Americans abuse words. Let's just get that out there. Phew! I feel so much better. Now that we've admitted our problem, it's time for group therapy so we can stop this insanity.
I have compiled a list of five pseudo-words that society needs to run from.
The first one on my list is heighth. Yes, depth, breadth, and width are words; however, heighth is not. According to Garner's Modern American Usage, "To pronounce or write this word [height] as if it were heighth is less than fully literate." Ouch. I think old Brian Garner just called you a moron. Drop that h and move on with your life before the grammar police bust a cap.
Out of every misused word in the English language, this next one actually makes me grind my teeth. A quick eye twitch usually follows as well. Snuck is informal and should never be used. Ever. I hear people say the exact same thing about sneaked--that it sounds weird. Newsflash, people: When society continues to pronounce a word incorrectly, over time, people will think the proper pronunciation is improper, that it sounds odd. The Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary states, "The formerly regional and/or nonstandard past tense and past participle snuck has sneaked into mainstream English during the past 20 years." This is a good time to embrace your inner hipster. Snuck is too mainstream. Sneaked is what it's all about.
A year ago, I listened to a preacher say the pseudo-word pacifically specifically five times in his sermon. I have no idea what that sermon was about because I was too twitchy to concentrate. It is pronounced spe-cif-i-cal-ly. If you feel a pacifically coming on, slap yourself.
Irregardless is a double negative. The word you're looking for is regardless. Garner says, "Although this widely scorned nonword seems unlikely to spread much more than it already has, careful users of language must continually swat it when they encounter it." So, swat that nasty double negative like the annoying housefly it is.
Now, this isn't just one word. It's a phrase, actually. To say that you "could care less" is illogical. That means that you do have a bit of caring left, which, obviously, isn't what you were intending. "I couldn't care less that your cat is wearing leopard-printed mittens" is the proper phrasing. I know, I know. You probably couldn't care less about this last one, right?
Or do you?
An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and her novel-in-progress, The Suicide Tree. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.