What’s so hard about speaking English?

Joe, you just said "different than" three times in about 30 seconds. It’s "different FROM" — what’s so hard about that? "Than" expresses a comparison of DEGREE, a quantitative difference. When you’re trying to express a qualitative difference, it’s "different from."

And Sarah — what’s so blasted hard about the word, "nuclear?" Have you been studying at the W. school of elocution?

18 thoughts on “What’s so hard about speaking English?

  1. Brad Warthen

    Next you’ll be telling me that “impact” is a verb… which, by the way, it FREAKING ISN’T, although it’s been misused to the point that it’s become accepted, but not by me, baby, not by me.

  2. Brad Warthen

    But we all have our pet peeves. We just discussed two of mine.
    For her part, my wife said something during the debate along the lines of, “If she says ‘maverick’ one more time…”
    For MY part, I reached my own saturation point on that word during the convention. But at least there it had the advantage of being extremely ironic, since the hall was full of people who HATED him for being a… you know.
    Yes, he IS … one of those guys like Bret and Bart on the old TV show. Always has been, for good or ill. Mostly for good, I’d say.
    But please don’t say the word any more — you know, the one they called Tom Cruise by in that movie about guys who were, like McCain, naval aviators. What’s wrong with using synonyms? Admittedly, “iconoclast” doesn’t sound as macho, and has the disadvantage of lots of folks maybe not knowing what it means, but it would inject a little variety into what you’re trying to say, and not drive us all nuts. Why gosh darn it, if Sarah Palin started saying “iconoclast,” hockey moms all over the lower 48 would start sayin’ it, and first thing ya know it would be as American as snowmobiles.
    At least give it a try. Please.

  3. John Hammond

    I believe that when an individual human being has ascended to the level of candidate for the vice-presidency of the United States of America, he is beyond reform in his use of the english language.
    I wonder wether the refusal to pronounce the word “nuclear” properly has any bearing on one’s true political leaning, or vice versa…

  4. Susan

    Even though I know it isn’t wrong per se, I don’t like the verb “to grow” used as in, “We need to grow our military…”

  5. bud

    Brad the English language evolves, get over it. My mom was voted “gayest” in her graduating class of 1946. There would be no such award today. Times change, word meanings change.

  6. Lee Muller

    Brad is beginning to see why English should be the official language of the USA, and a English literacy a requirement for voting or even remaining in the country beyound 6 months.

  7. p.m.

    Different than? No, different from.
    That’s one thing.
    Over 100? No, more than 100 and over the rainbow, doggone it.
    That’s my pet peeve, along with every misspelled word, especially when someone misspells “misspell.”

  8. bud

    Brad is beginning to see why English should be the official language of the USA, and a English literacy a requirement for voting or even remaining in the country beyound 6 months.
    … and a English literacy … ?
    Way to go Lee. You’ve managed to make yourself look as stupid as it’s possible to look. You express a desire to require English literacy by completely butchering the English language.

  9. Lee Muller

    I don’t think a typing error constitutes illiteracy, but I doubt “bud” knows the meaning of “constitutes” or “illteracy”.
    All people like bud have are childish “gotcha” moments, whether it is in conversation, on a blog, or watching the mortal enemies of socialism in debate.

  10. Karen McLeod

    I hearby hypothesize that anyone who cannot pronounce the word “nuclear” should not be president or in line for the presidency. I base this hypothesis on 2 presidents, Carter and Bush (Carter at least learned to pronounce the word, although he always made a face as if it were difficult to do so), and one vice presidential candidate, Palin. Given the evidence I consider this a working hypothesis, and, unless someone can show evidence to contradict it, may elevate it to the level of theory at any moment.

  11. Brad Warthen

    Of course, my man Jimmy was a nuclear engineer; he worked directly for Admiral Rickover, father of the nuclear navy.
    So maybe the way he said it IS the way to say it…

  12. Lee Muller

    Karen, if you are going to ban those with speech impediments from holding office, how about those with difficulty hearing or vision problems. I guess that cripple, FDR, never should have been eligible to run, either.

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