Unword of the Day

a whole nother
very unique
do the needful
expel the virtues

My husband used to work on a project at a major bank, and he dealt with staff in their many South East Asian offices. Working with lots of people who have English as their second language, he encountered a wide range of unusual language usage.

Being a sensitive soul (and a tech writer in another life, I’m sure) he was often offended by some of the clangers he heard, and would bring them home for me to be shocked about.

Many blog posts have already been written about “irregardless” but that is one of the first he noticed.
“Do the needful” is another favourite, and one he heard the other day was “expel the virtues”.

It’s everywhere

I subscribe to the view that English is a living language and I tend to embrace language inventions that tickle me. I’m all for the reinvention of “because” as a preposition (now because NOUN), and I regularly use fat as the past participle form of fit:

“I tried on the skirt and it fat real good”.

People who are new speakers of English tend to be able to combine pieces in new and interesting ways. In some cases they are just following the language instinct, something Stephen Pinker wrote a whole book about.

The point

It’s not worth losing sleep over. Try to go with the flow and don’t censure people when you think they’ve made a mistake. It may be hard to relinquish the meanings of words like “literally” which has recently had a ‘secondary’ meaning accepted in the dictionary, but this is the way of the future and sometimes I think if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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