I don’t think it’s overstating the case to say that I am a huge word nerd. I always love to hear the list of “new” words that get added to Merriam-Webster or the OED (“jeggings,” “clickbait,” “emoji”), and I can accept that language evolves even when I don’t like it: “literally” now can be used to mean “figuratively”; “they” is now acceptable as a singular pronoun. I don’t agree with it, and I will still try to avoid it in my own speech and writing, but language is fluid. You can’t fight against it, nor should you (in most cases).

Everyone has things that he or she finds annoying (I almost wrote “they”!), though, and it’s funny how much this varies from person to person. I twitch a little bit when I hear someone say “irregardless,” but it fills one of my coworkers with murderous rage. I think misuse of “myself” is one of my biggest pet peeves – “yes, he called a meeting with the dean and myself” – but it doesn’t seem to faze most of my friends, even though they know it’s grammatically incorrect. Misspellings drive me bananas, too: There’s the “your”/”you’re” issue, of course, but also “per say” instead of “per se,” “bellweather” instead of “bellwether,” “slight of hand” instead of “sleight of hand.”

My friend Amelia is probably my most 21st-century friend in that we have never met in person but became good friends after first falling in love with each other (not “one another,” as “each other” is for two people and “one another” is for a group) while commenting on a mutual friend’s Facebook thread about Law & Order: SVU. Through Facebook, we discovered a shared passion for coffee, true crime forums, language, baby names, and politics, and now we frequently chat online about these things.

Her conversational prompt to me this week was: “In four words or fewer (note: not less), what phrases and/or concepts need to go away forever in 2016?”

Amelia: “I’ll start. ‘I don’t eat sugar.’”
Me: “‘It was totes adorbs.’ Unless my husband or I are saying it ironically.”
Amelia: “‘Playing the race card.’”
Me: “‘I literally can’t even.’”
Amelia: “‘Hubs.’”
Me: “I was going to say ‘hubby’!”
Amelia: “‘I don’t need feminism.’”
Me: “‘Anti-vaxxers.’”
Amelia: “‘Truthers of any kind. But especially Sandy Hook truthers.’”
Me: “‘Men’s rights advocates.’”
Amelia: “‘Crossfit evangelists.’”
Me: “‘Vegan Girl Scout cookies.’”
Amelia: “‘Turkey bacon.’”
Me: “‘Names with needless Y’s.’”
Amelia: “‘War on Christmas.’”
Me: “‘Donald Trump.’”
Amelia: “‘I’m so bipolar.’”
Me: “Yes! Or the same with ‘OCD.’”
Amelia: “‘Anything ending in –tard.’”
Me: “‘You’re a grammar Nazi.’ Or anything using ‘Nazi’ in a casual way.”
Amelia: “‘Voicemail.’”
Me: “‘YOLO’ and ‘FOMO.’”
 

We went on like this for a while, and I was so entertained by the whole thing that I wanted to open it up to everyone else so you all can play along.

Please share in the comments below (or email me) what words, concepts, phrases, or grammatical mistakes set your teeth on edge. I promise you I won’t be a grammar Nazi about it – at least not literally.