Posted by: Jack | September 6, 2007

Think; Then Talk

This will probably be the first of an on-going series of posts with a new one popping up whenever I find it necessary. Basically, I feel like a majority of people are lazy with their speech. Now it’s one thing to speak informally with friends, family, etc. But when it comes to serious discussion or speaking in any employment setting, I believe that slacking can not only greatly reduce a person’s credibility but can easily lead to misunderstandings and unintended offenses.

Historically, I have found that I probably think a little too much and don’t talk enough and this too can lend itself to unsatisfactory outcomes. But, I believe there must be an ideal balance which places the fulcrum nearer to my end of the scale.

So this series will likely consist of specific examples of lazy or inappropriate speech that come to mind and an explanation of my opinions regarding each example.

First example of laziness:

I could care less.

For reference, this statement can often be heard in some version of this context:

Q: How do you feel about this issue?

A: I could care less.

Grammatically, this is fine. Logically however, it generally delivers a meaning which is in opposition to that intended by the speaker. The phrase the speaker is likely attempting to convey would be, “I couldn’t care less.” This implies that the issue at hand is of no concern to the speaker. To say that one could care less states that the speaker does have at least some concern regarding this issue.

Example two:

Knifes, wifes, etc.

No explanation should be required.

Example three:

If you are unhappy here, you should try to find a position somewheres else.

I heard the word “somewheres” just the other day used by a professional human resources manager and literally cringed. Use of this word just screams “I’m poorly educated.” And maybe the individual’s education and/or upbringing is to blame but any personal fault can be blamed on past experiences so I believe if anyone can be held accountable for anything, an adult can certainly be expected to avoid using the non-word, “somewheres”.

Example four:

So I says to her, I says, “…”

I’ve heard this mostly in the northern areas of the Midwest but also in other regions among people who like to tell stories in the form of full-dialog-repetition — generally a bothersome trait in itself.

Problem one: the proper form of the verb “say” in first-person is either “say” (present tense) or “said” (past tense). The phrase, “I says” is never grammatically correct. Problem two: “I says” should absolutely not be repeated. Not only is this grammatically incorrect even if the speaker appropriately used “I say” or “I said”, but the subject and verb have already been established. Repeating it mid-sentence makes it seem as if the speaker misspoke and is starting the sentence over. Another name for this process is stuttering.

Ok, that’s enough for now, but I’m sure there will be more to come.

Please don’t interpret this criticism as a push for self-censorship. I am totally against such an idea because it’s literally a form of dishonesty. In fact, I would prefer that people speak their minds more explicitly. But, I do suggest that when doing so in a setting where one’s credibility is at stake, some care be taken in order to speak correctly.

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Responses

  1. You’re absolutely right and I know I’m guilty of it from time to time (thought not in relation to the examples cited).


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