There are lots of things that piss me off. The heat, telemarketers, insurance salesmen, the Raleigh PD, any team from Detroit, take your pick.
HOWEVER! One thing is guaranteed to piss me off more than anything else in the world; willful misuse and abuse of English by a native speaker. You people have no idea how hard I have to work to control my visceral urge to beat the ever-lovin’ crap out of some motard that comes before me at my job and proceeds to treat me like I’m as dumb as he is while grossly misusing his mother tongue.
Language is a beautiful thing, children. If you’ve grown up speaking a language, and your IQ is higher than that of your average Barcalounger, you had damn well better learn to use that language well if you don’t want to be seen as a
Sabres fan dim-witted fool.
Let’s start with my favorite Crime Against English: the double-negative. Examples of this include:
Irregardless is NOT a word. Just because it’s the name of a nice eatery here in Raleigh, and just because it’s listed in the Oxford English Dictionary (a copy of which I have on my bookshelf–along with the invaluable Chicago Manual of Style), that does not mean that this double-negative is considered standard (or proper) English.
I can’t get no satisfaction, so the song says–and I can’t listen to that song without wanting to rip Mick Jagger’s balls off and stuff them up his nose.
And then we have the hilarity that ensues when I hear somebody using a word incorrectly–and I KNOW that it’s incorrect. The first commenter in this post to Lord Stanley’s Blog was referring to a magnate, which is “a person of rank, power, influence, or distinction often in a specified area” (e.g. a software magnate). Dictionaries are made for a reason, people. If you are not sure, LOOK IT THE HELL UP BEFORE YOU MAKE YOURSELF LOOK STUPID.
You want to send me into a near-homicidal rage? Use a word incorrectly, and when I politely point out your error look at me like I’m stupid and say “Whatever, you know what I meant”.
Sure, I know what you meant: you’re a blithering idiot, that’s what you meant. I’m going to mock your dumb ass my taking your misusage and running it into the ground, and then I’ll follow it up by grabbing a dictionary and piledriving it into your thick skull with a jackhammer!
Whatever, you know what I meant.
AND ANOTHER THING!
Lolcats is one thing. Meta-neologistic “gamerspeak” words like “pwn” and “lewtz” are one thing (well, one collective thing). That’s intentional linguistic mangling for the purposes of humor. It’s satirical. I let that slide. But the next time I see an out-of-place apostrophe turning a plural into a possessive or “their”, “there”, and “they’re” (for example) used as if they’re interchangeable parts, or see some variant of “ur”, “laf”, or a number used in place of a word or as part of a shortened-for-idiot-comprehension word (e.g. “ne1″), there’s a good chance that I may snap and go on a mad shooting spree! I did not ace the Verbal portion of my SAT (TWICE!) so that I could put up with that kind of slack-assed tomfoolery, people.
I’m not linguistically perfect, but at least I know how to spellcheck and use a damn style manual and dictionary. Sheesh.