Sidetracked by grammar

I had this whole long serious post about the topic of owner relinquishments and why they were always a nightmare to deal with, but I got sidetracked from my mission when every single media outlet I could find that was talking about the case in question used, in some form or another, the word “euthanization.”

I’ve been seeing it in headlines in print and on the web with increasing frequency the last couple of years and it always makes my irises spasm with pain. Euthanasia, to euthanize: those two phrases pretty much cover all the uses of the word one might need. “Euthanization” is an unnecessary addition of letters that makes it sound like a horribly named indie alternative band. I want to find the person who first started using this word and banish them to the same desert island where the guy who coined the word “spaded” was sent in the late 1970’s.

The hardest part is, you can’t really correct someone when they have it wrong because then you’re the jerk who’s correcting someone who isΒ talking about euthanasia– so all I can do is try a pre-emptive strike while everyone is in a quiet contemplative mood, and just insert it into your subconscious to please never say it around me.

So here, for 2012, is the new and updated list of things that hit my eardrums like nails on a chalkboard:

* spaded: Spayed. One syllable.

* vetranarian: veterinarian. Six syllables.

* payment plan: Six syllables: Plans to pay, for first month.

* spider bite: Could be staph, might be a laceration, very rarely an actual spider bite.

* Just noticed it yesterday: Just started bleeding yesterday.

New for 2012!

* euthanization: A nation I do not want to visit.

Don’t get me wrong, if I were to hear any of these in an exam room I would politely nod and go about my business, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. But on the inside, there is a bespectacled little neuron sitting morosely at a desk in my frontal lobe, quietly weeping.

I know you all have interesting jobs with their own strange quirks- anything in particular that drives you to distraction when you hear it?


Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings Tagged: ,
  • Jessica Roberts

    It’s the “just” in “just noticed it yesterday” that’s the big giveaway… πŸ™‚ In my line of work, my two big complaints are:

    utilze: the word is “use”. “We are going to use this method to market our worthless services.”

    impact: just because you don’t know if you should spell it “affect” (verb) or “effect” (noun) doesn’t mean you should use a a word that makes everyone think of slamming into a mountain. “The effect of this plan is people will laugh at us. That will affect my self-esteem.”

    • Anonymous

      It always amazes me how few people know how to use the words “affect” and “effect” and just avoid them altogether!

    • Ivy

      This one bothers me, too. We had to learn it this way:
      Affect=Action (hence, a verb)
      Effect=rEsult (both have E’s)

  • Anonymous

    You forgot one!!! A pureBREAD dog. You know the whole wheat kind. Or if you’re jonesing for a foot long you get the Italian Herb and Cheese kind.

    I can’t help it I correct, people on their spaded purebread. It drives me bonkers.

    • Not to mention conversations about “breading” dogs. You know…I got her spaded because I do not plan to bread her, kinda thing.

  • Anonymous

    I’m right there with you on spaded! That one has bothered me since I was in elementary school and knew the (correct) word and what it meant! And spider bite has a whole different meaning in my world. My dog is named Clyde, sometimes known as Spider Bite. Started with Clyde, then went to Clyder, then Spider, and you know the rest.

  • Cwb829

    I work on energy policy in DC. The two words that truly drive me bonkers – Nuculer and Warshington. Makes me crazy!

    • My father is a nuclear engineer, so I feel your pain! We had that drilled into our heads early on.

  • Janea

    I’ll never forget the day I saw a classified ad for a “full-bloodied dash hound.”

    I work for a nonprofit organization and I get more than my fill of jargon on a daily basis — and the thing that drives me crazy is the habit of verbifying nouns (e.g., “visioning”) and nounifying verbs (e.g., “learnings”). Eschew obfuscation, I say! πŸ™‚

  • dulgerom

    Where I live people leave out the word “to” from “to be”. I worked for a guy who hated that. The receptionist came by one day and asked him “do your plants need watered”. He looked at her and said “No, my plants don’t need watered, but they do need to BE watered”. After a short pause she looked at him and said “That’s what I asked, do your plants need watered?” I think he quietly cried.

  • Lisa W

    One of the products at my company has two capital letters at the beginning of its name. Now I know that word processing programs want to auto-correct that, but if people paid attention it is easy to correct. And I see customer presentations with the word wrong! They (and I) cheerfully refer to me as the grammar police (or Nazi) but, honestly, all of it drives me nuts.

    Also, interesting that you would post this today. I put a grammar cartoon on my FB page!

    • Lisa W

      And BTW, I’m totally stealing the picture…

  • Susan

    Asking people to spell their name. Ask them to spell it, and instead they just repeat it, or say it slower or repeat it and add “As in….”
    Really, I am not asking you to spell it because I am curious, I am asking you to spell it because it is a requirement of my job.

