Friday, February 9, 2007

Words DO Hurt!!

Some people use language to their advantage, and others, well, they use it AND abuse it. Most writers are adamant about checking spelling and grammar, but folks in every day life generally don't. I don't expect everyone to speak like an English scholar, BUT don't use words if you don't know what they mean and don't use them out of context!

Some people use words to impress other people, which is fine, but again, read the above. We all use slang with our friends and family, but when it's time to go to a job interview, we "code switch". That special time in our lives when we speak like Ms. Prudehome from that episode of the Jefferson's (Y'all know what I'm talkin' 'bout) ;*)

Anyhoo, I had such an incident a couple of years back at a friend's wedding. (Note to friends: don't try to guess which friend's wedding because I have gone to several!) There was an older lady who came to sit in the pew in front of my guests and I that accompanied me to said wedding.

Anyway, the lady proceeded to ask this question: " 'Scuse me.." (I must interrupt here. She did not mispronounce excuse. That was her dialect. I live in South Carolina and that IS a word!! It just is. Now I'll continue...) The lady said, " 'Scuse me, are these seats observed?" I wanted to say, "Yes, they're observed! Aren't you looking at them?" I looked around, hoping someone else would answer her. I was holding onto my laughter harder than a fat plumber holding onto his jeans. She asked the question AGAIN, so I said quite gingerly, "No ma'am, no one is sitting there."

Now, I hope I don't go to hell for the above, but hey, we all do something that would potentially piss someone off. The older lady meant to say, "Are these seats reserved?" God, I hope everyone reading this knows that! :*) Now, she could have just as easily asked, "Are these seats taken?," or "Is someone sitting here?" She wanted to use a larger word but was unable to effectively.

So, my lesson for today is, DON'T USE WORDS IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN!! If you do, you'll be personally responsible for causing Noah Webster, American lexicographer, to have night terrors in his grave!!! Thank you. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!

9 comments:

ORION said...

I loved this!!!! Even without liquid refreshment I snorted!
Yanno.
Maybe they THINK they know what the word means!

Heather Brewer said...

LOL! Oh my...yeah, I've been in situations like these many times. Too funny!

And dude, I have a HUGE CRUSH on the pic you have up! Much droolage.

And I say that without observe. ;)

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Funny, Tyhitia! I had an uncle that was bragging about his daughter being an RN and he kept going around saying she was a "Restricted Nurse" when I think he meant "Registered Nurse." Then there is my all time pet peeve, people who say "ideal" when they mean "idea," as in "I have an ideal..." huh? Great post!

Demon Hunter said...

Pat,
I couldn't help but post it! People need to realize this stuff. It drives me nuts! LOL!

Heather,
My comment pic and the one by my name on the front of the blog? It may look like a dude from behind, but it's really a chick holding a gun in each hand. She's going to see someone, and she is a little upset!
Gwen,
That is too funny about your uncle. I'm sure he didn't think twice about it. Thanks for the compliment, I just had to post it!

Richelle said...

I actually have a hell of a time with pronunciation. I read so much and pick up a lot of new words that I never actually hear spoken. So, my problem isn't in being able to use a big word correctly, so much as risking sounding like an idiot when I say said word. :)

Anonymous said...

LOL! That was so funny. You know where we live and the things people say here. Jenn

Demon Hunter said...

Richelle,
All of us writers learn new words; that's no big deal. I'm just referring to the folks who use the wrong words to say something else entirely. You must be saying something right, you've got a contract! ;*)

Jen,
I know where we live but that's NO excuse! LOL!

writtenwyrdd said...

I had an embarrassing moment like that once... I thought I knew the meaning but I didn't! The word was "erstwhile" and at the time I thought it meant "supposed." I got laughed at. How mortifying!

Demon Hunter said...

Written,
That does suck. Well, at least now, you know better! :*)