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Its their principal pet peeve
July 28, 2010 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Learn Your Damn Homophones
posted by silby (153 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I honestly don't see this as being used as anything other than a way to mock people in online discussions. It's not like if you don't know this stuff you're going to say "Yikes... better get on Google and read up on my homophones!"

Feeling superior for knowing basic grammar isn't a very attractive quality in a person, personally.
posted by codacorolla at 8:12 AM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


FTFY: Its there principal pet peeve.
posted by mr vino at 8:13 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Am I the only one getting itchy reading "damn" instead of "damned"? I mean, I realize it's an accepted usage, but we're trying to be pedantic here.
posted by phunniemee at 8:13 AM on July 28, 2010 [33 favorites]


Learn Your Damn Homophones

I don't need to learn about bigots!
posted by grubi at 8:14 AM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wow, it's like they culled YouTube comments for grammar advice.

I cannot bear this any longer: please, learn your damn homophones.

I'm almost entirely sure that's supposed to be a semicolon. Fuck! Shit! Balls!
posted by griphus at 8:15 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Loose and lose aren't mutually homophonic, nor are than and then.
posted by doublehappy at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


I still fuck up "affect" and "effect".. ::hangs head in shame::
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not judging here; I'm just trying to figure things out.

transposed homophones = extraordinarily offensive
insults and casual obscenities = apparently fine

Amazing how far public communication has come?
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:17 AM on July 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


They left out breech/breach, which is the one that always pisses me off.
posted by felix betachat at 8:18 AM on July 28, 2010


> I vote for semicolon.

Also, that's all they could come up with? Get back to me when they've actually gotten indignant about a few hundred more things.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:18 AM on July 28, 2010


Werd.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 AM on July 28, 2010


I’m going to ban you from speaking if you can’t get homophones right.

U iz bein ironik?
posted by ob at 8:20 AM on July 28, 2010


I always thought it was stupid that capitol and capital are different yet related.
posted by Think_Long at 8:21 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


or just skipped all of the grammar lectures because you were too busy sucking off that dude in the locker room

uh huh. ok angry man.
posted by molecicco at 8:21 AM on July 28, 2010


Butt witch is wurst ewe knit?
posted by unliteral at 8:22 AM on July 28, 2010


VANE

If Verb then Affect.
If Noun then Effect.

'tis all you need to know.
posted by resiny at 8:22 AM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Its like their giving free reign to their principle pet peeve.
posted by Mocata at 8:22 AM on July 28, 2010


Feeling superior for knowing basic grammar isn't a very attractive quality in a person, personally.

Perhaps not, but knowing basic grammar is.
posted by General Tonic at 8:23 AM on July 28, 2010 [29 favorites]


If Verb then Affect.
If Noun then Effect.


Completely wrong.
posted by enn at 8:24 AM on July 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Uh oh, resiny, better hope no one tries to effect a change in your mnemonics!
posted by phunniemee at 8:24 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Violet Beauregard: "Spitting's a dirty habit."
Willy Wonka: "I know a worse one."
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:26 AM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Nah, I speak to my nephew and his girlfriend on facebook all the time, I'm grateful if they use capital letters and anything else is a bonus. When people say 'ur so vane omg lol' it's easy enough to work out what they're saying. Pretending you can't work it out or that it changes the intended meaning is totally annoying though.
posted by shinybaum at 8:30 AM on July 28, 2010


here here!
posted by sexyrobot at 8:30 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


If Verb then Affect.
If Noun then Effect.

'tis all you need to know.


Ah, if only that were true (note the proper use of subjunctive case there) ...
ef·fect   [ih-fekt]
. . .
–verb (used with object)
10. to produce as an effect; bring about; accomplish; make happen: "The new machines finally effected the transition to computerized accounting last spring."
Unfortunately, most modern dictionaries don't make the distinction between "effect" and "affect" quite so clean (I don't know if this reflects a recent change in the definition or not, but I have only modern dictionaries to cite, so I'll limit the scope of this comment to modern dictionaries in the interest of furthering the art of pedantry.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:31 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]



If Verb then Affect.
If Noun then Effect.

Completely wrong.


