Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three Examples

Here are three entries about language use and abuse. I decided to put them into one post instead of three different ones because they were a little too short to stand by themselves.

Recently, I've been tempted to use the word proper like the English do -- as a synonym for correct or best, as in "The proper way to fix the motor is ..."

Americans, I find, use the word proper as a synonym for the way things should be done -- as a moral judgment. It's close to the use of the words appropriate and propriety. To me, they mean a coerced conformity done out of fear.

An abbrevation I'm sure you've seen on the internet is WTF -- short for what the fuck.

An eight-year-old girl thought it stood for why, that's funny. Her older brother told her that -- surely out of the goodness in his heart.

Somewhat related, I thought FTW always meant fuck the world. It turns out that it also means for the win.

As for using about or of in the following context, which is better?

Many people say, "I know about it." It's heard more often in everyday talk.

Some people write, "I know of it." It's more literary, but sounds pretentious if it's spoken.

No comments: