Irritating expressions or worse

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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by HayesJ » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:49 pm

[quote="trolley"]I worked with a fellow who used "essentially" in place of "basically". Essentially, most of his statements began this way. Basically, it was pretty annoying.[/quote]
I can imagine that!
There are a lot of annoying expressions and to me it's "seems legit" lately... I don't know why but I'm strongly irritated when everybody around me say "seems legit"...
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:51 pm

aaa
<2012 “The Apple Daily version of events may be sensationalized fiction. But it at least made explicit the suspicions of many people. Still, it’s unlikely we’ll ever learn the true facts of the case.”—Newsweek, 23 & 30 April, page 11>
When I was in kindergarten, or maybe it was the 3rd grade or so, we learned that ‘facts’ were ‘true‘ and to say TRUE FACTS was not only a redundancy but an abomination, and I still feel the same way. And I didn’t find this one in my local newspaper, which often commits atrocities worse than this, but in Newsweek and in an articcle written by David Henry Hwang a tony-award-winning playwright who has been nominated twice for a Pulitzer Prize. And, no, it isn’t from his version of Stanley conversing with Stella. Has ‘true facts’ become a new normal? (>:)
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Ken – April 23, 2012
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by trolley » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:27 pm

I don't think it's the new normal but it does say something a little different than plain old facts. "Still, it’s unlikely we’ll ever learn the facts of the case” seems to have a different meaning. We will never know all the details as opposed to knowing the truth. Does a fact need to be proven before it's a fact? Maybe it's just an alleged fact.
"Those are the facts."
"Well, your facts are wrong."
...I can see a place for true facts, real facts, skewed facts, purported facts, etc.
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by tony h » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:32 pm

Murdoch facts vs true facts
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:33 am

aaa
John, Your comments motivated me to try go beyond my ingrained hatred of the redundancy true fact and see what I could come up with.

I thought a good start might be to look up the word ‘fact’ in the dictionary. And when I did I was shocked to find the following definitions among the several provided:

FACT noun:

I) Something believed to be true or real. <a document laced with mistaken facts> (American Heritage Dictionary)

II) Something said to be true or supposed to have happened. <The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.> (Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)

III) Often loosely used for: Something that is alleged to be, or conceivably might be, a ‘fact.’ <The writer's facts are far from trustworthy.> (Oxford English Dictionary)
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Hmm! This does somewhat change the complexion of things and seems to leave an opening for true fact.

Perhaps it is time to see what the professionals had to say on the subject:

GARNER’S MODERN AMERICAN USAGE (2003) by B. A. Garner

TRUE FACTS: This is a common redundancy, especially in legal writing [but] writers debase the word when they qualify facts with an adjective like true or incorrect. We ought be able to rely on the facts’ being facts, instead of having to wonder whether the writer failed to describe what kind of facts they are.
<1997 “. . . they have done nothing wrong and are being fired from their jobs without the true facts [read facts or truth] of the incident being revealed.”—Boston Herald, 20 November, page 18>

<1997 “But it’s a true fact [read fact] that my maternal grandmother was sent to her grave by the egg salad at a Methodist church picnic.”—Kansas City Star, 25 November, page B3>
Translation: Garner finds true facts repugnant, but acknowledges that it is in common use.
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DECIDING USAGE: EVIDENCE AND INTERPRETATION (2000) by J. S. Sherwin

TRUE FACT: A fact is true by definition [[not so, see above definitions]], and to speak of a true fact is to be redundant. The world, however, is not so neatly organized as language and logic would make it seem. . . . ; and so it is that something may have only the appearance of being a fact . . . In such circumstances, it would be convenient to be able to speak of a false fact or a true fact. But that option is not yet available.

Translation: Sherwin thinks using true facts is presently (as of 2000) illegal!
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WATCHWORDS (2001) by M. Davidson

FACTS: CAN THEY BE TRUSTED? It would be comforting to know that we live in a world in which we can be sure about facts. Unfortunately, that is not true. But you can do something about the problem.

The word fact [[see above definitions]] is now widely used not only for something true but also something only alleged to be true. For example, a New York Times review of a biography of painter Arshile Gorky (7/11/1999) stated that “almost every fact [Gorky] ever shared about himself was a complete fiction.”

The “allegation” sense of fact is communicated when the word is “loosely” used [[see Oxford English Dictionary definition above]]. But America’s leading dictionaries and usage manuals grant the “allegation” definition their full acceptance. For example, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language and its American Heritage Book of English Usage state that “Fact has a long history in the sense [of] ‘allegation of fact.’” And therefore such phrases as true facts and real facts “are often useful for emphasis.” [[respectable quotes for true facts and accurate facts are provided]]

In response to criticism by some usage commentators that a phrase such as “true facts” is redundant, Kenneth G. Wilson [[Professor of English, University of Connecticut]] defends “true facts” in his Columbia Guide to Standard American English by arguing that “many things alleged to be facts turn out not to be factual after all.” But that argument — which also appears in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage — does not really address the issue. Things that are alleged to be facts are obviously alleged to be true. They are not alleged to be allegedly true. Likewise, we should not redefine truth as “alleged truth” or accuracy as “alleged accuracy” just because many statements that purport to be truthful or accurate turn out to be false.