Well, completely incomplete is what it is. In any case it makes the dude (I bet 500 American Lira it is a dude) look like a tool.
posted by Mister_A at 8:32 AM on July 28, 2010


Speaking as a Briton, distinguishing practise from practice seems to be a common problem on our side of the pond.
posted by jonnyploy at 8:33 AM on July 28, 2010


Oh I see - that was not from the site but from resiny's grammar school acronym. I do not think you are a tool, resiny—your acronym works in the most common cases; but mostly I don't think you're a tool because you didn't devote a whole site to being a pedantic schoolmarm. That was the toolishness I referred to.
posted by Mister_A at 8:36 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


NOT SCHOOLMARM-IST
posted by Mister_A at 8:36 AM on July 28, 2010


Sure, those are annoying and all when used incorrectly, but man do THESE get me RILED:

nomic/gnomic
interpolate/interpellate
complacent/complaisant
imminent/immanent/eminent
enervation/innervation
posted by macross city flaneur at 8:37 AM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Completely wrong.

No, not completely. It covers 99% of all usages of the two.

Is that going to affect anything?
Yes, it will have an effect.

I'm well aware of other constructions (effect a change), but if you know usages like that then you probably don't need my mnemonic anyway. I use it for those brain fart moments.
posted by resiny at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, we get it, you know how to spell things, and when other people don't, you're totally pissed off. But it's tired. Every time I see someone get all Grammar Asshole on the internet, I wish that "Not caring so much about mistakes in written language" would hurry up and become the new cupcakes (or froyo, or whatever we're up to now).
posted by 23skidoo at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2010


VANE

If Verb then Affect.
If Noun then Effect.

'tis all you need to know.


Unless you're reading or writing about psychology.
posted by availablelight at 8:39 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Resiny spelled "vein" wrong lol.
posted by Mister_A at 8:40 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always learned that effect was specific and affect was non-specific. Is that wrong?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:43 AM on July 28, 2010


Should anal retentive be hyphenated?
posted by jim in austin at 8:44 AM on July 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow, since a lot of you can't read between the lines: hamburger.
posted by reductiondesign at 8:44 AM on July 28, 2010


Unless you're reading or writing about psychology.

For example: "The patient's profound bluntness of affect effected a gradual change in the doctor's own mood, which began subtly affecting the rest of the staff, to."
posted by saulgoodman at 8:47 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Affect and Effect I have to look up all the time. Discreet/Discrete I had no idea were separate words, luckily I don't really use them that much at all so I don't think I have embarrassed myself with that oversight.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mad props too saulgoodman.
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


@23skidoo - there are definitely a few good arguments about why grammar nerds are annoying (and even ignorant), like the fact that a lot of linguistic drift originates in mistakes that then become the norm.

But if anything is tired, it's the casual dismissal of somebody's point of view as "so five years ago". As if everything needed to respond to the consumer/corporate/marketing mindset. Man, if only THAT would go the way of Froyo.
posted by macross city flaneur at 8:49 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you don't hyphenate "anal-retentive" you run the risk of a bad line break completely changing your meaning.
posted by Mister_A at 8:49 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pointing out anyone's (especially an online debate opponent's) grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors is petty and obnoxious, and almost always a clear sign you've lost the high road. But knowing and using, and for that matter caring about the basic skills most all of us learned in fifth grade is worth something, too. Especially in this Internet age when people communicate via writing more than ever before.

tl;dr: I won't feel guilty for questioning the sincerity, priorities and/or efficiency of any adult who consistently butchers their native language.
posted by applemeat at 8:49 AM on July 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ironic jokes implying that gay sex is disgusting aren't any better than non-ironic jokes implying that gay sex is disgusting.
posted by muddgirl at 8:52 AM on July 28, 2010


I still fuck up "affect" and "effect".. ::hangs head in shame::

That's ok! You can just use "impact" instead, like top businessoids, technocrats and others like journalists! Remember, using "impact" adds punchitude, nowness and impactfullness to your verbiation!
posted by bonehead at 8:54 AM on July 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


Personal fave (from where I work): segue / segway.
posted by clicking the 'Post Comment' button at 8:55 AM on July 28, 2010


There are no words relating to the structural retention of large bodies of water listed anywhere on this page! FAIL
posted by waraw at 8:55 AM on July 28, 2010


If only Motorola had been able to keep up in the CPU mhz wars, I would not have had to cut off my hand the 50th time someone asked a question about their G4 duel CPU Tower on MacNN.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:05 AM on July 28, 2010


.kobayashi. hits the nail on the head with Wonka v. Beauregard*.

