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Lame Grammar

This morning a guy reporting on sports said a team “could not rest on their previous laurels.” The expression is “rest on one’s laurels” and does not include the word “previous.” A laurel in this context is something you did well and were lauded for. All laurels, therefore, are previous. It is redundant to say so.

Welcome to Lame Post Friday. The only thing I can come up with today is certain things people say that bother me. I thought it might make a fun read, and it will certainly do me good to get some things off my chest.

One of my biggest peeves: Very unique. Nothing is very unique. It is unique or it is not unique. Unique does not mean the same thing as unusual. Something can be very unusual or even the most unusual. Unique means there is one. You can’t be the very only one. I know some people use the word “onliest,” but it is not really a word.

Unique even sounds better without the very. There is an ad for the Bank of Utica on television in which a man asserts, “Utica is unique.” I believe him. Actually, now that I think of it, the word “very” does not help in a lot of circumstances. Just find a better adjective.

Here’s another peeve: “different than.” The correct usage is “different from.” “Than” is for quantifiable comparisons: A is bigger than B. You can measure it. Different is qualitative, which is different from quantitative (see what I did just then?).

How about using “myself” when you mean “me.” “The committee consists of Harold, Caroline and myself.” People seem to think it sounds more formal, but it’s wrong.

I could go on to talk about there, their and they’re, or it’s vs its. However, those are only a problem in the written word. Today I’m being bothered by the spoken word. Perhaps on a future Lame Post Friday I shall tackle the written word. Actually, these days it’s usually typed, and that opens up a vista of initials, abbreviations etc. that make my head ACHE. Ah, something to look forward to. Happy Friday, everybody.

2 responses »

  1. Good Post! I’m still reeling from a job interview where my interviewer kept saying “irregardless” …

  2. Yeah, that’s another one! Haven’t heard it recently or it would have made the post!


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