Words that Jar

I know I’ve mentioned some of these misused words and expressions before, but lately I’ve heard them so often, particularly in TV news reports, that I felt another post about them was warranted.

You would think that people who make a living from publishing their reports would get the language correct, and yet, it seems that these reporters and news anchors don’t have anyone supervising their grammar skills. No one suggests to them that they should speak English correctly if they are going to address the public.

They repeat these same mistakes almost daily.

The first one that really bothers me is “regards.” When they mean “pertaining to” or “about” a certain subject, why do they first have to send a greeting to it?

Perhaps they’re going to talk about the tent cities springing up outside high schools in Seattle. First the news anchor has to send his regards to the tent city.

“With regards to the tent city, hi, how are you doing? I’m thinking of you. Have a nice day.”

While they’re at it, why don’t they send their regards to my Aunt Mary and me? We feel left out.

But sending a greeting is what they are doing, when they really meant to say, “And now, about the tent cities….” Or maybe, “And now, concerning the tent cities….” Or maybe, “With regard to the tent cities….”

Okay, I feel better now that I’ve blown off some steam on that one.

*****

Here is another one that really bugs me. Same thing – usually reporters and news anchors misusing the terms.

Amount or number?

If you can weigh it or shove it all together in a mass, the term you want is “amount.

The amount of water in a glass, the amount of garbage in the can, the amount of rice in the pot. These are things that can be measured or scooped up in a heap.

So when I hear them say the amount of people in the crowd, I’m already wondering how many pounds they mean. Maybe there are a thousand pounds of people in the crowd?

Anything that is countable (theoretically) is referred to as a number of things. I said theoretically, because you wouldn’t want to count the number of daffodils growing on a hillside, but theoretically, you could.

Examples:

The number of people in the crowd.

The number of raindrops, but the amount of rain.

The number of grains of sand, but the amount of sand.

The amount of wood in the shed, but the number of pieces of firewood.

The amount of rice, but the number of grains of rice.

The amount of frustration I feel when I hear the news anchor misuse these words, but the number of times I feel that frustration.

AAAARRRGGHHHHH!

14 thoughts on “Words that Jar

    • And as I said in your own blog post just now, please don’t worry about it for the blog posts. I always say mistakes in emails don’t count and the same in blog posts. That’s still rather informal. But these news anchors get paid huge bucks to deliver the news and for that, they should get their grammar right at least, if not always the facts (which they SHOULD get right too).

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    • I wouldn’t make fun of someone trying to learn English, but these are people who grew up with a good education in English and who are just too lazy to speak it properly. As it happens, you are right, it is the fake news people who are most in need of a brush up in English. We have them in both our countries. One news anchor I’m thinking of, goes out of her way to pronounce Iran as if she were an Iranian native (IRRRRaHHHN) and in the next breath she says “with regards to.” Shudders.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know!! But I want to know what’s happening, only I want to hear it in good English and I want the truth, not someone’s biased opinion of “their” (version) of the truth. It’s no wonder people turn it off though, with the lack of dedication to reporting the truth and letting people make up their own minds.

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    • After all, it’s the “me” generation. It’s ME, ME, ME, and after a long time of nothing, it’s ME again. Remember the fallout of the hippie era when everything became child centered. We are now reaping the rewards of those children’s children’s screwed up attitudes.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you would think they had a good education, and I don’t mind if they make a mistake but they keep making the same mistakes (and many others that I haven’t even mentioned). I just thought that their bosses should have noticed and said something to them.

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  1. Oh, this was very useful, Anneli. This morning I was browsing through Stephen King’s book On Writing – a Memoir of the Craft and came across this passage which I find appropriate to your post. It was in the section he titled Toolbox, in which he compares a carpenter’s toolbox to a writer’s toolbox: “Common tools go on top. The commonest of all, the bread of writing, is vocabulary…You’ll also want grammar on the top shelf of your toolbox.”
    So there you go!
    Have a happy weekend! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that, Carol. I have that book of Stephen King’s and found it excellent. It’s good to hear that he approves of good grammar. I’m happy to hear that you found this post of some use. Enjoy your weekend too!

      Liked by 1 person

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