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April 04, 2013

Icky And Odd Words

Are there some words that you find confusing? Annoying? Distasteful?

Yes, there are some words that we just don't like, or we may not like...

...how they are used.

Some words have an unappealing - or even repulsive - sound or have some strange, almost subconscious, resonance and make us feel awkward or uncomfortable.

Here's an article that explores some of these words and why they impact us the way they do - http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/04/02/hate_moist_crevice_fudge_loaf_weigh_in_with_your_word_aversions.html.

Who knows why, or where our aversion comes from, but many of us have a gut-level revulsion at certain words - even common names; David and Melissa are just a few mentioned in the article.

The word 'moist' grosses out many of my students; but 'cigarette'?

And then there are the perfectly good words that are just used incorrectly - and awkwardly.

Here's an article with a further explanation and examples - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/30/those-irritating-verbs-as-nouns/.

Using verbs as nouns just plain sounds clunky - using them this way will also annoy any English teachers. Use words (mostly) the way they were intended; you'll make more sense and you'll sound a lot smarter!

Be sure to send us any words or phrases that puzzle you, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing, constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


Also: If you'd like to have Morf visit your school or program this summer, you can contact him at mmorf(at)mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at April 4, 2013 11:41 AM


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