Friday, March 25, 2005

Expressions that irritate me.

There are certain words and phrases that just REALLY irritate me. They're used all the time, and every time I hear them I just want to smack the speaker

"Irregardless" : A conflation of irrespective and regardless. Common in the northeast, especially Boston, it's not a word, but if it were it would MEAN THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SAY!!!!!!

"I could care less" : No..... you COULDN'T care less genius, if you COULD care less, that means you actually care MORE.

"Needless to Say" : Needless to say? ... So DON'T FUCKING SAY IT!!! (honestly, 'm guilty of this one too).

"Accuracy Vs. Precision" : Most people think they are the sme thing, and use them interchangeably... NOT EVEN CLOSE

Accuracy is the tendency for something to be correct, or to perform to a minimum deviation from the desired result.

In gun terms (where it is most frequently mis-used), accuracy is the ability of the gun to put the bullets where the sights say they are going to go. If the sights are lined up with the X, the bullet hits the X.

Precision is another ball of wax entirely. Precision is the measure of consistency; the ability to preform the same action in the same way every time.

In gun terms precision is the ability of a weapon to group well.

What we want are Accurate shooters, and Precise guns.

An accurate weapon is a nice plus, but that's what adjsutable sights, or kentucky windage are for. The accuracy of the weapon itself isn't all that necessary to good maksmanship if the shooter is well trained and accurate. Precision (both that of the weapon, and the shooter) on the other hand is critical to good marksmanship. If a weapon doesn't put the bullet in the same place if you shoot it at the same place, it doesn't matter how well trained you are, you will not shoot well with that gun.

And finally...

"Proactive" : This is the ultimate no-no to me. It's become such a buzzword, and people have NO ACTUAL IDEA WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.

It's not a word. It's a prefix and a suffix with no root. People assume the root is act, or active, but in the definition used here, active is actually a suffix. If active WERE the root, the prefix pro would make the statement redundant, making the meaning active-active.

Proactive is a pseudo word that people take to mean the oppostive of reactive, but this isn't the case; the opposite of reactive is ACTIVE.

What people really MEAN to say is active , preventative, or pre-emptive, which means acting on existing information or supposition to prevent forseeable undesireable outcomes, or to ensure desireable outcomes.

Whenever someone says "proactive" to me, I know they are full of shit (at least on whatever they are talking about).

UPDATE: One more thing; I despise the current usage of multiple sentences where multiple clauses are more appropriate. Apparently; the proper use of the comma, the semicolon, and the parenthetical expression, have been forgotten by most.

Some have accused me of writing run-on sentences; but this is unjustified. I write sentences that use proper clause structure, and correct punctuation. The semi-colon is the proper punctuation mark for the separation of clauses; commas are the proper punctuation marks for separating phrases or subclauses within a clause; and the parenthtical expression is the proper punctuation set for digressions from, or asides to the main text (as well as annotation of abbreviation, or for references when a document is not footnoted).

(Yes, I deliberately wrote that paragraph so as to use many semicolons and commas as a demonstration)

In colloquial writing (as I most often use), this division is made relatively clear by the length of the pauses that would properly be used in speaking the text (and the parenthicals of course would be used for the asides). Colons are used for ordered lists, or to terminate the preface of lengthly external quotations; semicolons are used for long pauses, and to separate multiple clauses that have comma separated subclauses (if you could substitue " ,and ", or " ,but " , you should probably use a semicolon); commas are used for short pauses, and to separate subclauses within a clause. There are many cases where there is ambiguity in proper punctuation for a sentence, or a clause; and in such situations it is generally accepted (in colloquial writing) that the less formal mark should be used.

I may be dyslexic as all hell; and I think formal grammar is silly, as is the formal and stilted clause structure it enforces ; but I know my vocabulary and punctuation damnit. Formal punctiation serves a useful purpose; it allows you to read aloud in your head as the author intended; and it should be properly observed.