'The word pedants' top 10 | It's specific, not Pacific...' blog discussion.

edited 4 April 2011 at 1:13PM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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  • RakshaRaksha Forumite
    4.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture
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    chrismbt wrote: »
    By the way, "cheap at half the price" makes no sense!

    I didn't think it was supposed to, it was a 'cheaky chappy on the markets' way of saying you were getting a bargain
    Please forgive me if my comments seem abrupt or my questions have obvious answers, I have a mental health condition which affects my ability to see things as others might.
  • maltpressmaltpress Forumite
    10 Posts
    MoneySaving Newbie
    ScarletBea wrote: »
    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. To decimate is to reduce drastically, not just 10%, it's not linked to the 'decimal system'.

    It is - to decimate originally meant to kill one in ten people, used as a punishment for mutinous army units:

    "A unit selected for punishment by decimation was divided into groups of ten; each group drew lots (Sortition), and the soldier on whom the lot fell was executed by his nine comrades, often by stoning or clubbing."

    Pretty much any word with the Latin root "Deci-" refers to multiples of ten (i.e. decimals). You're right, though, the modern (OED) meaning is "to reduce drastically".
  • I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. The term "decimate" IS linked to the number 10. The origins of the word stem from the Roman times where it was used to instill disciplineand "encourage" performance by killing every tenth person in a poorly performing legion.


    An example, if one were needed, of how lax use of a phrase or term leads to a general acceptance of inaccuracy, and hence the further dilution of standards.

    It has become accepted that decimate means something other than it in fact does.

    The whole point of this thread and Martin's blog summed up in one post.
    Getting fit for 2013 - Starting weight 10.1.13 88.1kg
    Weight 27.3.13 79.1kg :( weight 2.4.13 79.9kg Weight 24.4.13 77.8kg. 4.6.13 76kg

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  • NiemandNiemand Forumite
    117 Posts
    ScarletBea wrote: »
    I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with you. To decimate is to reduce drastically, not just 10%, it's not linked to the 'decimal system'.

    To decimate is to reduce by one tenth. It is related to the word decimus which means 'one tenth'. It goes back to the days when each tenth soldier was selected and killed as punishment. The word has become misused by people to mean 'a great number or proportion of' but that belies the clue in the word, i.e., dec, which indicates a tenth.
    Niemand
  • Can I just say, its nice to be agreed with for once!! :D
    Getting fit for 2013 - Starting weight 10.1.13 88.1kg
    Weight 27.3.13 79.1kg :( weight 2.4.13 79.9kg Weight 24.4.13 77.8kg. 4.6.13 76kg

    BSC member 331
  • I care a great deal about the English language. I absolutely hate people sending "invites". Invite is a verb - you may wish to invite me to an event but in order to do so, you will need to send me an invitation!
  • I find all misuse of language irritating, but surely it's the sounds coming out of the younger generations mouths too, they all sound like morons or rich white kids from the Ghettos of New York. Talk properly, learn how to use the language we are blessed with! I blame the parents and the teachers for not picking up on this kind of thing.

    PS: Yes I am a parent, thankfully my children are too young to have learnt this "idiot-speak" - I am hoping that they will speak the Queen's English properly!
  • NiemandNiemand Forumite
    117 Posts
    chrismbt wrote: »
    By the way, "cheap at half the price" makes no sense!

    It should be "Cheap at twice the price." Somehow, the sentence you quote seems common, and, as you say, meaningless.
    Niemand
  • pebe01pebe01 Forumite
    2 Posts
    I believe that popular television programme script writers have a responsibility along with the actors that play the characters have a responsibility to capp the incorrect language delivered to today’s audiences. Whether you are an adult, a teenager or a child you will be directly influenced by language whether you like it or not. I witness the affect broadcasting has on modern society both on television and radio phone calls as well as the people I am forced to listen to daily in the schools I correctly work in. The adults are just as bad as the teenagers if not worse. The fact that a television programme may be set in a district of the country that speak with a particular tongue is irreverent. A regional accent can still be portrayed without lapsing on the language that is being delivered. A cockney for example can stay 'Nothing' and still be recognised as one without the need to say 'Nothink'. Other examples revolve around thing and think also but the example that I would most like to express extreme hatred for is arkse. I couldn't begin to spell it but I believe what was intended was ask.
  • lmuk2k wrote: »
    OK, as we're being pedantic, my pet hate is customers asking the person serving them in a shop or bar "can I get a coffee please?" (or whatever it is that you want them to pass over from their side of the counter.)

    "Can I have a coffee please?" is now pretty rare.

    You lightweight! Or are they attempting to purchase a coffee from Precious Little's kiosk? "'Can' I" indeed!!!
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