By nitpicking, I’m opening the door for “pot calling the kettle black” and SWPL quips. Further, I’m of the opinion that commentators who add substantively meaningless phrases designed to show humility when making assertions are unnecessarily making their readers read more than they need to. We know you’re not the ultimate arbiter of all things to all people. It’s your take based on the reason you’ve employed, the data you’ve marshaled, and the passion you’ve embedded in your delivery. The “in my opinion, …” is stating what is already assumed unless you’ve indicated otherwise.
That said, I listened to two podcasts today, one via EconTalk with Bryan Caplan and the other via AltRight Radio with Trace Mayer. Caplan said (starts at 54:25) the following in a discussion about F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom and The Fatal Conceit:
It’s not that businesses need certainty about the rules, but a reasonable amount
A “reasonable amount of certainty”? The standard definition of certain being “free from doubt or reservation; confident; sure”, the question of certainty is a dichotomous one. Something is either certain or it is uncertain; it cannot be somewhat certain.
In a span of less than 40 minutes, Mayer demonstrates poor English language usage not just once, or only twice, but thrice, in each case saying “…that’s where we are at” instead of “that’s where we are”.
While we’re on the topic, a couple other frequent errors I regularly come across:
– “Nevermind” instead of “never mind”. The former is close to an antonym of the latter. Used correctly, it is approaching obsolescence. Parenthetically, I was made aware of this several months ago by an astute reader who called me out on my frequent use of “nevermind” when I meant “never mind”.
– “Peruse” as an indication of brevity when it should be expressing the giving of great attention to detail. When I peruse an article, I’m not just skimming it but instead am reading through it thoroughly.
And yes, despite being guilty of it, I’m aware that freely switching between first-, second-, and third-person is considered bad, er, poor form.
* In the Steveosphere, that is. In the texting and Facebook worlds, these complaints would be dwarfed by far more elementary mistakes such as the use of “your” as the contraction of “you are” and “there” as the contraction of “they are”.