  • LV Bevin

    As a lawyer, the two that get me are: squashing a warrant (warrants get quashed) and the point is mute-no, it is moot.

    • Also, “squashing” a subpoena. And I once read in a file note “we must preserve it otherwise there will be exfoliation of evidence”. Yes, I hate it when my evidence has been attacked with a loofah.

      • But the evidence does wind up so polished and smooth afterwards.

  • My agency is Alcoholic Beverage Control. I often hear people say “Alcohol and Beverage Control.” I don’t care about the other beverages! I just enforce laws pertaining to the alcoholic ones!

  • I do hope you will make your planned post…I think I have a pretty good idea what story you were going to post on and am wondering some things about the (euthanasia consent? Owner relinquishment?) form.

    I’m with you on spaded. Never really gave “euthanization” much thought, but good point there.

    I tend to try to be understanding of things like spelling errors, but one thing that really makes me cringe is “German Shepard”. It’s Shepherd, folks.

    Not animal related, but another thing that grates on me like nails on a chalkboard is the term “agree to disagree”…I cringed just typing it. When I either hear it or read it, I have about several thousand bespectacled neurons weeping at desks in my frontal lobe.

  • This blog post had me giggling the whole way through. As a professional trainer, the statements I hear at my job that make me cringe are often similar:

    – The only issue is house-training: She bites the kids, but I can’t afford to keep having the rugs professionally cleaned.

    – She’s never done that before (or; It was completely out of the blue): She’s been giving warnings for years and bitten the mailman, but she’s never actually bitten anyone in the face before now.

    – She’s just out of control: We confine her to a house all day with no exercise, have spent no time or energy training her, don’t walk her regularly and magically want her to lay calmly at our side while we enjoy a roaring fire and superb glass of wine.

    Ahhh…the list could go on & on. But, I’ll end it with this gem:

    – She’s Friendly!: I know she’s not supposed to be off-leash, but I can’t recall her, so she’s going to rudely charge your on-leash dog and there’s nothing I can do. Yes, I’m an idiot.

    Thanks for the laugh today!

    • Lsarabethl

      But what about “well she was obviously abused because ” As a trainer I’m sure yogurt this one a lot too!

    • Anonymous

      I *love* that last one!!! I get that all the time as off-leash dogs run up to my on-leash dog who doesn’t appreciate confrontations like that!

  • Kari

    “All my homework.” Usually preceded by “I did.” Unfortunately, usually followed by, “except…” and then a long laundry list of exceptions.

    “I’ll axe him.” Unless you’re Lizzie Borden, you’re probably just going to ask him something.

    “He should of known.” Can’t find a have with two hands and a dictionary.

  • Lsarabethl

    A variation on “just noticed it yesterday” is “just happened yesterday” which means “it happened two weeks ago but we thought it would heal on its own”

    Don’t forget to give some love for “temperment” shots (and yes I had to fight with spell check to post that)

  • I work at a truck repair shop and people constantly hear a word from somewhere and use it to describe what is broken even though they are actually talking about something completely different. Please, if you have no idea what you’re talking about, don’t try to sound like you do…because then you get all pissed at me for giving you the part you actually asked for!! Also, being a girl, it can be difficult (but sometimes kind of fun πŸ™‚ ) to say, “No middle aged man, you’re actually talking about a u-bolt, not a shackle” said by the 27 year old girl who knows more about your truck than you do! πŸ˜€

  • Doggerel (Abby)

    As a copy editor and obsessive dog lover, I am so delighted to read this post. The one that REALLY bugs me too: “German shepard.” SHEPHERD, people. Shepherd. No one spells that word correctly. I’ve even seen a shepherd rescue group that called themselves a “shepard rescue agency.” For shame…

  • Vet Changes World

    Euthanatize and euthanatize are actually a real words, apparently “eutizing” is too: Many of our vet school professors from Canada actually used “euthanatize” more often. So no more reason to make fun of people for using it than say for saying “tomAto” or “tOmato”.

    Vet Changes World

    • Vet Changes World

      Oi. Here I’m the doofus, you said “euthanization” not “euthanatize”. Long day.

  • Roberta Beach

    In nursing, we talk about “orienting” patients, staff, etc. What sets my teeth on edge are those who insist on “orientating” people. Grrrr….

  • Phillyfisher

    Oh, this made me laugh! As a structural engineer there are a couple of things that set me off. First, it is MASONRY, not masonary. It is CONCRETE, not cement. And finally it is CHIMNEY, not chimbley. God, I feel better… Thank you Dr V!