As most of you know, I’m inclined to be very conservative with regard to changes in English–my reaction is something like, “Okay, I’ll accept that change as soon as you convince me it makes the language more flexible, and permits finer distinctions.” Now that, in itself, is neither good nor bad. I understand that many battles have already been lost, and if I still use “hopefully” to mean filled with hope and never use it for I hope or all right-thinking people ought to hope, and if I consider “they” to be plural, well, that’s my business, and I’m not about to criticize someone else for using them differently. And lately, I’ve even been trying to grit my teeth and remain silent in the face of “proactive.”
In many cases, especially corporate-speak, I know perfectly well why I hate it: it serves to blur distinctions, and to convey a dishonest subtext (for example, “self-select” in place of “choose” is intended to elevate the importance of the subject, the object, or both).
But what is interesting to me is when I discover exceptions. Blatant misuses of English, usually from the internet, that delight me. I’ve found no pattern for when something makes me grimace in pain, and when it makes me smile.
For example, “U” in place of “you” irritates me, but I actively like “obvs.”
Remember the lolcats thing from a few years ago? I hated that. For about six months. Then, suddenly it made me grin, and I even used it a few times. Why the change? I have no idea.
Much of leetspeak (such as “l33t”) makes me want to hit someone. But there are other things just as bad that I’m totes okay with, and some of them are just adorbz.
So, do you love them all, hate them all, or are there some you like? And if you can figure out a pattern in my taste or your own, I’m interested in hearing it. Because language.