Yes there are lots of language problems these days – and I am not talking about foreign languages but good old English. Seems that over the years popular phrases and expressions get “adopted” into the mainstream which are totally incorrect but because we hear it so often it begins to sound correct and has wiggled its way into our vocabulary. For English teachers this must be maddening.
What brought this to mind was a course I read about which is being offered by The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate (CTA) program. The module in question is called Business Writing. Sounds simple enough, but then I started reading some of the words that people get wrong …. these are some examples from an outline of the course published in Insider Travel –
Advice, advise: Advice means a recommendation on what to do (I have some advice on navigating the subway). Advise means to suggest or guide (I advise you to avoid driving in England).
Affect, effect: Affect is a verb meaning to change or influence (how will the COVID policy affect the itinerary?). Effect as a verb means to bring about, and, as a noun, it means result or outcome (the policy will have an interesting effect).
Complement, compliment: Complement means to complete (the shore excursion complements the cruise). Compliment means to flatter or praise (the passenger complimented the captain on such a fine cruise).
Well those are pretty straightforward and I think we have probably all fallen into that pit from one time or another. But further down the list we get this –
Could’ve, could of: Could’ve means could have (I could’ve been a contender). Could of is not proper, since a preposition cannot serve as a verb.
Aaargh – that just is annoying. It reminds me of that phrase which I think is more popular in the US than here, when people say “off of” as in “get your feet off of the couch”. Google it – I dare you. There are loads of references to this but basically the language experts say that “it makes no sense to have a preposition (off) before another preposition (of).” (as quoted on ontariotraining.net).
Here’s another one that drives me SCATTY! When I hear it on the news I shout at the TV, much to the irritation of my husband. When you hear them say “in connection to an incident that took place”. It is in connection WITH. Have a google of that one too ….
When asked the question online as to which is correct this English teacher said – “I would go for ‘connection with’ as in: What I am saying has no connection with what the previous speaker has said.
‘Connection to’ strikes me as more physical/technical as in: Do you have a connection to broadband on your computer?”
Anyway, it is all academic right now because we now have a whole new Internet language. You probably use that yourself as in IMO meaning “in my opinion” and TBH meaning “to be honest”. I totally get that as we do spend a lot of time on that tiny digital keyboard on our phones and for an “old school” person like me that is really hard. Sit me down at a keyboard and I can zoom along at 100 words per minute without looking at the keys. But I was really stumped the other day when I was reading a community post on facebook and someone used the term BTS. What the heck did that mean. I tried several options including bullshit story – but then suddenly the penny dropped. Back To School. Oh my goodness – this is hard!