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Can't hardly wait is surely a close third... 
23rd-May-2010 09:58 pm
Loz Cola
David Mitchell's Soapbox on US English

YES! YES FUCKING YES. "I could care less" must die as an expression. I have been saying this for years. This is the only English fail that really, really, really gets my goat.

In second place is not 'hold the fort', but the fact 'alternative' has become 'alternate' in standard US English. I can't fault people on its usage because it's accepted, and therefore not a mistake, but, fuck it, 'alternate' in standard UK English is a perfectly cromulent word that implies something quite, quite different from 'alternative' and I prefer it that way.

♥ And this is why David Mitchell is my God. (John Finnemore is also awesome.)
23rd-May-2010 01:30 pm (UTC)

There are more David Mitchell's Soapbox episodes? *delight*
23rd-May-2010 01:33 pm (UTC)
Yes! Just started recently. Glee!
23rd-May-2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
Heh, I watched that yesterday(as I have been on a Mitchell binge this weekend) and I adored it as I loathe "I could care less". It drives me insane.

On alternative/alternate, well, I don't care because I am an American! What I hate is the improper use of "literally". People frequently use it when they mean "virtually" or "almost". Argh. HATE!
23rd-May-2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
I have also been on a Mitchell binge this weekend :D :D :D

I literally could care less, were I in an alternate dimension where I had to hold down the fort. ARGH. ARRRRRGHHHH!
23rd-May-2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
David needs to marry me, and we'll make pedantic obsessive babies together. I hate 'I could care less' - I'd never heard 'hold down the fort' but now I hate that too.

I quite like misuse of 'literally', though, because it's hugely funny so often. My most favouritest recent example was a football team that were 'literally playing out of their skins'. EWWWWWW! XD What's not to love about that?
23rd-May-2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
I've said before that of all my fictional boyfriends, David's the one I want to marry the most.

I used to find misuse of 'literally' amusing. Certainly, I don't mind it for ironic effect. But, no. No! It's annoying when people have no idea it's wrong, wrong, wrong.
23rd-May-2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
I completely agree. I love how he explains it, and also its high (?) similarity to John Cleese's version. There's even graphical reproduction.

Can you please go and comment on Language Log with these thoughts? It's linked here, and discusses this point with David Mitchell's video as inspiration. Annoyingly it also suggests, "Is this apparent trend towards bashing features of colonial language somehow connected with the new Tory-led government?" *headdesk*

FAIL, LLOG. ABSOLUTE FAIL. As two individuals in different governmental circumstances, I can't see how this can possibly be true, and it makes me angry. *hmpph*
23rd-May-2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
The casual misuse of "literally" is annoying, but there are so many delightful examples that I can't get behind a blanket ban. When the Lexus is described on American network news as "literally rocketing out of control" or "literally flying", I confess to a perverse thrill of joy.

(R.I.P. "figuratively" ... we hardly knew ye.)

As far as misuse, I particularly dislike the truncated subordinate clause "as far as [something]". (Just typing that phrase made me grit my teeth.) You almost never hear "as far as [something] goes" or "as far as [something] is concerned" any more. I noticed this one popping up in North America about 15 years ago, and now it's rampant. I'd even be grateful for "As for [something]" - which I suspect is the absentee father of this bastard construction, by the way - but that's every bit as rare.

I'm not convinced this one is purely an Americanism, by the way. I've heard British people using it too.
23rd-May-2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
"I could care less," is sarcasm. It's like being up to your ass in alligators and someone asking how you're doing and your response is "Lovely, just lovely." I don't understand why this phrase gets up so many people's noses.

The abuse of "passion..." Absolutely. It's degrading 'passion' into 'fondness' the way "excellence" has deteriorated into "not really too crappy." And the "excellence" thing was really hyped in academia, where it came to mean "some damned buzzword addict misusing the word."+
23rd-May-2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Because there are people who literally(heh, and I really do mean literally, not using it in the slang sense) don't understand the difference "I could not care less" and "I could care less". They use the phrases interchangeably. Most of the time when I've heard people say "I could care less" they meant the opposite. That's why I find it annoying and I am not particularly pedantic. I'm sure there people who do know the difference and use "I could care less" sarcastically but that's not been the case when I've heard people employ it.
23rd-May-2010 07:11 pm (UTC) - I no longer care
When it first came to my outraged attention in the '80s I was hearing "*I* could care less" or "Like *I* could care less." It was a sarcastic turn on the original phrase. Emphasis different than you typically hear now. What with the whippersnappers reappropriating it for sincere expressions of disinterest, and all.

There's an article on "could care less" on World Wide Words that brings up a point that has been bothering me WRT many language gripes: class stigma.

Which yellow flag doesn't make pull my hair out any less when I read yet another fanfiction using "could of" or saying "[he] was stood [on the tarmac]". Was he now. Was he indeed.
23rd-May-2010 07:27 pm (UTC) - Re: I no longer care
Everyone hates "could of", but I'm from the West Coast in the U.S., and what everyone says sounds exactly like "could of". And usually fs and vs are pronounced really differently here, so it's hard for me to conceptualize it as "could've". Especially since there's a pause between "could" and "'ve".
24th-May-2010 05:49 am (UTC)
You love John Finnemore? Are you familiar with 'Cabin Pressure'? If not, I'll send you details - it absolutely *rocks*.
24th-May-2010 07:05 am (UTC)
I sort of only know him from the soapboxes and additional sketch show material. I'm interested, now, though.
24th-May-2010 06:24 am (UTC)
I was going to comment on something in that, but then I was completely distracted by the sudden need to track down and watch every DM's Soapbox episode on the internet. This is entirely your fault. :P

(Well, maybe not entirely. I have always been fond of his appearances on QI...)
24th-May-2010 07:06 am (UTC)
Bwaaaahahaha! ♥

Hey, at least I didn't also link to tv tropes.
24th-May-2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
"Could care less" cheeses me off so bad, I can't tell you. I get really prissy about it. "What do you mean, you could care less? That would mean that you do actually care. So you're saying nothing like what you think you're saying."

I've gotten into heated debates about this. Seriously.
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