How do you cope when everyone’s usage is wrong?

Soooo – you thought our present day kids are to blame for changing the english language and meanings of words?

Stroppy Editor

Princess_Bride_That_WordThe remarkable thing about language change is that it only started happening when I started noticing it. For centuries, English was constant and true, but as soon as I was old enough to have an appreciation of good standards of usage, people around me started falling short. Since then, there has been an alarming, unprecedented surge in rule-breaking.

Neither I nor anyone else really believes any such thing, of course, but some of us sometimes talk as if we do. One such person is Lionel Shriver.

In an article in Harper’s, she wages war on what she calls “semantic drift”. Using the rhetorical style that’s obligatory for such pieces – mock-theatrical (and therefore deniable) moral horror – she rails against “decay”, “degeneration”, “blight”, “barbarism”, “mob rule” and the replacement of “civilised” with “contaminated” English at the hands of “animals”. Shriver’s a fantastic writer, but this kind of thing is…

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2 thoughts on “How do you cope when everyone’s usage is wrong?

  1. I usually mutter about doing dire deeds to the person who committed the treasonous act, then sigh, dramatically, imbibe a bracing cup of tea, and get on with what I was doing. Life’s too short to get all twisty about such things. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

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