Sunday, 11 May 2008

Z = Zealous

I’m not the zealous type.

I’m not religious. I’m not passionate about my career. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to be when I grow up. I enjoy a variety of pastimes but don’t want to focus on one to the exclusion of all others. I can’t even commit to learning one language fluently. I want to try them all. I struggle to name anything “favourite” as my favourite things change depending on my mood, the day of the week, the weather, what I last read/saw, etc.

I tend to do all things in moderation … well, with the exception of sweet things and wine … and time on the internet ...

Oh sure, I can be a little pedantic about certain things.

I’m a bit of a Thai food nazi. I object to so-called “fusion” food becoming lazy and serving basmati rice with Thai food (the horror!), and really object to Thai restaurants offering Malaysian roti bread, or presenting you with a knife instead of a spoon. They should know better.

I was also a one-woman crusade against Starbucks when they arrived in Wellington. (Don’t get me started ...)

But lately, I find myself becoming increasingly obsessed. I’ve even been heard to yell at the television and radio. I find myself ranting to anyone who will listen. Usually my mother-in-law and my understanding friend.

What I'm about to write makes me cringe, as I know I never received a solid education in English grammar, and my vocabulary is self-taught. I make plenty of mistakes. But I cannot believe the declining standard of English, its pronunciation and grammar.

Maybe I don’t have enough to do?

Or is it simply a case of old age setting in?

My particular pet peeves recently have been:

  • The increasing tendency to hear “There is ..” followed by a plural. Even Dr Who said “There is 10 million people …” on TV last night. Fortunately I have not yet seen this in written form. Then, without doubt, apoplexy will take hold, I am sure.
  • Toni the weather girl says “in the evening time.” “Evening IS a time!” I scream at the TV regularly. At Christmas I was delighted to discover my sister has the same peeve. Mind you, she’s older than me.
  • People who say “…ink” instead of “ …ing.” There is a local supermarket chain that has an advertisement that says “everythink we do, we do to save you money.” Needless to say, I shop elsewhere.
  • People who pronounce “remuneration” as “renumeration.” Over the last few weeks there has been an industrial dispute between junior doctors and their employers. One of the employer representatives referred to “renumeration.” Maybe that’s a Freudian slip. I doubt it. I confess to being delighted when I would catch a particular radio announcer doing this. She was also guilty of pronouncing “disingenuous” as “disingenious.” It would make my day, even as I yelled at the radio.
  • The struggles the news announcers and interviewers have had the last week to pronounce Myanmar. Miranmar, Miamnar, and a dozen other variations.
  • “Could of” instead of “could have.” I see this a lot on the message board where I volunteer. Women from all walks of life visit and I understand their mistakes. Just don’t get me started on the senior journalist who says “could of” instead of “could have.” He’s lucky he’s a radio journalist.
  • People who confuse “less” and “fewer.”
  • Unnecessarily embellished words. Spellings with a "z" instead of an "s" - like “burglarize” instead of “burgle” which manages to incorporate several pet hates in one word.

Pathetic I know. I even punctuate my text (SMS) messages.

This last week I’ve been debating telling my local café that almond is not spelled “almand” and that truffle is not “trufle.” But I haven’t. I haven't written to TV3 to complain about Toni the weathergirl, or the radio station to complain about Sean, or the supermarket about their advertisement, or the BBC about Dr Who.

Obviously, I have a way to go before I can qualify as zealous. Intolerant, however, I have well in control.

Disclaimer: I no that I could of written this real grammatically bad but if there is anythink wrong I hope you and me will still be friends.


  1. Oh, the editor loved this one.

  2. Less and fewer!! Ack!

    The one that gets me is taking a noun that ends in -ation and keeping the -at when you make the verb.

    Conversation becomes conversate.

    Orientation becomes orientate (I have a hunch this actually exists, but it seems so unnecessary when ORIENT exists).

    Explanation becomes explanate. Just kidding--I haven't heard this one. Yet.

  3. I'm glad others feel the same!
    Bridgett ... conversate?? Ack indeed!!!

  4. I confess to the occasional less and fewer: Kate jumps on it every time.
    And of course it's actually called Burma, until its name is changed by a democratic decision and not by a cabal of murdering automatons: that's what I think anyway.
    Don't forget that 'should've' lies in between 'should have' and 'should of' and people aren't etymologists. They speak the language they hear.....
    But get this : you won't believe this. Some people actually use 'impact' as a verb!

  5. Us Canadians don't know nuthin bout grammar.

  6. You're not ending at the end of the alphabet, are you?

  7. Helen - no. I've just been away being an aunty/driver/maid/cook and bottlewasher for a week. Starting again at A very soon!


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