Dear Teenager, Young Person and Trendy Parent,
I am writing to express my disappointment/frustration/anger/hysterical rage (depending what frame of mind I’m in) at your bastardisation of the English Language.
I could probably write a book on the subject, but here I shall limit myself to just three of your crimes against the mother tongue.
Firstly, I am sick to death of hearing that you or your children are going to ‘Uni’. Uni-what for goodness sake? Are you going to unicycle to Basingstoke and back? Unilaterally disarm the indigenous population of the Isle of Skye? Unicorn husbandry classes on a Thursday evening?
Tell me; what is wrong with saying ‘University’? Are there too many syllables for you, perhaps? Afraid to waste precious energy on the extra three? Or maybe you have an adversity to ‘versity’?
Whatever your reason, you are cheapening the whole experience.
Secondly, I can’t abide your incorrect use of the word ‘literally’. Do you have any idea as to its meaning? If not, you would be well-advised to consult a dictionary in order to acquaint yourself with the definition.
I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve informed me that you ‘literally died’ when something of little consequence happened. Unless you were conversing with me from beyond the grave – which I very much doubt – you did most certainly not literally die.
Finally, your penchant for the word ‘like’ makes me cringe. “I like, phoned her,” you might say. What do you mean? How does one like phone someone? Do you mime the procedure? Do you attempt the operation with two yoghurt cartons and a piece of string?
Forgive me if I am mistaken in this matter. It occurs to me that you might be referring to your feelings regarding phoning somebody. However, if you enjoyed the experience of communicating in the aforementioned way, you should say “I liked phoning her,” rather than “I like, phoned her.”
Our language is to be treasured. It is our duty to employ it correctly and I shall be writing to the Minister of Arts and Culture to suggest on-the-spot fines for blatant disregard of its appropriate usage.
P E Dantic