Like nails on a chalkboard, part 1

A speech bubble icon designed for my userpage.

There’s no shortage of English language abuses, so I plan to make this topic a recurring theme. I’ll start with a few utterances that hurt my ears as much as rock music seemed to hurt my grandmother’s. “How can people like this stuff?” She used to say. “How can people talk like this?” I find myself wondering today.

I could care less. I’ve been encountering this blasphemy more and more often, both in speech and in writing. In case you’re scratching your head, the correct expression is “I couldn’t care less.” The locution makes sense, given its meaning of “I care so little about what you’re telling me that I couldn’t possibly care less.” Is it really so hard to insert that extra half-syllable and get it right?

Equally as good. Another construction that’s cropping up with increasing frequency. In case anyone needs a reminder, “equally” means “as.” Thus, “equally as good” equates to “as as good,” an obvious pleonasm. I never heard the equally-as pairing when I was growing up. What are people putting in our food or water to make people speak this way?

Irregardless. It’s obvious what has happened here. Someone’s addled brain conflated “regardless” with “irrespective” to create this monstrosity.

Stay tuned for part 2, 3, 4, and a whole lot more. In the meantime, feel free to share the words and expressions that make you cringe.

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One Response to Like nails on a chalkboard, part 1

  1. catterel says:

    You speak from my heart! Myself is one that gets me – “Myself and the wife were walking along …” – but perhaps that’s only in the UK?

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