Get Your Über On, and Other Irritating Idioms

I got an e-mail yesterday from a company that sells craft supplies.  The subject line read:

“Get Your Craft On.”

I deleted the e-mail with quick contempt because it reminded me of how very much I dislike the overused call to action to “get my (fill-in-the-blank) on.”   Part of the problem is that there are so many activities one can “get on.”

I'm all about* earth-friendly, it's the expression I can do without.

Get your groove on
Get your freak on
Get your game on
Get your geek on
Get your praise on
Get your blaze on
Get your funk on
Get your green on

It’s everywhere, and I’m sure you could add to the list.  Hey, I could ask you to “Get your list on,” or “Get your get on … on.”  Hmm, maybe not.

At first I didn’t mind the expression.  It was cute and a little bit funky, but driving past a store-front church one day, the message-bearing roadside marquee read, “Come in and Get your God on.”  Without passing judgment, I can say that one ruined it for me.

It’s not just the getting on of things that bothers me.  Über bothers me, too.  In fact, it über bothers me.  I stopped subscribing to Entertainment Weekly because they über-use it at least once in every issue.  I grind my teeth when I hear it, but I’m not gonna go there, which is another idiom to add to the list.

My friend Keith hates the expression, “It is what it is,”  and I agree with him on that.  That’s the thing about Keith, he’s good people.  Oh! I don’t like that one either.  How can one person be good people?  It just doesn’t make sense!

Seriously, though, it’s all good.  Ouch, that’s another stinker.

The more I think about it, the more I come up with:

  • Good to go
  • Git r done
  • Have a good one
  • Not so much (Loved that when I first heard it, but now … not so much)

I’m giving myself a headache with all these cliches, and there’s only one thing that takes care of headaches: Retail therapy, (yep, that’s one), so, I’m going to go get my shop on, but first, I’m going to go get my shoes on.

Grammar Watch is an occasional series about grammar peeves, abuses, giggles, and rants.  Email me with any topics you’d like to see included here.

Resources:  The Daily Post.

* That’s another one

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Nouns Get Verbed and Language Evolves

About a year ago, a co-worker I hadn’t seen in more than a decade friended me on Facebook.  When she first messaged me, her note was a  bit sheepish.  Not because we hadn’t stayed in touch, but because we had worked together as newspaper copy editors, and she wasn’t completely comfortable reintroducing herself by using “friend” as a verb.

“I’m a little embarrassed to get back in touch by verbing you with a noun,” she wrote. “But C’est la Facebook.”

She’s so clever!

I hadn’t realized until reading her note how often I use friend and other nouns as verbs.   Verbing is not a new trend, but it seems more common than ever.  I sometimes find it irritating, but mostly when it’s used in business-speak.  For example, a former manager never said we would talk about something, he said we’d dialogue it. That’s a little irritating, no?

For some interesting insight on verbing, read  YOU’VE BEEN VERBED by Anthony Gardner from More Intelligent Life.

Grammar Watch is an occasional series about grammar peeves, abuses, giggles, and rants.  Email me with any topics you’d like to see included here.

Resources:  Intelligent Life Magazine, Anthony Gardner, Facebook, The Daily Post.

“Suspicious” Quotation Marks: Funny? Mostly!

I’ve never really told anyone this, but I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to grammar and punctuation.  I usually don’t correct grammatical mistakes, I try not to be too critical of people who say “yous” instead of  “you,” and I don’t walk around with a Sharpie correcting improperly placed apostrophes (even though I want to).  Sometimes these mistakes bother me, and sometimes they just make me laugh.

Take suspicious quotation marks, I don’t know where the The Employees Must “Wash Hands” picture originated, but it’s all over the internet, and when I saw it I laughed out loud.  Then I cringed a little bit, hoping the sign wasn’t posted in a “restaurant.” (<–Deliberate misuse.)

Excessive use of quotation marks AND sarcasm.

The first pair of suspicious quote marks  I remember was on an insurance company sign on the street where I grew up.  The sign read:

“Insurance That’s “Affordable”

Even as a kid I used to roll my eyes at that.

Bethany Keeley has built a mini media empire around the offending punctuation.  The “Blog” of Unnecessary Quotation Marks is a collection of pictures submitted by readers, accompanied by Keeley’s hilarious comments.

With a disclaimer like that, no wonder the jar's empty!

She compiled the best of the unnecessary into “The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks,” which publisher Chronicle Books calls, “a smarty-pants guide, “perfect” for desperate grammarians, habitual air quoters, and anyone who appreciates a good laugh.”

If you can’t wait to pick up the book, visit the Facebook group, Quotation Mark Hunters, which is where I found these pictures, and spent far too much time surfing and laughing.

I hope you’ll have a good laugh too, and maybe it will make you think twice before using quotation marks “willy-nilly.”

For clarification on the proper use and single vs. double quotation marks, and just about any other grammar question, visit Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips.

Grammar Watch is an occasional series about grammar peeves, abuses, giggles, and rants.  Email me with any topics you’d like to see included here.

Resources:  The Daily Post.