters, is adding an extra syllable to words such as 'three' and 'thread' - so they become 'the-ree' and 'the-read'. Perhaps it's done for emphasis, or perhaps it's because they never learned the correct pronunciation in the first place. (I am inclined to believe the latter)

Interestingly, the blokes don't do it. It seems to be girl thing.

Either way, it gives me a strong does of the irrits.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Peter the Squeezer
Date: 20 May 20 - 05:09 AM

The one that really makes me cringe, is when paying by credit / debit card, being asked to enter my "PIN number".

Does this refer to my "Personal Identification Number Number"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 May 20 - 11:53 AM

Today a headline said Trump has a real shot of winning.

No, he may have good odds of winning, but he has a shot AT winning.

And barf, but that's not a language peeve.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 20 May 20 - 12:09 PM

Might as well give up on prepositions now, and be right with the times. I advise you to start deliberately using the wrong prepositions, just to get used to it. Anyway: I'm getting bored of this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 20 May 20 - 06:55 PM

"Rolling gun battle". Like gunman, this is a journalist expression which gives false dignity to abhorrent behavior.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 20 - 09:36 AM

In today's Bude and Stratton Post: "The funeral for the late Lucy Williams was held on February 6th..."

Nice to know she was definitely dead...


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 20 - 10:53 AM

If she liked motorboats she could also have a wake.

Um, read today in an advice column: ...it is normal to feel lost, depressed and hatred after...

The "lost, depressed and hatred" bugs me. Is there actually anything wrong with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 21 May 20 - 11:29 AM

Not sure it's "wrong", but it's exceedingly awkward. The weakness is that "lost" and "depressed" are adjectives, while "hatred" is a noun, so the construction is inconsistent; however, all three words work with the verb "feel", so I would not be confident calling it "wrong".


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 21 May 20 - 11:33 AM

Actually, I'm sure it is "wrong", but I lack the grammatical sophistication to explain why beyond what I said in my previous post.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion
Date: 21 May 20 - 11:36 AM

Yes, Mrrzy, there is something actually wrong with it.

I will now dispense a crumb of editorial information. I normally charge for this service, but I like you.

Most highly literate readers are bothered by lists in which one of the things is not like the others. The person who wrote "It is normal to feel lost, depressed and hatred" chose those three words because s/he thought, "These are all things people feel". But "lost" and "depressed" are adjectives, and "hatred" is a noun, and that is the source of your bug.

To avoid irking the readership, that sentence should run, "It is normal to feel loss, depression and hatred after ...", or "It is normal to hate, and to feel lost and depressed, after ..."

This bug can be a feature in the hands of a master:

"She lowered her standards by raising her glass,
Her courage, her eyes, and his hopes."


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 20 - 11:42 AM

I like you too!

Yeah, it was the asymmetry (if you will) of adjective adjective noun, even though all could be "felt" ...

But I wasn't sure if there were an actual grammatical *rule* about it.

So, thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion
Date: 21 May 20 - 11:46 AM

Further to my last, it is "wrong" because the reader is jolted out of the flow of the message to think about something else. That is an error because the writer's first priority is to keep the reader engaged with the message; as soon as readers are wondering what is hinky here, the writer may never get them back to the message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 20 - 12:04 PM

It is wrong. Try removing one of the two adjectives: "It is normal to feel lost and hatred"; It is normal to feel depressed and hatred..." See what I mean?


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 21 May 20 - 12:11 PM

I am always up for some Flanders, Swann and Madeira, M'Dear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Charmion
Date: 21 May 20 - 12:31 PM

Leeneia, I am in the middle of editing a bit, fat book (not my first by a long shot) that is full of gun battles, but I have never seen or heard one described as "rolling".

If the combatants are moving while fighting -- for example, a convoy of vehicles is ambushed on the road, and the drivers try to escape the attack but the ambush force chases them -- the fight could be described as a "running" gun battle. Another form of running battle is one in which one group follows another, attacking whenever the target group moves into an area that gives the attackers some advantage and laying off when the target group finds cover.

"Rolling" gun battle sounds like a journalist messing with "running" battle, probably out of ignorance.

Your post raises a bigger issue, however. In your last line, you imply disapproval of any description of abhorrent behaviour that does not state that it is abhorrent. As an editor who specializes in military subjects, I must disagree.

When discussing abhorrent behaviour, the good writer does not write, "This was awful". It is far more effective to describe the event and let the readers figure out for themselves just how abhorrent it was. (Journalists say, "Show, don't tell.") The book I'm working on right now is about the war in Afghanistan, and it is full of bombs that killed civilians, including children. If the author wrote, in every mention of an IED strike (there are hundreds) that it is a heinous act of indiscriminate cruelty, readers would quickly get the idea that the author's first priority is to demonizing the IED-layers. Frankly, that is not interesting. Also, it's not the point.

