Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wordz and speling

Do you have a certain word or words that you can just never spell correctly or words that other people use which annoy you.

At school I remember having trouble with ‘because’ until the grade 2 teacher shared the little ditty “ Big elephants can attack ugly snakes eggs” and eight was always “every indian girl has toys”. Don’t forget the song MARVELLOUS – was it the 80’s when cricket peoples had the one hit wonder song on the radio? Here it is here for a little trip down bad music lane.

So, I mastered those tricky ones, but the word guarantee remains a word that I can never spell (I just used the spell checker now) I need a new ditty, one that is easy to remember and ensures I never spell it wrong again.

I notice too many people now spell definitely  - definately, the a seems to have crept in, once it creeps in it hardly ever leaves, its just the evolution of words.

But us marketing drones only have ourselves to blame for the completely unnecessary use of the word – pro-active (I cringe as I write this horrid little phrase).  The word active will usually do quite fine, you don’t need to always be pro-active, you just need to do your job.

A little history of the word proactive - The use of the word proactive, sometimes also written pro-active was limited to the domain of experimental psychology in the 1930s. Oxford English Dictionary (OED) credits Paul Whiteley and Gerald Blankfort, citing their 1933 paper discussing proactive inhibition as the "impairment or retardation of learning or of the remembering of what is learned by effects that remain active from conditions prior to the learning". The 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning brought the word to the wider public domain. The author, Austrian existential neuropsychiatrist Dr. Viktor Emil Frankl, used the word proactive to describe a person who took responsibility for his or her life, rather than looking for causes in outside circumstances or other people. Frankl stressed the importance of courage, perseverance, individual responsibility and awareness of the existence of choices, regardless of the situation or context. 

So if you are not a psychologist, please stop using the word, it is annoying, over used and unnecessary.

Anyhoo peeps (one day to replace the word people in full) what words get up your nose? Can you help me stop writing guarntee? Will you tell all those pro-active talkers at the office to find a different word to use?


  1. i've answered somebody's similar post lately with complaining how confusing it is for me, poor foreigner, to read the same errors again and again, until i start doubting myself. on top of the errors i am making anyway. being fluent in French sometimes helps, sometimes i just make an idiot out of myself. i am spell-checking, wiki-ing and check translating as I go, i'm pretty used to that, but i am pleased to hear that the marketing and other business terms that are so overused in Europe(in it sounds even more trendy) also piss off the native speakers lol. :D

  2. KayK, anyone who is fluent in two languages is allowed to make mistakes, I imagine you are your harshest critic. Words change over time with common use, I am sure there are words and phrases that I also get wrong. You can't get too caught up in the letters, as long as the meaning gets through.

  3. There is one word I am constantly spelling wrong but I can never remember what it is until I can't spell it the next time.
    I hate, HATE the words seen and done in the wrong context; ie 'I seen you' and 'I done it'.

  4. I am so picky when it comes to spelling and grammar. I, too, detest the word 'proactive'. It's like 'moving forward' or 'journey' - so overused and ridiculous in so many contexts.

    When people get 'there' 'their' and 'they're' wrong - that drives me insane! Or 'your' and 'you're'. Grrrrr!

  5. Oh becky I am with you on those too, but they have become such common terms now that I feel as though it is only a matter of years before the language rolls that way.

    Megan, they are also common words mucked up, and always will be. People must get more proactive with there spelling journey!

  6. There are so many that annoy me. Proactive is definitely one. And empowered. I hate that word. I also hate it when people say "It was a pressurized situation" instead of just "pressured" or even (for godsake!) "I was under pressure".

    At school I am embarrassed to say that I could never spell embarassed properly or even embarrased. And occasional was always incorrect as well.

    I also frequently use the word 'lent' when I mean 'borrowed'. She 'lent that from me'. Drove my mother nuts... don't tell her I still ocassionally (sic) do it, okay! x

  7. Great post! I reckon we all have these words, they're like fingernails down a blackboard. Mine is 'chic' - it drives me nuts. Decor blogs are the biggest culprits, every time I read it, I cringe a little. If you really want to get me going, text speak does it every time.

