25 September 2013

Standout

Sheep mask
"Standout" - that's just one irksome expression that has leaked its way into modern English usage and is now becoming part of our common currency. I mean, why can't commentators say: "I thought Joe Bloggs's performance was outstanding" or "In my opinion the most outstanding player was Joe Bloggs" instead of "For me Joe Bloggs was the standout player". It is a term we have absorbed from American television - especially their sports coverage. Not so long ago you would never have heard that term in Britain - either on the BBC or in private conversations.

Another term that really irritates me is "gifted". "The paintings were gifted to the nation by Lord Snodgrass"  - why not simply "given to the nation" or "left as a gift to the nation by Lord Snodgrass"?  Usually, I'd expect "gift" to be used as a noun and it's only when referring to somebody who is especially talented in a particular area that I'd use it as a verb - as in "Mr Brague is a gifted organist" or "Helen has become a gifted quilter".

In language use, it is easy to be a sheep - going along with the flock. Language is forever changing I know and  I have happily embraced many new terms and expressions  - from "cool" to "chav", from "blog" to "boob" and from "software" to "airhead" but there are some developments that just get my goat. "Standout" and "gifted" being just two of them.

Perhaps I am a bit of a pedant but guess that I am not alone in being annoyed by and unwilling to absorb particular words or expressions. Are there any "new" words or expressions that irritate you?

17 comments:

  1. Basically! What the f*** does that mean in a conversation?

    LLX

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  2. I think some people use "basically" to imply that they have got a handle on the salient facts - the fundamentals of the issue. They are basically nitwits.

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    1. That made me roar, thank you Mr YP.

      LLX

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  3. in the letters of my 13 year old ikr. (I know right grr). I taught them to speak in words why do they now talk to me in letters

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    1. I cannot answer that mumasu for textspeak is a language that baffles me completely.

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  4. Well 'standout' is a new one on me, YP but then I avoid football commentaries. ;)

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    1. Now I have alerted you to it, it won't be long before you hear it on TV Jenny.

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  5. I hate it when the kids at school say "my bad" ~ what does that mean? I ask them and they haven't got a clue. Do you mean I am bad or My I'm bad. Hate it hate it hate it.

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    1. That's a new one on me Carol. Never heard of it. Can't they make a school rule banning "my bad"?

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    2. "My bad" was very common in the U.S. a couple of years ago. It can mean "my mistake" or "I obviously misunderstood what was going on" or "I goofed, but it was not a major catastrophe."

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  6. Not any standouts...oops, my bad.

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  7. 'Literally'. As in 'It was literally the most disastrous news we could have had'. Or 'The overuse of the word 'literally' is figuratively making me sick'.
    In the old days all we got was 'it was literally raining cats and dogs' and the ilk. Now, I think it's literally worse.

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    1. Britain's Deputy PM Clegg said "...you are paying your taxes and then you see people literally in a different galaxy who are paying extraordinarily low rates of tax..." Which galaxy are these people in I wonder? The Ursa Minor Dwarf galaxy perhaps or maybe Andromeda V?

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  8. I'd never heard of standout! I suppose it comes from living in a 1989 cocoon of "real" English - the year I fled the country.
    I do try and watch films and other programmes in English when I can so as to try and keep up with language changes, but I'd not heard that one yet. What I have heard and hate though is when people ask "How are you?" - and someone answers "I'm good"!
    I've spent 25 years teaching people that this is wrong (I'm well, fine, not too bad, fair to middling, being acceptable options) but as soon as you switch on the BBC you hear presenters saying "yeah, I'm good" ...Gggrrrr!!

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    1. When we are asked "How are you?" perhaps we should list our complaints..."Well as you are asking Brian, I have got a bit of athlete's foot and I guess I need to lose a few pounds. I have also been worrying about our phone bill and one of my molars is giving me some gyp...oh and how are you?"

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    2. ...and "How's your Bert's lumbago?"

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    3. I'll sing you a song,
      With no words and no tune
      To sing in your party
      While you suss-out the moon

      Delete

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