February 09, 2013

Please Stop

I just read this in a frigging news story:
The “Blizzicane” of 2013 has left it’s mark on New England.
People need to stop this. I realize this represents a Feast of Triviality when almost no one gives a crap that the U.S. government claims it can murder anyone it likes -- including you, you numbskull -- but it annoys the hell out of me. If I'm going to be killed by the government, I don't want my murder preceded by a statement that begins: "Dear Arthur: The State in it's wisdom has decided to off you because..." Actually, they prolly wouldn't say that, since they don't even have to give a reason. Still.


Read The Oatmeal, which includes a discussion of this mistake. And if you're making this mistake, you're probably making at least one of the nine others they talk about their. (See what I did they're? Another one of the mistakes they talk about. Hahaha.)

I've been seeing the it's/its mistake for years on blogs and in tweets. I didn't say anything about it because I'm a shy and humble guy. Yes, I am. (Oh, be quiet.) But since I'm now seeing it regularly in news stories ... well, THIS CANNOT STAND.

While I'm at it: please stop using "literally" when you don't mean "literally." Biden isn't the only one who does this, ya know. A fairly well-known columnist does it with distressing regularity. My favorite usage is: "It is literally inconceivable...," or "It is literally unimaginable..." That's funny stuff. How do you know what everyone in the world is conceiving or imagining? And guess what: I'm conceiving and imagining what you say I can't conceive or imagine right now. Most of the time, people use "literally" as a lazy way to emphasize a point. It's almost always wrong. Now, you don't want to be lazy and wrong, do you? Of course you don't. People frequently use "really" in the same lazy way: "In a really odious display of dishonesty..." If you want to be more precise, and more colorful as well, you might say: "In a brazenly odious display..." or "In a pompously odious display..." or "In a tediously odious display..." And there are many more possibilities. Each of them conveys a different meaning. Writing that is more precise is also more evocative. It's better writing, and it's much more rewarding for the attentive reader. "Really" is what I term a garbage word; in my view, it should almost never be used. I use it very sparingly, and only with specific intent.

Next time, we'll talk about "lie" and "lay." Almost no one gets that right. Impatient? Here you go. You're not laying on your bed because you're tired. Unless you're fucking, in which case you're probably not that tired. (See? Grammar can be fun!)

This has made me really sad, so I'm going to bang my head against the wall until this entire building collapses and then cry myself to sleep in the rubble. Literally. So their. But I suppose its all in a days work.