Misused homophones are slightly vulgar. But making a big deal out of them is far, far worse

*Boy, is it ever funny to type out THAT sentence, with all its weirdly placed punctuation and capitals, in the context of the coarseness of improper writing.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:06 AM on July 28, 2010


I think that should be structural-retentive.
posted by Babblesort at 9:07 AM on July 28, 2010


His affectations have no effect on me.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2010


Well, for all intensive purposes homophones can be confusing.
posted by ericb at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not to generalize but it has been my experience that:

A) Guys who are busy sucking off other guys in locker room tend to spell better than average.
B) People who use same-sex activity as an insult are even more annoyingly awful than people who correct other people's grammar.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


F_26 modulo the homophony relation for either English or French is trivial. Very artfully done. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:13 AM on July 28, 2010


Wow! I can't believe that Logan Leger and Brandy Ryan actually put their names on this, one of the most shitassed websites I've ever seen. I can't decide which gets me madder, the idiotic pedantry* or the cock-sucking insult (I don't care whether it's homophobic or misogynistic, in either case it's despicable).

* And, of course, there's an embarrassing error in their rant. Lose/loose is a typo. Unless they're homophones in a dialect of English I'm not well versed in.
posted by Kattullus at 9:14 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yay, brought to you by folks who tweet as follows:

If you're wondering where all the money goes, ask House Democrats how much they're spending on TV ads for the end of midterm elections.

and

Wow. My schedule blows next semester. Why did I pick this major? Why did I schedule 18 hours? Fuck me!

Awsum.
posted by blucevalo at 9:15 AM on July 28, 2010


Her affections are affecting.
posted by unliteral at 9:17 AM on July 28, 2010


The usual its/it's/its', your/you're, their/there/they're abuse is so rampant that I've built up mental callouses against it.

What still gets me is people who butcher common turns of phrase. "I'd just assume", "That faithful night," "Throws of passion", "Statue of Limitations", "I could care less," etc.

For maximum apoplexy, though, show me a Craigslist ad for a piece of furniture with "draws". DRAWERS! THEY'RE CALLED DRAWERS! STAY OFF THE INTERNET UNTIL YOU LEARN ENGLISH!
posted by usonian at 9:19 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahem *mental calluses*
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've built up mental callouses against it

I can't even tell when people are joking in this thread anymore.
posted by enn at 9:21 AM on July 28, 2010


Your calluses can be callous, though.
posted by Mister_A at 9:21 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Call us callous, but this callus derail is oh man painted myself into a corner.
posted by Mister_A at 9:22 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, a couple of college kids think they're blazing some kind of trail to put an end to ignorance in the world. And in other late-breaking news, water is wet.

Brandy declares herself to be a "scholar of linguistics," while her partner Logan ("I'm like the Shakespeare of code") flips people off in the HTML comments:

If you're using internet explorer (or some other browser), you're and idiot and therefore I don't care about you.

Kind of cute that he proposes to her in the same source code of the homepage he made for her, though:

Dear Brandy, You'll probably never find this. You'll probably never find the other one, either. But this is it. This is all I have. I'm not an artist, so I can't paint a pretty picture; I'm not a poet, so I can't write a lovely poem; I'm not a musician, so I can't write a moving song. I'm not even a good web designer, so I can't even create a nice web site for you. I'm just a programmer. Code is all I have. It's my canvas, my poetry, my lyrics. It's the only mode of expression I have to create something original to show my love. I hope it works. It's all I've got, and I'm giving it all to you. Don't ever change who you are, Brandy. I've never loved anyone more. And I hope, pray, even, that I get to spend the rest of my life with you. Brandy Nicole Ryan: will you marry me? Love, Logan Leger.

Awww. He really is like the Shakespeare of code.
posted by Gator at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I fail at grammatical snobbery.
posted by usonian at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2010


Statue of Limitations is a lovely concept. Here is the immanentized version.

Warning: Only potentially funny to Philly people. Probably not even them, though.
posted by Mister_A at 9:27 AM on July 28, 2010


People who use same-sex activity as an insult are even more annoyingly awful than people who correct other people's grammar.

