Tuesday Semantic Snobbery

A personality profile once indicated that I tend to evaluate others on their verbal skills.  I’ll admit it.  I am indeed highly attuned to others’ facility with words.

I try to avoid passing judgment, but verbal miscues arrest my attention, especially when they’re funny.

Here are a few I’ve collected over the past few weeks and have submitted to the Department of Redundancy Department and the Ministry of Malapropisms.

An interviewee on NPR (NPR!) noted that a certain initiative was “a win-win for both sides.”

Someone made reference to “the stuff of which it’s made of.”  More recently, a person noted “the place from which he comes from.”  Variations of this mistake are common.  Only Paul McCartney gets a free pass.

I’ve heard faculty colleagues refer to an erstwhile student as a “former graduate,” or a “former alumnus.”  It seems that such conditions only become possible with time travel.  Such expressions are akin to referring to someone as “an alumni.”

Finally, from the linguistically licentious world of sports radio.  Summing up the complexities of a discussion, one person stated that “it depends on which divide of the issue you’re on.”

Yesterday, another commentator concurred with his conversation partner, stating, “I think we all agree on the same page.”


Have you heard any good ones recently?

18 thoughts on “Tuesday Semantic Snobbery

  1. BradK

    Okay, stop with the semantic snobbery and get back to your fantastic series on Romans. 🙂

    Seriously, the series on Paul’s letter to the church in Rome is excellent. I hope you plan to continue it.

      1. Brad

        Yes. And I’m eagerly awaiting the promised continuation of the “Demonic in the Mundane” posts 😉

  2. Brent Etzel

    On the Paul McCartney reference: I’ve known that song my whole life and I never spotted the double “in” until today. It will now annoy me for years to come.

  3. Betsy

    You actually said a funny one last semester in Colossians (I remember because I collect these too- with my daughter)…you said, “I’m just shooting from the cuff!” That’s a pretty low shot to make!

    But my favorite is from a friend who said, “We’ll just burn that bridge when we get there!”

    1. timgombis

      Betsy, that’s brilliant!

      I heard two more today on the radio. Someone said “you really understand why people put his greatness on a pedestal.” Wha!?

      Also, “LeBron James really remembers where his roots came from.” Priceless.

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