Tuesday, April 9, 2019

PLEASE DON’T SAY THAT! by Hannah Rowan


I’m a writer and writers are supposed to love words, so they say.  And I do, I really do.  It’s a thrill to find just the right word to express an idea.  It’s lovely to come across a word I’ve never heard before and to learn what it means.

But there are some words and phrases that make me grit my teeth and long to bash someone over the head with a shoe.  If I wore heels, I’d possibly even use a stiletto, but I doubt I’d hurt anyone with my Keds sneakers.  So I’ll just have to issue a heartfelt plea – don’t say these things in front of me or you’ll ruin my Zen.

I admit it’s irrational, but I can’t stand it when someone says they’re going to “sleep in.”  What does that even mean?  I adore the idea of sleeping LATE!  I hate to get up in the morning!  But sleep IN? In what, where?  Don’t say it, please!

My husband often tells me he’s going to “take a hot tub.”  I bet it’s obvious what I’m going to say.  Take it where?  Please don’t take the hot tub!  Go into it, and then leave it where it is so others can enjoy it later.

When someone asks how I’m doing, I’ll say “fine” or “great” or something along those lines.  But some people say, “I’m doing well.”  Yes, it’s grammatically correct.  But still, it always makes me pause and think that the person seems, well, kind of stuffy.

Then there are individual words that make me cringe.  


For a long time it seems that the heroes in romance novels were extremely fond of “laving” various parts of the heroine’s body.  Though I haven’t encountered this in a while (Dare I hope it’s become outdated?) I can still recall my outrage every time I encountered this activity.  Because “lave” means “wash,” according to Webster.  Not quite the image the author had in mind, no doubt.

In no particular order, I can’t stand the words puke, zit, fart, and bolus.  Why bolus, you ask? I have no clue, but when my dentist once said I had a bolus of food stuck under my gum I wanted to retch (not puke, please!) not from the thought of the food itself but from the sound of the word.  I’m not sure why all of these words describe somewhat unpleasant bodily functions.  I have nothing against the functions themselves.  Except bolus, which falls into another category entirely.

I once had a friend who couldn’t stand the word “bosom.”  I delighted in singing “Rock my Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” endlessly to her.  Maybe my aversion to the above words and phrases is payback of some sort.  One never knows.

###

Don't forget our Easter Egg hunt! You'll find an egg on one of my social media sites. Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads. Once you've located the egg, use the "Contact the Gems" link on the lower-left sidebar to submit the date, egg color, the author’s name, and location where you found the egg. 

20 comments:

  1. As a non-native speaker, I agree with you. It takes some effort and time to get used to phrasal verbs and expressions that don't make sense if you translate word by word literally.

    And uh, "bolus" makes sense to me because it's Latin for "lump"/huge mass of something etc., very close to its translation in Portuguese ("bolo").

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iris, I just got back from Portugal and I swear I thought BOLO meant cake! I saw lots of different bolo for sale in stores and bakeries. I guess what they were selling were lumps of deliciousness?

      Delete
    2. Hi Bonnie, "bolo" is commonly used as cake too! (99.9% of the time)

      It's also used as a medical term, but obviously only by doctors (in this case, a dentist), so it's rarely heard. It's the same meaning.

      Delete
    3. Ok, almost the same meaning... yes, they were selling big masses of deliciousness!

      Delete
    4. Iris - It's not the meaning of bolus that bothers me, it's the sound somehow. I can't explain it!

      Delete
  2. I hate it when a stranger (grocery cashier for example) asks how I am. As if they care. It is so fake. I am so tempted to spew a litany of horror and burst into tears. Instead,I respond with 'flawless'. It always gives them pause. So much more interesting tnan 'fine'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HS job- grocery clerk. Had weekly running conversations with my regular customers. People would wait in my line just to continue their stories about their family or hear more about my stuff. But then I’ve always been about storytelling. Guess I started there! LOL

      Delete
    2. Kathleen, you'd cringe in Brazil - people ask "hi, how are you?" all the time, yet they don't care how "you're doing" (this expression reminds me of Friends).

      People are warm, hug and kiss you on the cheek! Sometimes it's nice, but it's often fake. Maybe I'm the weirdo here.

      Delete
    3. I like being asked, and I like asking it, too. I guess I always think everyone's interested in everyone else, speaking of weirdos. :-)

      Delete
    4. After I posted I thought of a few more, and Kathleen's comment reminds me of "have a good one," which is something clerks suddenly started saying instead of "have a nice day" or whatever.

      Delete
  3. I think we all have words that make us cringe. I know I do. Big words out of context (when it's obvious the speaker hasn't got a clue) also make me cringe.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great topic...for me mostly the things that make me cringe are in print, not what people say. But print needs to be right if at all possible. I hate misspellings on the news as it runs across the bottom of the screen. Is no one in the studio seeing the typos?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hmm, none of those words are particularly pleasing to me either. However, I've been known to say that I'll be "sleeping in" (especially on weekends)! As in, I'll be sleeping in (bed), rather than getting out of bed. :o

    ReplyDelete
  6. My husband always says he'll 'put out the lights'. Where? Where are you going to put them? Outside? Yup, I get it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL!!! I've also heard "shut the lights," which just seems WRONG!!!

      Delete
  7. No, none of those drive me crazy. I do though hate when I think I've found a perfectly wonderful descriptive word only to find I've used three times already. How that happens, I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't mind those words, but there are ones that grate on me. Mostly "quip."

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a fun post!

    I cringe at the phrase, "by accident." Nothing is done by accident, it's done accidentally!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have so many word quirks! All have to do with food... Sort of. Basically, nothing can be described with words associated with food. So, a person cannot be delicious in my word universe. I blame a severe case of misophobia lol

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hannah, as always, delightful! Since I'm from the South, politeness was hammered into me from the time I begin to talk. There is no simple, "hello." There's always a social interaction required. To this day, if someone asks how I am, I always respond with, "I'm well. How are you?" Normally that gets a blank stare or a surprised look because no one asks the cashier how he or she is. I also make eye contact and smile. I'm sympathetic to their plight: forced to greet every customer with that inquiry. *g* What gets me is the incorrect usage of myself, himself, and herself along with someone responding, "No problem" rather than you're welcome. The latter makes me want to sit them down and give them a grammar/manners lesson.

    ReplyDelete

Due to the high volume of Spam comments, we are forced to install Comment Moderation and Word Verification. We apologize for the inconvenience.