I am part of a wonderfully engaging online community that shares baking mishaps and celebrations, reading and viewing recommendations and watch-outs along with a rather over-indulged sense of worth when it comes to grammar and the use of the English language. We love to share typos, puns and general alliterative joy.
Last night I started a conversation (because that’s what I do in online groups) that garnered only 23 likes but more than 220 comments (and growing). It overflowed my cup of inspiration so I’ve spilled it all into a blog post, for wider enjoyment…not to mention my own amusement.
If you are prone to self-harm when you read typos or a whole bunch of corporate wank and weasel words, then this post may not be for you. Proceed with caution.
As you know, I wrote a Facebook post the other night to a group of around 28,000 people. Fast-forward to an hour later and it had started a massive conversation. I wrote in my post that I really hate it when people write in a newsletter (or similar) “Don’t forget…” when it’s actually the first time they’ve ever mentioned the thing they’re writing about.
Like I was saying, it was all about the language nuances and pet peeves. Which, to be honest, are a personal thing.
Of course, I could just have been a bit grumpy when I wrote the post but my fellow online community members were quick to jump on board and run their own pet peeves up the flagpole so we could all share the load.
To cut a long story short I’ll be speaking about this thread for the rest of this post.
The premise of the thread was quite simple really; don’t use a big word when a singularly unloquacious and diminutive linguistic expression will satisfactorily accomplish the contemporary necessity. Or words to that effect.
To be honest, I may have started something that was all about myself but quickly became a think tank where hundreds of us began to unpack the language pet peeves in our daily life.
I didn’t mean for it too be pacific or about spelling or correct grammar or anythink (Lord knows I ain’t a grammar queen, in fact I pride myself on a very loose interpretation of it most days). In fact, the whole thread could of turned nasty. But this group is actually a bunch of kindness warriors* so we were polite in our distain for language bastardry.
So, it carried on overnight with comment after comment that, by the looks of it, meant we were all on the same page. The whole thread really was a sneak peak into the minds of a select group of language aficionados. Who, just between you and me, are a totally awesome online community, even if we do get carried away.
I work with words everyday in my job so I’m quite used to discussing these issues in my space or even correcting others…politely of course. Although it can get a bit frustrating when there are commas in, the, wrong place, for example. But that’s different to bad spelling. People can react quite formerly when their personal style is challenged. They get all particular when they start their message with words like ‘Please be advised’, when they could in fact, just start their bloomin’ message.
I mean, at the end of the day (which is actually night) we’re all human, right? And language can unite us or untie us. As I always say, it’s worth making the pilgrimage to your colleague’s desk to chat about things in person.
On top of all these issues could be someone’s need to just use aesthetic** language or clarify their writing or state the obvious like ‘if everyone could please read this’. I mean the list goes on. Who knows why people reach out they way they do? Maybe it’s for the same reason that they ‘lean in’. I don’t really know. But I’ll always push back on things that don’t make sense to me.
Personally, I can be a bit insensitive and just plough right ahead, correct the message and not give a worry to the impact I’ve had. My bad. But I do take pleasurable umbrage to oxy morons and unnecessary reiteration, especially when they’re reversing backwards over my online reading at 6am in the morning.
By the looks of it I’ve come to the end of my post on pet peeves.
None of this is meant to offend anyone, in any way shape or form. Quite the opposite, in fact. I say if you have a style then go forth and use it. Write your way and be fearless. I do. All good?
Thanks in advance for your positive response to this bloody annoying blog post.
Please do not hesitate to contact me by leaving a message.
You’re more than welcome.
PS. I managed to cram more than 50 pet peeves in this post. Can you spot them all?
*Fun fact: recently raised more than $7k for a fellow member who had become homeless. True story.
** Yeah, that was a new one for me too! Apparently the young kids are saying “aesthetic” instead of “beautiful” on the old Insta these days.
LIFE (or writing) RESOURCES
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