I was all poised to get upset at that too, but then I remembered that the only reason I was assuming it was same-sex was that I was assuming that all audiences are default male.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:27 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


O SNAP
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:28 AM on July 28, 2010


Oh wow, Gator... that's quite the find. I found this in the sourcecode for LYDH: "Hey you sexy lady. I'm pretty happy we got to work on this together. It's like our little baby together. Hope there's plenty more in the future! <3"

Now I'm starting to feel sorry for Leger and Ryan.
posted by Kattullus at 9:30 AM on July 28, 2010


They forgot load/lode. Hat tip to the Glenn Beck gold thread which reminded me of this 'un.
posted by Mister_A at 9:30 AM on July 28, 2010


Alvy! That is a really cool thing!
posted by Mister_A at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2010


Homophonia: Using "gay" to mean stupid instead of homosexual.
posted by straight at 9:32 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Story of "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut", from Anguish Language by Howard L Chace.
posted by Herodios at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2010


I find the juxtaposition of your comment and username inordinately amusing, straight.
posted by Mister_A at 9:36 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



If only Motorola had been able to keep up in the CPU mhz wars, I would not have had to cut off my hand the 50th time someone asked a question about their G4 duel CPU Tower on MacNN.

So, I used to work for a place that had ~3500 users in a variety of roles. We used ghost to image the machines, and in some cases, the images would be dual-boot. So, they would be labeled "ibm6648_analyst_dualboot.img" or some such. I had written a bunch of scripts that would download the image, do some configs and badaboom, we had a working machine from scratch in a few minutes.

But I had a manager. And this manager saw that I named all the dual boot images with "dual". He could not abide. So, he went through the directory and changed "dual" to "duel" and then forgot to tell anyone.

So, my script stopped working, and in fixing it, I sent an email out asking who had done that, and to please not do that. He replied, to all, that he had done it, and maybe I could not embarrass myself by being more conversant in the english language.

So, I replied to all with the links to Dual and Duel and just left it at that.

I got an email, in ALL CAPS, about how if I ever embarrass him in front of his subordinates again, he would have me fired and this, and that, and some other. I printed it out and pinned it to my office door.

(earlier that year, he brought me a CDrom from an IBM server that was faulty. He knew it was faulty because the HP server prep boot CD he was using wouldn't work to prep the IBM server)
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:38 AM on July 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Wow, Gator, talk about burying the lead.
posted by straight at 9:39 AM on July 28, 2010


It's all I've got, and I'm giving it all to you. Don't ever change who you are, Brandy. I've never loved anyone more. And I hope, pray, even, that I get to spend the rest of my life with you. Brandy Nicole Ryan: will you marry me? Love, Logan Leger.

Send her the Looking Glass song instead. Less is more.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on July 28, 2010


I don't care whether it's homophobic...

No, no. They're homophones. They love gay people.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:52 AM on July 28, 2010


Not all of those are strictly homophones; and if they are, he forgot doggiedog and dog-eat-dog.
posted by found missing at 9:53 AM on July 28, 2010


shakespeherian, you can assume it is homophobic outright. Locker rooms are universally a same-sex domain.
posted by iloveit at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2010


You know, if they see this post, it might hurt their self of steam.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:00 AM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


VANE

Wait wait ... is it VANE or VEIN?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2010


This Logan twat and I have a mutual facebook friend. He goes to the same college as a guy who went to my high school. This basically makes us BFFs, so I'd appreciate it if you guys would stop being so hard on him. k thx
posted by phunniemee at 10:03 AM on July 28, 2010


Did you guys see that amazing advert (for what, I can't remember) where a guy is disputing a charge on his hotel bill for complimentary water? The hotel clerk then says, 'No, no, it's complementary. It complements the room.' Brilliant.
posted by Put the kettle on at 10:05 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Locker rooms are universally a same-sex domain.

Not in porn. Though sometimes in porn. Porn is complicated is the thing...
posted by Mister_A at 10:06 AM on July 28, 2010


Also... effect and affect are not damn homophones. By the time I had gotten to the end there was so much to be angry about had completely forgotten that particular boneheaded error.

