Use the Proper Words

I’m serious, just learn the proper words. I’m not talking about slang, I’m not even talking about the rather creative way rappers keep inventing words – that’s fine, people make up new words all the time. It’s a living language.

But taking a perfectly good word that already has an accepted meaning and changing it arbitrarily, that’s just wrong. A sin against nature. And I found when I visited the states, If I use a word correctly instead of following the American vernacular everyone looked at me like I was the weird one. And you know the one word that really got to me? The one word that was guaranteed to make me angry?

Biscuits.

I’m not talking about how Americans insist on calling them cookies. Like I said, I’m all for making up new words. Call them cookies, eaties, jabberwockies, I don’t care. Snoop Dogg can call them bizzles mah nizzles – it’s all good.

So, they call biscuits cookies, but THEN they call scones biscuits. You can’t do that! What the hell is wrong with you people? “Biscuits” already has a definition. You can’t go around randomly reassigning words – the fragile threads that hold society together will snap! We’re all going to descend into a pit of anarchy because the goddam Americans can’t use the English language properly.

I’m serious – it’s the first sign of the Apocalypse: randomly reassigning words. It’s all there in Revelations. Structured language is what separates us from the beasts people.

We lose that and it’s all downhill from then on.

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14 Comments

Filed under Language

14 responses to “Use the Proper Words

  1. I agree. Language, like government, is the seam that keeps the fabric of civilization intact.

  2. “Call them cookies, eaties, jabberwockies, I don’t care.”

    Really? Some people in your country call biscuits jabberwockies? That’s interesting because the only jabberwocky I know is Lewis Caroll’s creature – it of the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.

    My understanding of western slang, though, is sadly lacking. You’ll find that in many Asian countries, our English is the English that filters down to us through textbooks, novels, AXN, HBO, and Hollywood movies.

  3. You take me too literally mixed nuts, I was being nonsensical. I was indeed referencing the Lewis Carrol creature – merely saying I don’t mind if people make up words.

    OK to tell the truth, I was thinking of the Monty Python-ish movie Jabberwocky – I’m not intellectual enough to reference classical literature when pop culture will help me out. And yes I know Jabberwocky isn’t *really* a Monty Python movie so nobody waste the bandwidth to tell me so.

  4. I read a similarly angsty article in The Big Issue once, it was over the use of the word Cookies to mean biscuits, it was i think on a Qantas flight.

    Do you know how they’ve restructured the english curriculum here so that kids never have to read a text to pass the exam. Oh and correct spelling is optional. I’m sorry. but WHAT! (by “here” I mean Oz)

  5. Yes Maryam, that is an absolute travesty. I know where it came from, with good intentions a while back teachers made the decision not to mark kids down just for spelling if their ideas were good because they didn’t want to discourage the kids.

    Somehow this seems to have mushed into “let’s not nother to stress that kids should try to spell correctly. Once again, a good idea turns into so much fertiliser.

  6. Why shouldn’t kids try to spell correctly? They grow up to be misspelling idiots and language as we know it will erode to gibberish and leet speak. Urgh.

  7. With you 100% somthingtobe. It sucks when people can only see in black and white. “You can’t make kids spell properly without crushing their creativity.” Bollocks! How about praise their creativity while at the same time pointing out their spelling errors and helping them.

    This is why I have problems associating with any specific idealogy – people seem to switch off their critical facilities and get tied to dogma.

  8. CREATIVITY!!! WHAT CREATIVITY. THEY’RE UNEDUCATED! yes, i’m shouting this. Urgh.

    Angry, call me Maryam (thats my name :))

  9. BeautifulShi

    I found this site a little late so I’m unsure if you will even check for a new comment on this one. But I was in the middle of a search for ‘Words that make people angry’. I am a struggling writer that is taking a course to be a published writer. So I found your site and had to comment. I am an American obviously and I have never heard anyone I know call a Biscuit a cookie. Honestly I would think the person was nuts and didn’t know their food. But what I really want to comment on is that I have never judged the whole race of people from one country just because of ONE person. I know that not everyone is the same no matter where they live. And they especially do not think a like. And no one person is perfect. We all make mistakes! I do and even You!

  10. BeautifulShi: I always see comments, even for old posts. I hope if you read a bit more you’ll see I’m making jokes, I rarely believe the things I write literally. This is my creative writing outlet, maybe you’ll find some ideas. My advice is practice, practice, practice. Start a blog! :)

  11. Tiffany

    Hey there another American here that is also struggling to become a published author but I agree with ya Mr Angry we Americans screw everything up :P I take pity on the ones that brave our country and want to order biscuits and get what we call cookies or what not. But bleh. Our kids can’t read or write properly by the time they are in high school so yep my pity definitely goes to those that want to visit us.

  12. Ben

    I just got back from the US. It was bad, some of high schoolers there were massive jerks. People here in Canada joke about how Americans think Canada is always cold, and snowy. Well we were proved wrong, some of these people really thought that. They didn’t believe us when we told them it wasn’t. So yeah the only blemish on an otherwise perfect trip to the NYC

  13. Aislinn

    As a person in JobCorp, I can personally attest to the jerk behavior of highschoolers here. Just like NY isn’t cold all the bleeding time, neither is Canada.

    Oh, and please forgive me Ben, I have to get this out of my system

    “So, you went to the US, eh?”

    *ducks well-deserved thrown shoes*

  14. EmeliaD

    I know I found this late and I’m sorry, but I agree. I’m 15, american, and I am ashamed of how my generation behaves. That and I know Canada is not always snowing. That country is beautiful!

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