In general, we hate new words that take the place of perfectly good words we already have. I welcome your examples.
First, let’s just say that English is a difficult language, and none of this is to denigrate English language learners. This is for adults, especially college-educated ones, who don’t understand their native language and aren’t curious enough to look something up if they don’t understand it; and those who make up words when we already have perfectly good ones with the same meaning.
* “To gift” (“I gifted him a horse.” You gave him a horse. It was a gift, which is implied in the word “give”. If it wasn’t a gift you’d say, “I sold him a horse” or “I lent him a horse.” The word “gift” replaces the perfectly good word “give”.)
* Misusing “reign” for “rein” (example “giving free rein…”, which has to do with letting your horse run, not holding it back with the reins – reign has no meaning here); Also “they’re”, “their”, and “there”; “its” and “it’s”. If you’re not sure which it is, look it up.
* “Borrow” for “lend” or “loan”, as in, “I borrowed him my book.”
* Apostrophes where they don’t belong – a favorite is the sign in front of a house: “The Smith’s” – do they mean multiple people named Smith live there? (The Smiths) Do they mean it belongs to the village blacksmith? (The smith’s) Do they mean it belongs to the Smith family and they are asserting ownership? (The Smiths’) Also apostrophes for plurals in general.
* “Step foot in” for “Set foot in” or “Step in”.
* “Hair-brained” for “hare-brained”.
* “Literally” for “figuratively”. (“I literally died that day.” No, you didn’t. You are still alive to tell me that you figuratively died that day. Literally, you are still alive.)
* “Ask” as a noun. (“That was a big ask.” It was a request. We already have that word.)
* “I could care less” for “I couldn’t care less”. (If you could care less, that means you do care.)
* “Irregardless” for “regardless”. (“Regardless” means “without regard”. “Irregardless” is a double negative, which would mean “with regard”.)
Adding “ality” to a word seems to give it new intellectual cachet. I guess we could refer to its “intellectuality”.
* Business jargon and cliches in general (“at the end of the day”, “circle back”, “lean in”, and all of those other phrases that you use to try to impress upon senior management that you’ve read the latest book by the currently-fashionable entrepreneur. I know, all of those are now old. )
P.S. If you play this game with me, I have more of the same – things I started writing long ago when bored one day and kept as drafts. They’ll be better with participation from you.
Sign o’ the Times
I went to a family wedding over the weekend. It was the first time I had seen my siblings in nearly two years (longer in one case). It was mostly outdoors. There was a basket of masks at the beginning of the food line in case you forgot yours. Weddings used to have personalized items like napkins and matchbooks. In this case it was bottles of hand sanitizer with a drawing of the couple and the date.
As we drove down the narrow town road to the site, my wife remarked at what a great road this would be for a bike ride. I guess I’m rubbing off on her. After dinner a few of us sat around the fire. The silent disco for dancing in the barn made the fire a peaceful spot. My nephew (from fire country in northern California) was nervous when he saw sparks rise from the fire. As you can see, there is a large open area surrounded by rocks and it is pretty green beyond that – but 30 years years in fire country will do that to you.
After century rides on consecutive weekends and the “Cycle September Challenge” through work (the website for which tells me I rode 780 miles last month), I may not get on my bike until Monday, when I drop the car for its 180,000 mile service and ride home…unless it is too nice out and I ride the other direction, out of town.