Sep 10, 2009

That doesn't sound right.

One of my former co-workers used to say “exspecially”. Well, I'm sure she still does, I'm just not there to be annoyed by it. Every time she said it I winced inside. It distracted me to the point that I didn’t pay any attention to what came after the exspecially. I’m guessing she wanted to exspecially highlight the information that came after exspecially. She was unknowingly defeating her own purpose. I always wondered if she thought the rest of us were dropping the “x”.

Another of my co-worker’s used to slaughter a common figure of speech. This one just made me laugh inside. He would say “Well, it’s not rocket scientist”. Particularly humorous because he said it when questioning somebody else’s mental prowess. Ironic, huh?

I'm no grammar fanatic but I do read a lot. I know what sounds right to me. There are three common phrases that I notice people use in a slightly different way. Before doing a little bit of research I would have bet money that I was using all of them correctly. Turns out I am using one correctly, one incorrectly and the last is in transition, so either usage is correct.

“All of a sudden” vs. “All of the sudden” The correct usage is all of a sudden. It's actually an idiom, which by definition has a different meaning than the words used to convey that meaning. Even though neither one makes grammatical sense, one has been deemed correct.

"Speak my piece" or "Speak my peace" So long as this phrase is spoken and not written, everybody agrees. The trouble starts when it is written down. This is the one I have been wrong about. It is "speak my piece". I still think peace makes more sense. I picture somebody having a clear conscience after sharing some deeply held opinion or getting something off their chest that's been bothering them. They are at peace. Piece is too neutral. If you are speaking your piece.... it could be a piece of anything.... nonsense, idiocy or some inconsequential fluff.

"You've got another think coming" or "You've got another thing coming" According to some linguistic type article I read, the correct usage is "think". But language is a fluid thing. The first documented usage of "thing" dates back to 1919 and in the ensuing 90 years "thing" is much more commonly used than "think". Over time "think" has become, if not outright incorrect, at least outdated.

Repeated usage makes it correct. Now that I've spoken my peace, I'll end this post all of a sudden. You have another thing coming if you think I have more to say.


  1. I exspecially like this post.I hate it when people slaughter grammar. My husband does it all the time. It drives me crazy. I have a very hard time biting my tongue. Most of the time I don't. He think I am too picky.

    My biggest annoyance is when he says 'Illi-noise'. For heaven's sake he has lived in this state since 1965, you would think he would know by now that the 'S' in Illinois is silent.

  2. If I give you enough pieces of my mind I might not have any mind left for me.

  3. What the hell took me so long to get over here? That both SOUNDS right and is right. I've been so wrong.

    Sarah McLachlan, who I like very much, ruins a whole song when she slaughters ... no, I don't want to try and remember it. My spinal column gets hurt when I hear it, though. It's not 'aks' and it's not 'exspecially' - some word in between.

    I guess I thought this was important to share.

  4. As a former English teacher, I loved this post and found it very interesting. I didn't know about "all of a sudden"--wow.

    And your coworker who said "it's not rocket scientist"?--that's just too funny. :)

    My Dad was always encouraging us kids to use proper grammar. Whenever my friends called and asked "Can I speak to Carla?", he would say "I don't know, can you?" They never knew what to say! *hee hee*

  5. Cool. I had at least one of them right and then All of a sudden I feel like an Idiom..:)

  6. I am really annoyed by the people who are referring to next year as "O" 10. Exspecially the person in your blog.

  7. Rae - My cousin from Ore-uh-gahn laughed when he heard us pronounce it. He said the correct way was Ore-uh-gun.

    Mom - Who wants a piece of brain anyway? ewwww

    Booda - Funny how some mispronunciations annoy us more than others. Singing sort of softens the blow though, don't you think?

    MHP - My daughter's friends would sigh everytime I corrected their I's or me's. One of them recently posted pictures from her Coast Guard graduation and every picture was labled... "Mom and I", "Dad and I"..... groan.

    Grish :) You're too smart to be an idiom. Why you're practically a rocket scientist.

    Breezy - I am on a personal campaign to get people to start saying twenty-ten. I don't like the two thousand way of saying it. It work during the 'aught years but it's time to move on.

  8. I really get a kick out of people saying, "For all intensive purposes."

    I guess, for all intents and purposes, that they think they're sounding intelligent.

  9. You have pre-empted a personal rant of mine..That's fine.
    Anyway..People who say 'supposubly' instead of 'supposedly' make me want to break out my verbal axe and put them out of my misery!
    ..I also have a relative that frequently thinks 'That's a good ideal!'..
    Well,..I don't know if I would revolve a whole philosophy around it,but as an 'idea',it might work in the short time.

  10. Buck - What's so hard about ones like that is that they sort of make sense so it's hard to argue the person out of them. Sort of like me speaking my "peace".

    Sling - I love your personal rants. I did a google search on the word exspecially. What shows up is thousands of instances of people using it as if it is a real word. I'm going to go do supposubly now... ditto. And even more if you use the alternate spelling of supposebly.

  11. Its words with me - My sister says "Celtic" with a soft C rather than the hard c like a K - Celtic comes from the tribe called Keltoi - with a bloody KKKKK not a soft C - drives me beresk