That said, I feel quite bad for Ryan and Leger. I don't know the particulars of their relationship but it seems clearly to be one of those friendships where one person is in love with the other and not vice versa. I've been on both ends of that dynamic and it never goes well. I can't imagine that the added pressure of irate internet attention will help things. What I'm saying is that drama will happen.
posted by Kattullus at 10:11 AM on July 28, 2010


Calling people out on it in arguments, sure, that's being a dick. But I definitely judge people by their grammar and spelling -- not if it seems to be one little typo (we've all been there), but when it's consistently repeated throughout a post, email, or whatever. Just like we all make fun of Palin or Bush for using words incorrectly, making up words, or pronouncing it "nu-kyu-lar", when you consistently screw up homophones in writing, you are DOING IT WRONG and I don't think that's any less deserving of mockery. English is hard, true, but it's not impossible to learn to get things right.

By the way, one that really drives me nuts is queue/cue. The segue/Segway thing just cracks me up.

And also? This is not a homophone problem, but seriously, how hard is it to spell "voilà", even without the accent? If I had a dollar for every time I've seen someone on the internet write "viola!" or (no kidding) "wahlah!" I could buy plenty of medicine for the headaches I get facepalming all the time.

Also, my way to remember affect/effect is generally that "affect", which starts with an "a", is often an "action." Effecting change and all that are advanced use cases that are, for me, unusual enough that I remember to second-guess and spell it the right way.
posted by olinerd at 10:12 AM on July 28, 2010


macross city flaneur: also immanant
posted by aubilenon at 10:14 AM on July 28, 2010


And also? This is not a homophone problem, but seriously, how hard is it to spell "voilà", even without the accent? If I had a dollar for every time I've seen someone on the internet write "viola!" or (no kidding) "wahlah!" I could buy plenty of medicine for the headaches I get facepalming all the time.

This kills me. But I'm becoming inured to misuse of French by the accent-deaf voice model used for our GPS system. Turn left on Gene Dark! Left now on Gene Dark! (you know, the peasant girl who led the French army...)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're so vein!
I bet you carry blood from the tissues!
posted by Mister_A at 10:20 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I frequently wonder how many so hackers (and some legitimate coders) can put code together when their English grammar and spelling are so entirely beyond hope. Seriously, do programming and scripting languages forgive the kinds of mistakes these guys make all the damn time?

My great aunt takes a dim view of people who confuse the verbs lie and lay. I will lie down now. I will lay the book down now. Or, I will lay my self down. This kind of thing seems to run in my family. We are grammar Nazis. Dinner conversation is like fencing...in a minefield...while being shot at. Parry, riposte, BOOM! Ouch.

Here's one for gamers: It's rogue. Rogue, rogue rogue rogue ROGUE! Not rouge! Fortunately, the message seems to have gotten across recently, at least on my WoW server.

That being said, I have never played the Grammar Nazi role on the internet. While I don't understand it...so many otherwise fine and decent people just don't seem to care.
posted by Xoebe at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2010


"Please, learn your damn homophones..." followed by "Do you even read any of the stupid shit you write?" and then "Donate now."

Woe, suite tocker, ewe don't halve to cell me awn it any moor. My cache is you're cache; I've scent you a sined check this mourning.

Note: This comment is satyr. Or as you say, *hem burgher*
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


No weight. It's sour chasm.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2010


"I’m going to ban you from speaking if you can’t get homophones right."

Surely that should be "bar"? Similarly, one can't get banned from MeFi, but you can get barred from the site!
posted by Eideteker at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2010


Locker rooms are universally a same-sex domain.

Not in porn. Though sometimes in porn. Porn is complicated is the thing...


Or my high school. The (female) Assitant Principal of Phys. Ed. would regularly walk through the guy's locker room and no one would bat an eye. Then again, when I forgot my glasses during graduation, I spent a few minutes wondering who that man in the dress was, sitting on stage with the faculty.
posted by griphus at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2010


Reminds me of when colleagues try to tell me they do research in discreet mathematics.

