Funny examples of awful language usage


Originally published at:


Dumbasses gonna dumbass. ⇐(irony)


But how else do you talk to an MBA? I thought their common tongue was meaningless buzzword bingo?


I was cracking a cheap joke about Pinker’s clever send-up of the usage of the word irony.

This video is over a year old. I’m a pretty big Pinker fan.


That was iconic!




Pro-active posting?


Some slightly more expert advice re: “literally”:

Usage Notes: Did We Change the Definition of 'Literally'?
Literally every modern dictionary includes this definition

In this particular instance, Steven Pinker is thinking like a cognitive scientist, not a linguist.

‘Literally’ does not mean ‘figuratively’

…makes sense using basic principles of cognitive logic, but given the linguistic evidence, it’s an absurd statement.

(But, yes, a much-loved shibboleth nonetheless.)


People over using the word “literally” doesn’t bother me all that much, i think i can be fairly pedantic but i understand why that word has gotten a lot more liberal use. As far as common overuse of words i much prefer “literally” to the overuse of “like”.

Like, oh my god, like we totally had, like, the best pizza ever. It was like, so good.

Kill me.







Also relevant:


I really believe that most people who write like that “think” (if that’s the word) like that. They don’t understand discrete words or grammar, they just bung cliches together, like a dumber, limited-vocabulary version of Searle’s Chinese Room.


Pinker looks like a long-lost twin of one of my favorite conductors… Simon Rattle.


I’ll see your “like” and raise you one “initial so.”



worse, he’s an evolutionary psychologist.


Neal Stephenson’s Anathem brought us the term ‘bulshytt’ for language like this.


To me the “like” is more obnoxious than the “so” because it can be overused very easily. Now use them both together and that’s a whole other thing.


He at one time was a psycholinguist, and was attempting to inherit Chomsky’s helm by reiterating everything Chomsky had said that about language more clearly than Chomsky was able to–and probably in books rather than research articles. Then he decided he wanted to inherit whatever you get when you cross Steven Jay Gould with Dawkins and maybe Hofstedter, and put that stuff in books to sell in the airport. Recently, he decided he wants to inherit the helm of the evolutionary stepchild of E. B. White, and Samuel Clemens, and George Will, by being a humourless commenter about language, which I guess he has some credibility for. He hasn’t been anything close to a scientist or an originator of new ideas for years, but is a popularizer of science like Nye and Degrasse Tyson. I did see a poster with him listed as a coauthor at the cognitive science conference a few years ago, but his role in the world is no longer as a scientist.


Some of Pinker’s books are pretty darn all right.