  8. Maxabella, I bet you notice if the juniors say 'lent'. As long as no one is embararsed to have a go at writing, did you see that nasty comment on Cupcakes Frocks and Pink today. Uncalled for, no matter what the mistakes.

  9. My current word pet hate is "cohort". All the government advisors , public servants etc use it --to describe a particular group of people. I hate this bastardised Americanised use of the word--afterall its origin is a group of Roman soldiers and in my view we always used this word as a derogative --e.g "that corrupt politician and his cohorts". Can't we just say that "group" of people?

  10. It's embarrassing to know a word from reading but not know how to pronounce it correctly.
    I want to correct people when they use there and their, or your and you're, incorrectly, but I don't unless I am editing or they have asked for feedback.
    And then the worst is when I find where I've used them in error, like it is getting back at me.

  11. Hi Claire,
    You read my blog...spelling and grammar is not exactly my strong point.

    I don't like the word proactive.

    Thank you for your comments and stopping by my blog.

  12. from a person who cant spell thank god for spell check!! and a sister who was so good at spelling and grammer it drive me mad school her name is clairebear..

  13. Works out you are no alone, check out these common errors in English.

    and yes, definate is on the list!

  14. Hey KB, thanks for the list link, there are some fun ones there to look at. If you are interested in words, check it out. Real spelling and background of the word provided.

  15. I must say, poor grammar grates on me every time. They're and their, and the incorrect placement of ', such as in "photo's"! Arrghh!

  16. I hate when people misuse there, their and they're. STOP IT. My nemesis is privilege. I always spell it wrong.

  17. When I hear or see the word proactive, I think of those annoying infomercials with Jessica Simpson. Does that mean I watch too much TV? ;)

  18. Gosh..I had a problem with Wednesday (still say it in my head as Wed-nes-day when I write or type it) and separate ('r separates the two A's') and calendar and definitely. Many more! One word I cannot get for the life of me is (and here I go Googling it AGAIN) psychiatrist. Can never spell that. :)

  19. I hate the use of double pronouns like "you yourself" "I myself". I love the book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" although there are a few mistakes in there/their/they're too!

  20. So many people dislike the mis use of there, their etc. That doesn't bother me so much as it is generally spelt correctly, just the wrong one used, so we understand what they are trying to say. For me the annoying words are the ones over used, journey and strategic are way up there with proactive.

  21. I hate it when people us words like "verbalize" or is it "verbalise". What's wrong with just talking? Do we all have to verbalize/verbalise?

    I also hate ambulate instead of walk.

  22. I have soooo many. Rhythm is my least favourite word in the world to spell. And I hate the whole practice/practise business. Proactive is awful. To gift is awful. Growing a business is awful. Actually, most marketing speak is Just Plain Awful.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  23. I used to be a literacy assistant during my student teaching spent many, many hours teaching the '100 most commonly misspelled words' - so I think I've probably seen every good spelling error you can think of (and yes, they ALL drive me crazy after about the billionth time).

    The phrase I hate the most is 'reach out'. As in "I have a friend I could 'reach out' to for advice with that" What's wrong with 'ask'?? So NYPD blue...

  24. It really annoys me when people use "his" for he is (he's), as in: "his so cute", instead of "he's so cute". I see it a lot! Drives me nuts!

  25. I'm a bit of a spelling nazi but admit I always stumble over manouver. Manouvre. Maneuvre. Maneuver.
    Yeah that one.

  26. I agree.
    Occasionally ...I can never remember 2c's 1 s ...

    My Dad would never spell out words for us if we asked - he would remind us to get the dictionary out.It made me a careful speller till I start typing fast and don't look or check before publishing.

    Thank goodness for word check.

    Predictive text is a PIA though.

    Thanks for your comment on my rewind ;)


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