Very proper, that field is.
posted by King Bee at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, previously.
posted by Eideteker at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2010


Full disclosure: griphus went to Long Dong Silver High School.
posted by Mister_A at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2010


You know who else was a nazi? That's right, Helmut Poppendick.
posted by found missing at 10:26 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your welcome.
posted by found missing at 10:28 AM on July 28, 2010


'No holes barred' is my favourite, although that's arguably more of a Malapropism
posted by DanCall at 10:31 AM on July 28, 2010


haha, the lay/lie thing mentioned by Xoebe hits close to home. It's one of the very few grammatical confusions that always trips me up, and every time I go home I have to confront the fact that my parents' DOG has better grammar than I do. "Lay down, Sadie!" gets absolutely no result. "Lie down, Sadie!" tends to do much better.
posted by phunniemee at 10:32 AM on July 28, 2010


No farting aloud?
posted by found missing at 10:33 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


DanCall clearly went to the same high school as griphus. STOP BEING SO PORNY.
posted by Mister_A at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2010


I'm immature, even for me...
posted by Mister_A at 10:36 AM on July 28, 2010


Feeling superior for knowing basic grammar isn't a very attractive quality in a person, personally.

Not knowing basic grammar is a very unattractive quality in a person.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:36 AM on July 28, 2010


Thanks for proving my point.
posted by codacorolla at 10:43 AM on July 28, 2010


I do firmly believe that people ought to strive to express their ideas as clearly as possible. In my own professional writing, I'm a compulsive re-writer and merciless self-editor. So, I'm not sure why I find those who choose to be showily pedantic about grammar on the Internet so objectionable. But, lately, I do.

In fact, I find myself wanting nothing more than to see the hyper-vigilant internet grammarians run afoul of the (to my mind, equally hectoring) typeface hounds. An endless circle of one criticizing the other for mistaking affect & effect, while the other questions the first's unthinking combination of serif and sans-serif fonts, strikes me as poetically fitting. Both are free to let their tempers unfurl, both will have the smug satisfaction of being correct--of knowing that their taste and schooling has served them well, and both will continually miss the point that the other thinks is truly important. They would snarl and lecture at one another in turns.

And the rest of us will continue on our merry way.
posted by .kobayashi. at 10:47 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


effect and affect are not damn homophones.... that particular boneheaded error.

Hey! That's impacting my self-esteem!
posted by bonehead at 10:48 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always wonder why people confuse words that require quite specific knowledge in a special area to be used at all: artists writing about a "color palate" or architects about "sheer factors".

On the other hand it was quite an eye-opener for me as a non-native speaker when I first had courses in English phonology that made clear that basically every vowel that's not stressed becomes schwa, creating and inordinate amount of sound-alike words. There are far fewer homophones in German, old jokes like the difference between "der Waldzwerg" ("the forest-gnome") and "das Walzwerk" ("the rolling mill") notwithstanding.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was once told by a school teacher that "immigrant" and "emigrant" meant the same thing. I thankfully knew better, and can only hope that others in the class also knew she was oh so wrong.
posted by Gilbert at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2010


Having both learned grammar and given blowjobs, I vote for blowjobs.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:17 AM on July 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always wonder why people confuse words that require quite specific knowledge in a special area to be used at all: artists writing about a "color palate" or architects about "sheer factors".

I once walked out of a meeting where an Anderson Consulting talking head was giving a "technical overview" of some work after his third reference to the system obstantiating an object.
posted by Babblesort at 11:41 AM on July 28, 2010


I blame spell check.
posted by charlesminus at 11:46 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Love it!!!
posted by pianistcomposer at 11:46 AM on July 28, 2010


Woe, suite tocker, ewe don't halve to cell me awn it any moor. My cache is you're cache; I've scent you a sined check Czech this mourning.

FTFY
posted by grubi at 11:49 AM on July 28, 2010


I once walked out of a meeting where an Anderson Consulting talking head...

Homophone alert: it's Andersen Consulting.
posted by ericb at 11:57 AM on July 28, 2010


My problem is getting the correct pronunciation of pedant. Is the emphasis on the ped or the ant?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2010


"viola!"

I've done this one before--not out of ignorance, but because I was hurrying and placed too much faith in spellcheck. Spell check will work against you on some of these--especially the spell check in smart devices. It's/its and there/their I'll also occasionally misstype, but there's really no good excuse for not knowing which is correct or for serially abusing them.

Also, if "lose" and "loose" are homophones, are "and" and "an," too?
posted by saulgoodman at 12:10 PM on July 28, 2010


Anyone who writes "reign in" instead of "rein in" needs hugs. And a pony.
posted by maudlin at 12:11 PM on July 28, 2010


My problem is getting the correct pronunciation of pedant. Is the emphasis on the ped or the ant?

