What's The Diff?

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Too Many Words!!

Ed Gets Angry About People Butchering the LanguageHey kids!

It’s me, again! Your friendly neighborhood hyper-vigilant narcissist, Ed, here with another lesson on how not to be perceived as an idiot. This week, we’ll explore "The DIFF" between speaking like you have an education, and exhibiting the conversational skills of P. Diddy.

Our language has been devolving at an alarming rate. Society is making up new words and phrases for unknown reasons. I’m not referring to false contractions like, "gonna," which has no reasonable reference to the two words of which it is supposedly a contraction, "going" and "to," because it actually simplifies speech, using fewer letters and syllables. I’m talking about complete bastardizations of our language where people have added letters or words to create new, useless phrases that further complicate our communication process. It’s only natural that a language should compress as it ages.

A less verbose world is a better, more efficient world for everyone, so
if you need to shorten your statements by using colloquialisms that
make it easier for me to quickly understand the usual nonsense you
sputter, then please, by all means, have at it. But if you plan to add
unnecessary letters, words and phrases to your diction, I should not be
expected to take you seriously. Following are a
few examples of our ever-expanding vocabulary.

  • "Whole-nother" What was so wrong with, "whole other," to require the
    creation of such a ridiculous substitute? Look carefully! "Whole other"
    uses fewer letters, and more importantly, is a legitimate English
    phrase comprised of two actual words!
  • "Where are you at?" Why are you adding the extra word, "at" to your
    question? Why not simply ask, "Where are you?" In the same vein is, "I
    have never been here before." Before what? Oh, before right now? Well,
    thank you for clarifying.
  • "Irregardless" What the hell is this? If I have to explain this one, you’re lucky you can read.
  • "I thought to myself…" This one always makes me laugh. I suppose one
    day, millions of years in the future we might communicate
    telepathically, but for now, if you just say "I thought," I’ll assume
    you were the only one who got the message.
  • "Just so you know…" If you want to tell me something, just tell me! Don’t tell me that you’re going to tell me something.
  • "But let me ask you this!" Just ask!
  • "Whether or not…"  Yeah, I know – you always wondered. Well, it’s just "whether."

There’s math and logic to language. A statement is like an equation. It
all makes sense; a double negative cancels itself, pronouns represent
variables, and in the cases above, adding something with no value, is
the equivalent of multiplying by zero, yielding zero, and nullifying
the credibility of the speaker. There are hundreds of examples, and I
could go on for pages, but, practicing what I preach, I’ll spare you
any further admonishment, as I think you get the idea.

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  1. At the risk of sounding pejorative, I think Angry Ed needs therapy, or at the least to lighten up. Let me ask you this, why do you feel the need to take 3 pages to discuss shortening phrases that are commonplace in our American lexicon? As I was reading, I had to think to myself, is this rambling going to end? But I digress, that is a topic for a whole nother post. Just so you know, I found this post silly, angry Ed, just silly.

    Posted by: GWB | May 18, 2007
  2. I’m with you Ed! My favorite? “Supposebly.” When I hear someone say that instead of the real word (that would be “supposedly”), I want to find the nearest sharp object and poke myself in the eye with it.

    Posted by: Peppermint Patty | May 21, 2007
  3. My personal pet peeve? People that use “whenever” instead of “when”, as in “Whenever I went to the store last night, I saw Bob.” It drives me crazy.

    Posted by: Janet | May 21, 2007
  4. It’s not exactly an extra word but a lot of people in Michigan add a “m” to “bye” at the end of a phone conversation. So it sounds like “mmmmbye”. I don’t get it.
    I also hate made up words like “fantabulous” and “superiffic”. While I’m on this rant, how about intentional misspellings. There was a car dealership near where I used to work that sold “used kars”. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Posted by: Gimpy | May 21, 2007
  5. Hey, Gimpy… What about “Krispy Kreme”?? Why couldn’t they just name it “Crispy Creme”???

    Posted by: Me | May 22, 2007
  6. Since we are ranting on pet peeves, how about when people leave their “open” signs on, I mean, it’s really not that hard people, turn it on when you are there, and off at the end of the night!!!!!

    Posted by: Kriste | May 22, 2007
  7. You make a strongified statement about the lack of smartness in the english language.

    Posted by: ian | May 23, 2007
  8. Ed is a classic Grammar Nazi in the same “vein” as George Orwell, someone who claims to lament the so called devolution of a dying language blah blah blah. What Ed does not seem to understand is the wide richness that dialect use can bring and the variety and creativity that English speakers and writers are capable of producing. That to me is the hallmark of a living language, it’s ability to grow and change and reinvent itself. He simply does not value those differences. Rather, like Orwell, there’s a “right” to talk and write: Ed’s way. Your way with your “whole-nothers” and “where you at” equals an inferior dialect that Ed wants you to change so you can be like him… the keeper of English “proper”. Ahight, I’m funna go naw.

    Posted by: Billy Leopardskinhousen | May 23, 2007
  9. Being from Texas the one word I hope never sweeps the natino is ‘fixin’. As in, ‘I’m fixin to go to the store’. No you’re not. You’re not fixing anything. However, ‘y’all’ is 100% appropriate in all situations – singular, plural, whatever.

    Posted by: Jacque | May 24, 2007
  10. Being from Detroit, I have to lump ‘y’all’ with ‘fixin.’ Sorry Jacque, but both are just wrong.
    Angry Ed for President!

    Posted by: Clay C | May 24, 2007
  11. Anforlætan eower niwe Engliscgereorde gif ge agan niþ fore awendan!
    (Translation for those of us who admire a living language: “Abandon your new English language if you have hatred for change!”)
    If you do not like the way languages change, perhaps you should start with your own English. If you are from the Midwest, you have probably started to shift your vowels. If you were born after 1066, your language is not even CLOSE to the “true” English that you claim to adore. . .
    The “Diff” is accepting the fact that people have different methods of communication. We need to embrace change. That is what keeps us ahead of the game!

    Posted by: JJM | May 28, 2007
  12. Do you intentionally misinterpret things to give yourself a reason to speak? “The true English that I claim to adore?” What? When did I make that “claim?” Also, “If you do not like the way languages change…” To be clear, I WANT language to change… BUT I WANT THE CHANGES TO MAKE FREAKIN SENSE!!!! Yeah, that’s right, I said, “FREAKIN!” Wait a second! That AIN’T even a word. IT DOESN’T MATTER, because it makes sense! In this particular example, “freakin” amplifies my tone, and substitutes for a potentially offensive word. It has a purpose. That purpose is to expedite my speech, and enable me to say less but communicate more. -Not merely to add all kinds of unnecessary crap to my sentence. Hell, Shakespearian dialogue was beautiful, but I’m happy as can be that I don’t have to call you a “fellow of infinite jest,” ya clown! Do you get it now? Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I give up. No, wait a minute, one more thing… “We need to embrace change??” -Uh, yeah, thanks for that.

    Posted by: ED | June 1, 2007
  13. I believe, and will understand if not everyone agrees, that the multiple sources and flexibility of English contribute to its well recognized value as a medium of communication and art; but at the same time there needs to be some sense of what is and is not correct English, especially when written.
    To me that means we need the Eds who bridle at pure mistakes (like “nucular” and “triathalon”) that seem to be quite common (in both senses) now. But, let’s not put the Eds on a committee to oversee our use of language, even to insist on brevity in all cases.
    But please let them have space to state their views, even, if they wish, to criticise the jocular use of “whole nother.”

    Posted by: Trebor Somath | July 9, 2007

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018