If you want to defend precision in this matter, restrict your use of the word fact to the sense of “something that is [really] true.” And instead of questioning facts, question assertions.

Translation: In spite of the fact that the definition of fact now includes ‘alleged facts’ (see above definitions I, II, & III) and that the use of such expressions as true facts and real facts, [[genuine facts, bogus facts, mistaken, etc.]] are often useful for emphasis, forget it! – to avoid any confusion stick with the good old idea that facts are true.
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CONCLUSION: Takes your pick. The gurus definitely don't like it. However, the masses do and I can see the emphasis argument. But I think I’m sticking with the old school, which is, of course, a losing battle.
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Ken – April 23, 2012
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:44 am

Perhaps there's a place here for the use of 'scare quotes' to ease the discomfort that some people evidently feel concerning the ambiguous nature of some facts.
For example, a New York Times review of a biography of painter Arshile Gorky (7/11/1999) stated that “almost every 'fact' [Gorky] ever shared about himself was a complete fiction."
In the foregoing sentence, Gorky's 'fact' has a dual existence as an asserted or purported fact (from Gorky's point of view) and as a fact assumed to be true (from the point of view of his audience). The scare quotes draw attention to the problematic or contentious nature of the 'fact' in question without forcing the person using them to commit themselves as to whether that fact is a 'true fact' (if you'll pardon my old-school terminology), or is merely an asserted or purported fact.

We can thus add a new entrant to the typology of facts -- the quantum fact, which, depending on the perspective of the observer, is simultaneously 'true' and untrue.
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:54 pm

aaa
Erik, Thanks. The ‘scare quote’ is a very nice solution to the whole quantdamn problem!
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Ken – April 24, 2012
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by tony h » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:42 pm

could you just ...


usually from my wife
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:39 pm

<2013 “In his State of the Union address in February, Mr. Obama pledged more transparency for the drone program, and he and his aides have hinted that changes are coming.”—New York Times, 7 April>
Have mercy! I’m about transparencied out!

Yikes! Here’s what Google says their transparency will do for you:
Google wrote:Transparency is a core value at Google. As a company we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual.
So, every morning I’ll eat my Wheaties and follow up with a Google search. And, at the end of the day, the bottom line is I should have more choice and should feel freer and more empowered. Sounds to me like a win-win situation.
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Ken – April 8, 2013
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:14 am

.. did Röntgen invent transparency ??

WoZ who likes opaque
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sat May 18, 2013 1:59 am

aaa
<2013 (caption) “An artist illustration of a meteor impacting the moon and resulting in an explosion that can be visible from Earth skies.”—newswatch.nationalgeographic.com, 17 May>

IMPACTING? Whatever happened to good old HITTING?
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Ken – May 17, 2013
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:09 am

aaa
Job Title Inflation:

Today I called my cable TV / internet / telephone provider, Comcast (now also known as XFinity – two names are better than one), with a question about my bill. The machine that answered my call said, “We are currently experiencing higher than normal call volume [[normal call volume = never]]. Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line to speak to a customer care ‘executive.’ Your wait time is approximately 25 minutes.”

Wow! I’m going to get to speak to an executive in ‘customer care.’ I wonder if they all have corner offices. But this is well worth the 25 minute wait rather than being immediately shunted off in a minute or two to some peon in ‘customer service’ or ‘customer support.’ This must be my lucky day!
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Ken – October 7, 2013 (Still on hold.)
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:32 am

I once spoke to a "manager" in a call-centre. I was not happy and was put through to his supervisor!
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:05 pm

aaa
I went into PetSmart this morning to buy Sprinkles the pussy cat her usual 54 cans of cat food. That’s 3 cans a day plus her dry food (and she’s relatively small and not fat).This plus the gallon of water she drinks and I have a food/water processing factory on my hands. Needless to say, this does wonders for her litter box and I spend a goodly amount of time each day bulldozing it out.

Be that as it may, in the pet shop, the canned food is on the shelf in boxes encased in shrink wrap and I require about 2 ½ boxes. However, only one box at a time is ever open. Removing the shrink wrap from the other two boxes with my fingers is a bitch, so I usually carry a small, razor edge letter opener to do the job. Today I forgot my handy little tool and so was forced to seek out a customer care executive – they always carry a box cutter in their apron.

After she had cut open the other two boxes, she asked if there was anything else she could do for me and I said, no thanks, there wasn’t. Her response was “perfect, awesome.”

These replies have been mentioned earlier in this thread, but the inappropriateness in this particular instance struck me. Why was my response to her question so perfect and awesome? It seems to me that the only logical explanation was that since I needed no further help, she could go back to doing something more important, such as feeding the gerbils or bullshitting with her fellow executives. However, when I realized that she could have said ‘no problem’ – no problem that I didn’t need any further help – I realized just how articulate she was, especially for a teenage customer care executive.
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Ken – October 8, 2013 (shovelling sh*t)
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Re: Irritating expressions or worse

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:48 am

An amusing couple of anecdotes nicely told, Ken. :-)

Now, this may seem like a stupid question, but why do you need to have the plastic-wrapped boxes opened in the store if you are buying every can that's in them? I'd have thought their contents would be easier to transport while still shrink-wrapped, for a start...
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