The emphasis is on the eda.
posted by grubi at 12:19 PM on July 28, 2010


if "lose" and "loose" are homophones

THESE ARE NOT HOMOPHONES

(sorry. just sayin'.)
posted by grubi at 12:20 PM on July 28, 2010


usonian: For maximum apoplexy, though, show me a Craigslist ad for a piece of furniture with "draws".

Oh, Craigslist, home of rod iron and rot iron and lots of dinning tables.
posted by swerve at 12:28 PM on July 28, 2010


Perhaps it's because of having an MD for a spouse, but whenever I hear anyone talk about how their work has "impacted" people (for example in the T-Mobile store today, when the display bragged about how eight thousand-odd kids have been impacted by their work with City Year), I am unable to avoid thinking about something very different from what they want me to think about.
posted by nickmark at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2010


Affect and Effect
Loose and Lose
Than and Then

...all not homophones.

A sad day.

After all, who can we trust if not learnyourdamnhomophones.com?
posted by DavidandConquer at 1:02 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Affect and effect are at least part-time homophones. In the United States anyway. The psychology noun "affect" is pronounced differently from the verb "affect," which is pronounced just like the noun "effect" by most people here.
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on July 28, 2010


It's that crazy schwa sound!
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:16 PM on July 28, 2010


Talking about this stuff is a dick ding.
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on July 28, 2010


I happen to be reading David Foster Wallace's Authority and American Usage. I recommend it if you are looking for a more thoughtful discussion on a broader but related topic.
posted by incster at 1:20 PM on July 28, 2010


What, more thoughtful than the ranty cocksucker hatred site?
posted by Mister_A at 1:22 PM on July 28, 2010


Inspired by Metafilter:

Bedouin vs Bed Win
posted by found missing at 1:29 PM on July 28, 2010


I saw feint/faint (as in "feint of heart", which is an AWESOME neologism I must find a definition for) today on a grammar blog.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:33 PM on July 28, 2010


Those feinting goats are tricky little bastards.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:59 PM on July 28, 2010


TV Tropes does it with more examples (albeit not all homophones, just commonly confused words) and less GRAR.

Also:
effect — antonym of cause when used as a noun, synonym of cause when used as a verb.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:43 PM on July 28, 2010


"Homophone alert: it's Andersen Consulting."

Also not homophones. "Andersen" rhymes with men, garden, hen. "Anderson" rhymes with gun, sun, fun, done.
posted by Eideteker at 2:52 PM on July 28, 2010


Statue of Limitations
posted by DaddyNewt at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2010


Affect and effect are at least part-time homophones. In the United States anyway. The psychology noun "affect" is pronounced differently from the verb "affect," which is pronounced just like the noun "effect" by most people here.

maybe those folks are merely using the wrong word?
posted by DavidandConquer at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2010


Also not homophones. "Andersen" rhymes with men, garden, hen. "Anderson" rhymes with gun, sun, fun, done.

I pronounce both 'Ander -- sin.'
posted by ericb at 3:21 PM on July 28, 2010


The latest one to get me is the all-too-common "unchartered waters."!
posted by carping demon at 4:49 PM on July 28, 2010


Watching grammar fiends get upset is fun.
posted by jonmc at 4:55 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mine mine mine mine mine mine
posted by tehloki at 5:50 PM on July 28, 2010


Monty Python: "I would like to effect the purchase of some cheesy comestibles." (Yes, this one's already been beat to hell, but that's part of my affect.)
posted by sneebler at 7:16 PM on July 28, 2010


"But when I told him that these lords hoped to find the "truffle" underground, to eat it, he thought I had said they were seeking "der Teufel," the Devil, and he blessed himself devoutly, looking at me in amazement. Then the misunderstanding was cleared up and we both laughed at it. Such is the magic of human languages, that by human accord often the same sounds mean different things."

Umberto Echo
posted by Trochanter at 9:13 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just one comment: the capitOl has a round dome.
posted by Twang at 9:26 PM on July 28, 2010


As is also pointed out in the FPP's link:
"*Hint: Capitol has an ‘O,’ which is round like the rotunda in the US Capitol Building."
posted by ericb at 10:01 PM on July 28, 2010


Trochanter: ""Such is the magic of human languages, that by human accord often the same sounds mean different things."