I don't read much about the Holocaust any more -- I think I know enough about it after more than 50 years of studying war and its effects -- but, even when I was young and revelations of the Nazi program still had some novelty, the accounts that dwelt on the heinousness of the whole thing were the weakest. The most effective works focussed on why it happened and how, and discussed the cost to the perpetrators and those who supported them as well as the victims.

Of course, even the most abhorrent events must still be reported and studied, although it is difficult to read about them. Otherwise, they would slip into the rear-view mirror of our culture and we might forget all about them.

Writing about violence is very difficult. It is easy to slip into gore-porn, or to indulge in propaganda and fantasies of revenge -- that's the big challenge of both war journalism and military history. An account written while the memory is fresh will be full of passion, and the purple prose that comes from it, but opinions change as time passes, the emotions may seem inappropriate, and the purple prose can become distasteful.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: weerover
Date: 21 May 20 - 01:57 PM

"I feel lost, depressed and hatred" is a rhetorical device called syllepsis.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 20 - 02:39 PM

Ooh it has a name, cool.

Ran across this reading an old English novel: usen’t to have.

I would say Didn't use to have.

But I kinda like Usen't to. I think I'll try to adopt it.

Now off to research that new word you taught me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 21 May 20 - 03:14 PM

I would say that 'syllepsis' is a 'rhetorical device' only when it is being used as a rhetorical device; i.e., for effect. In Mrzy's quotation, this does not appear to be the case. No doubt it could still be called 'syllepsis', but it is not syllepsis as a rhetorical device or figure of speech, but rather as careless writing, if not outright error.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 21 May 20 - 03:16 PM

Mrzy: I do hope you would say, "Didn't useD to have"!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 21 May 20 - 03:16 PM

I word that detest is "gobsmacked". It is an ugly word which gets my hackles up whenever I hear it.

Before posting, I checked back through this thread to see if anyone else had raised it as a pet peeve but what I found was quite the opposite. Someone had used it to complain about his own pet peeve.
Grr!

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 21 May 20 - 03:40 PM

I should explain that "rolling gun battle" is an American journalist's cliche for when criminals shoot at each other from moving cars. Obviously the potential for hitting the innocent is enormous.

Such a thing occurred in front of my grocery store yesterday. One passerby was injured, we don't know how seriously. Both cars crashed, something which comes as no surprise in a neighborhood of old, narrow and curving streets. The police rounded up the participants.

===========
About "feeling lost, hatred, and depression": this list suffers from a lack of parallelism. There might not be a rule about parallelism, but it contributes to grace and smoothness. (I learned about parallelism in high school English class.) As someone pointed out, changing "lost" to "loss" would create three nouns, a nice case of parallelism.

As it stands, the sentence is so awkward that I'm sure the t on lost was a typo, not a conscious choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: meself
Date: 21 May 20 - 04:22 PM

" ... loss, depressed and hatred" is no better.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 20 - 04:52 PM

Dunno, Doug. I don't use gobsmacked much meself, but I think it's quite a useful word. It replaces longer phrases quite nicely, thinking of "well you could have knocked me over with a feather" or "well bugger me sideways with a fishfork" sort of thing. And "gobshite" is an exceptionally useful word, I find... :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 21 May 20 - 05:56 PM

I object to "gobsmacked" in the same way as you object to "prior to" and "albeit", Steve. You think they make the user sound pompous. I find it jarring when otherwise articulate people resort to street slang. For you, "prior to" should not replace "before". For me, "gobsmacked" should not replace "amazed".

DC


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 21 May 20 - 06:13 PM

I don't think we do object in the same way, Doug. "Gobsmacked" is succinct yet admittedly vulgar. I haven't done its etymology, but I imagine it's something to do with suddenly clasping a hand to the mouth following confrontation with shock or something at least seriously unexpected. It's vulgar but there's some colour there. "Albeit", "prior to" and "on a daily basis" are just pretentious. In each case there's a clearer and simpler normal alternative that the user has eschewed in their quest to impress. Those of us who prefer clarity and simplicity are not impressed, except that we're impressed as to what a twit the employer of these terms truly is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 20 - 06:27 PM

meself, I dithered over used v. use in that phrase!


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: leeneia
Date: 23 May 20 - 12:44 AM

You've reminded me that "subsequent to" irritates me every time. What's wrong with "after."

And I think I want to smack the next featherbrain who says "O my God!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Language Pet Peeves
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 23 May 20 - 01:23 AM

Always seems to me that the kind of people who habitually use, “Oh My God” as an expression of surprise are the least likely to have faith in any kind of Deity.


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