“It’s fewer!! Fewer voters turned out, not less” (My 3 year old seemed relieved it was the radio getting a ticking off for a change!) It bugs me – I don’t know why. Is it the result of being in TEFL for over 20 years and feeling rather superior that [some] broadcasters should have a better grasp of grammar? Possibly.
But there are words that irritate me too. ‘Lush’, for example. The only thing I feel should be described as ‘lush’ is grass or some kind of vegetation and I object to it being used as a generic adjective for everything from George Clooney to chocolate cake.
Perhaps this is less about the word itself and more to do with its use (or misuse), but it did start me thinking about personal bug-bears and annoyances when it comes to language and words.
In the nature of controlled scientific research, I Googled ‘most hated words’ and was surprised at the number of polls that have been taken on this and the range of people who have responded.
‘Literally’ was deemed to be the most irritating word by Daily Telegraph readers and this was in response to a poll run by researchers at Oxford University where ‘At the end of the day’ came in as hot favourite, closely followed by ‘fairly unique’.
YouGov ran a poll among the internet community and surprisingly ‘blog’ came in third? Perhaps that was before we all started doing it. Babycenter.com contributors objected to ‘preggers‘. Even ‘bun in the oven’ was preferable to this.