Anyone who uses the words “irregardless”, “a whole ‘nother” or “all of the sudden” will be sent to a work camp.
–Stewie Griffin, Family Guy (S6E5, “Lois Kills Stewie”)
Here’s a list of words, phrases, mangled spellings and awful pronunciations I really, really wish people would stop saying, and which ideally would be expunged from the English lexicon — and perhaps even be removed, Ministry of Truth-style, from our cultural history entirely:
- “Anymore” — it’s two words, all right? If you’re not a raven perched on a bust of Pallas, say “any more”, dammit!
- “Alot” (e.g. “alot of people”) — ditto, and you always see people writing it on the Internet but getting spell-corrected to “allot”, which isn’t even a noun
- “Twerking” — the word, not the action, I have no problem with that (ahem)
- “What it is, is…” — really, that’s what you meant to say?! Think before you speak!
- “The thing is, is…” — REALLY?!?
- “Oh my days!” — come on, either swear or blaspheme, this is even less offensive than “oh my stars!” from Bewitched
- The word “yeah” every other word, yeah? Like, yeah, it’s really annoying, yeah, and a bit threatening, yeah? (And don’t get me started on people who write it “yea”, which is a different word, pronounced “yay”, and used in hymns!)
- Other chav terms like “gaff” for house; “blud” for friend; “allow dat”, which seems to mean the same as “nix on that”, though I doubt even they know; and, overuse of words like “even”, as in “I ain’t even lying, blud”… what?!
- Pronouncing the word “café” as “caff”, as it reminds me of “gaff” (see above)
Pronouncing the word “karate” as “ka-RAA-tee”. Protip: if a Japanese word has an “e” in it, try saying it as though it’s an e-acute, like in “café” (unless you say that word as per above, obviously, in which case go jump under a bus) — it’s not perfect, but it’s better than saying it like “ee”, which in romanised Japanese is represented as an i!
- Pronouncing the word “karaoke” as “carry-OH-key”. That would make it “karioki”, yomenai bakamono! (The long “oh” sound is right, though, because the oke comes from a valiant Japanese attempt to pronounce our word “orchestra”)
- Pronouncing the word “Pokémon” as though it starts with the English word “poke” (even advertisers do this). It’s short for “pocket monster”, okay? Do you keep your wallet/keys in your poh-ket? (And if you’re posh enough to pronounce it “poh-ket”, you’re posh enough to have someone carry your wallet/keys for you anyway…)
- Referring to that Rammstein song with the ants in the music video as “Links Two Three Four” (even DJs/VJs do this… even?! They’re hardly the most intelligent people in the world!). If you must know, it’s German for “Left Two Three Four”. Yes, it’s a marching rhythm, well deduced!
- “Should of”, “could of”, “would of” — yes, people still do this… adults still do this!
- “Play-station” or “X-box” as generic terms for games consoles (though oddly, my mother’s friend said he was going to donate a “Wii 2” to us, and it turned out to be a PS2 rather than a Wii U, which hadn’t even been released at that time!)
- Pretty much all genericised trademarks — iPad (tablet), iPhone (smartphone), iPod (music player), Sellotape (sticky tape) or Hoover (vacuum cleaner). I know I shouldn’t be bothered by that one as an Englishman, but I’ve become more pedantic over the years!
- Social services terms I encounter in my job, such as “statemented” (yes, they actually use “statement” as a verb when referring to children having SEN statements) and “senior prac” (why not just refer to a senior practitioner as an “SP”?)
- “I could care less” — so, you do actually care? Or are you so sarcastic that you don’t even need the tone of voice anymo— I mean, any more?
(Don’t worry, though, I don’t mind Americans using different spellings and grammar from British English; provided, of course, that they acknowledge that they are wrong!)
Phew, the list is finally over! Now, if I might be serious for a while, this is a blog about recovering from depression, and I’d like to complain about the unhelpful things people say when they find out you suffer from this condition. Though you may recall me talking about this topic a long time ago, a picture currently doing the rounds on Facebook (yes, only morons have a Farcebook account, ha ha, how’s it feel to have no friends?!) sums it up rather more succinctly than I ever could, by showing what would happen if physical ailments were treated with the same disdain as depression:
I know, I know, I don’t have things anywhere near as bad as others: although I’ve had trouble getting up in the mornings lately, that’s been down to late nights, dark mornings, housemates changing the time on the heating/hot water so it only gets warm after I’ve already gone to work (argh!), and general indolence, rather than a relapse into genuine depression, and I’m glad to be getting better. In addition, I’ve never had to resort to medication (and threw away that diazepam with triumph at the end of my worst month), nor have I ever attempted suicide as a “cry for help”, or taken up self-harm (though my eardrums beg to differ whenever Gwar come on my headphones), so I’ve been, shall we say, “lucky”.
However, I hope more people see the image above and absorb its message (maybe then the person who drew it won’t mind me shamelessly ripping it off for my blog?), because if what I’ve been through in the past couple of years is only minor, I’d hate to imagine how other people feel who are having real problems! So, if you want my advice (and yes, I’m well aware of the irony of giving advice on not giving advice), if you have a depressed friend, just listen to them, and maybe say “mmm, yes” or “wow, really?”, don’t badger them to “get out of their comfort zone”. You may think you’ve gone through something similar, but if you really had, you’d know how much it sucks being told to, essentially, “stop having a problem”, so don’t do it!
Advice on how to sort out a practical matter is, of course, always welcome, because sorting out the little things can help remarkably (consider it a removal of distraction, or a lightening of the burden). And, of course, sometimes the practical matter really is the cause of the depression (housing/employment issues, for example)…
Fortunately, sometimes people say things that are really positive and uplifting. For example, when I went paintballing (ouch) with a Meetup.com group recently, at the following meal I started talking about how I abseiled down Camden Town Hall for charity when I was 30, and one woman said: “What do you mean, when you were 30!”, because she was convinced I was still in my twenties! (She herself also looked young, despite being a year older than me!) Not everyone compliments me that way, alas, and I haven’t been ID-ed for alcohol for as long as I can remember (though admittedly I only started buying alcohol again when I was 34), so I seize on occurrences such as this with so much delight that you’d think I was a woman (or a gay man).
Another nice thing that was said to me recently occurred when I was at a “career support day” with the agency that’s training me up for a career change to IT. I did my 90-second pitch, barely having to glance at my script, and one of the high-ups listening said that I was basically ready for a work placement. I’ll write a proper “career prospects” post about that another time (yes, one of the things I say is “I’ll write such-and-such in my blog”, but this time I really mean it!), but for now, I’ll just say I’m within measurable distance of escaping my dismal admin job forever and leave it at that for now. Huzzah!
Of course, the one thing I really want someone to say to me is “I want your body”, said by an attractive and available young woman (possibly with the suffix “and so does my identical twin sister”… oh, sorry, am I being a typical bloke?) — but hey, that’s something I’ve got to work towards, isn’t it? I’ve progressed from zero dates in 2012 to six (and a half?) dates in 2013, so who knows what next year will bring, if I keep it up… ooh, Matron!
(And no, I’m pretty sure Kenneth Williams only said “ooh, Matron!” once, if ever!)It was said to me back in 1998, during an excruciating five-week geological mapping trip in the Scottish highlands: “Don’t look at how far you’ve got left to go, look at how far you’ve come already”; it’s only now I’ve really come to appreciate this rather trite bit of rhetoric… and, as per tradition, it’s too late to do anything with this bit of advice other than pass it on!