Umberto Echo"


It's Umberto Eco.

I don't know if it is influence by classic magic lore ("True names" and all that), but it always bothered me much more when people get proper names wrong than if they misspell or misuse a word (no offense, Trochanter). I used to hate Britney Spears with a passion, not necessarily for her music, but because people kept calling her "Brittany", "Britnay" or even, once, "Briteney Speers". A name is ideally supposed to be a unique identifier; getting it only partially right is like getting a phone number partially right.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:41 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Brittany", "Britnay" or even, once, "Briteney Speers"

Josh Weedon must be unmagical like a mofo then.
posted by shinybaum at 1:46 AM on July 29, 2010


It's amusing to see one set of pedants climb all over another one's ass.

All of these things he's listed I see repeatedly and commonly online, homophones or not. I'm older and I must confess when I see someone use 'lose' when they mean 'loose' --even though they aren't homophones-- my basic ground state viewpoint of them is that they are an idiot. And it informs every interaction with them thereafter, wrong impression or not. I don't correct them, since you can see the above reaction to anyone who suggests that having different words for different meanings leads to a richer and fuller communication and they should be used to communicate those differences as opposed to being whirled in a blender and used because they sorta kinda look like the word you meant.

Their, there, they're - does it matter in the huge scheme of things if these are interchanged? Of course not. Am I wrong to think that if you can't dupe out the minor differences between things that merely rhyme then you are not that bright of a person? Probably. But I do. And a lot of other people do, too. This guy made the mistake of pointing it out in an obnoxious way. That way the easily upset could ignore his point and call him a dick. This is why people like taking english more than math: in math, when corrected, you're wrong. In english, the person correcting you is a pedant and fuck them.

Language changes and moves all the time. Trying to tie it down is foolish. But as a geezer, it's not just the abandoning of nicely formed phrases and correctly used words in common everyday discourse that is so saddening, but the hopped-up visceral response to anyone who suggest it matters.

I'm the opposite of whoever above said they couldn't believe that dick jokes and insults were ok, but grammar was being questioned. Some people tune things out when they see a sexist reference and find it hard to accept any point that person may bring up later. I tune things out when it looks like a third-grader from 1962 wrote it.
posted by umberto at 6:54 AM on July 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


PontifexPrimus, I knew I'd get somebody. Trolled ya!!1!
Another day you'd be right, though.

Sneebler's been kind enough not to mention the time I told him I was starting to get into entomology, because words have such interesting histories.
posted by Trochanter at 7:23 AM on July 29, 2010


Re: misspelled celebrity names. There was a guy who made a killing by buying up domain names for misspellings of various famous people's names and making web sites full of ads. He got seriously rich. I marvelled at our species' talent for finding new ways to be sleazy. I think Kevin Spacy/Spacey/Spasey sued him.
posted by Trochanter at 7:37 AM on July 29, 2010


I'm reminded of the obit from the New Yorker some time ago which celebrated the life of their in-house grammarian and copy editor, Eleanor Gould Packard. Miss Gould, who (as legend has it) once found four errors in a three-word sentence, never valorized her work, preferring to say only that "I just try to make things right."

Tactful and diligent, Miss Gould never made much of errors made by the many luminaries who's work crossed her desk during her 52 years with the magazine. When faced with the sorts problems that, say, the would-be pedants in this thread are making, she wouldn't say a word. She'd simply get out her red pen and begin her work.
posted by .kobayashi. at 7:38 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Their, there, they're - does it matter in the huge scheme of things if these are interchanged? Of course not. Am I wrong to think that if you can't dupe out the minor differences between things that merely rhyme then you are not that bright of a person? Probably. But I do. And a lot of other people do, too. This guy made the mistake of pointing it out in an obnoxious way. That way the easily upset could ignore his point and call him a dick. This is why people like taking english more than math: in math, when corrected, you're wrong. In english, the person correcting you is a pedant and fuck them.

You're an engineer, aren't you?
posted by codacorolla at 7:50 AM on July 29, 2010


I am about as far from an engineer as you can get.
posted by umberto at 7:58 AM on July 29, 2010


You're the guy who rides in the caboose?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:08 AM on July 29, 2010


Once, in my youth. But I never developed a taste for it.
posted by umberto at 8:25 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


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