Main You Keep Using That Word Discussion

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06:03:09 PM Dec 12th 2014
Yet another usage, this time regarding Logical arguments:

Many people use "All X are not Y" when they really mean "Not all X are Y". The latter allows for the possibility for some X to be Y;note  the former does not.
04:52:14 PM Feb 25th 2014
I found this under Very Pedantic:

  • Sorcerer is a word which at its roots means caster of lots. It does not mean witchcraft or spellcasting. Furthermore, the practice of casting lots is praised in the ancient Hebrew Old Testament.

Is this correct? The only information I could find on the word's etymology is that is has to do with oracles, but nothing as specific as what the example says.
12:37:06 PM Sep 7th 2012
I think the following entry should be added to either Moderately Pedantic, due to Wiktionary citing such uses as "often used as uncountable, though such use is proscribed," that is: does not have a plural form and is not recommended, respectively:

Media: Originally the plural of medium, in any usage, it is now commonly referred to as either the institutional complex that publishes works of any sort by any means of delivery (e.g. "the mainstream media", "the entertainment media", etc.) or a subset of this complex devoted to event journalism. The latter is also called "the press", itself derived from the instrument (printing press) that produces the print medium.

The reason why I want to add this is that I have seen references to multiple forms of publishing referred to as "mediums" in This Very Wiki.
05:49:14 PM Jun 25th 2012
Someone help me define the difference between ethnicity and nationality. I'm not a very good writer so I can't put it in words but I know there's a difference between the two and how they have been historically used interchangeably but I hope someone can do a better job than I can.
01:04:32 PM Aug 4th 2012
Ethnicity would be saying that I'm Caucasian, and nationality would be saying that I'm American. You can be black (ethnicity) and American (nationality), or Indian and American, or Caucasian and African, or Asian and German. Hope that helps.
11:43:35 PM May 8th 2012
I am beginning to think "inception" should go into one of these. After all, inception =/= recursion.
07:24:31 PM Nov 6th 2011
edited by KentAllard
A literary cycle that consists of four works is not a quadrilogy - it's a tetralogy. Quattuor is four in LATIN, while logos is a Greek word. Similarly, there are no duologies - it's called a dilogy.
04:08:06 AM Sep 2nd 2011
"Hypocrisy" is often mis-spelled. "Hippocracy" would mean "Rule by horses." I like that.
07:15:55 AM Sep 2nd 2011
On the Internet in particular, it's often "hypocracy" — which I'm pretty sure would be "Rule by the inadequate". Even better.
04:03:52 AM Sep 2nd 2011
Re "I"/"me" distinction. A neat example is "You like her more than I" vs "You like her more than me."

03:02:15 PM Jul 31st 2011
I don't understand the reference to MST3K as related to "riff". The meanings of riffing in MST3K is usually not "a repeated instrumental melody line in a song" but rather "a clever or witty remark", which is unrelated to the musical meaning of "riff"
07:27:21 PM Jun 6th 2011
edited by Anaheyla
Right, so the entry on "unique" has devolved into Thread Mode.

* Similarly to the above, unique is often used as a substitute for the word "special" or "unusual" when its actual definition is "one-of-a-kind" (i.e. Not just rare but totally singular). This has led rise to common use of the phrase "very unique" which is meaningless when using the original definition, and again converts a word once designed to avoid hyperbole into another hyperbole...
** Since no two objects have the same physical location or molecular structure (or else they would be one object) either everything is unique and the word has no meaningful descriptive use, or we must acknowledge that there are degrees of uniqueness. For example, a man who has an identical twin is unique, in that he has his own memories, name, fingerprints, etc. However, he is less unique than someone who does not have an identical twin, in that he has identical DNA and (most likely) appearance to his twin brother. If Frank is the only left-handed spin bowler ever to have climbed Mount Everest, he's unique. If Joe is the only right-handed spin bowler ever to climbed Mount Everest and also the only Black man ever to have been inducted in to the KKK sharpshooters' hall of fame, he's unique in more ways than Frank, and hence, more unique.
** But "unique" doesn't mean "not having a duplicate that is exactly identical in every way"; it means "one of a kind". The "kind" could be defined in any way. For example, "Gee, I really like your handwritten and illustrated original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I'd like to get one myself; too bad it's unique." "No, it's not unique. There are seven of them." "Hurray! To the auction house!" In this case, the "kind" is "original copies of the book", so it's correct to say that it's not unique. If the "kind" under discussion were "original copies with moonstone jewelling" then it would indeed be unique. One can talk about different "kinds", but there cannot be degrees of uniqueness, because a given kind either has exactly one member or it doesn't.
*** In that case, could something be "more unique" by being unique within a more precise kind?
*** No, no it cannot. You could say it is 'more notably unique', but 'unique' is the maximum level of unusualness.
** Y'all Fail Metaphysics Forever. "Unique" means "only currently extant member of its class" or "only thing (or member of its class) to have a particular trait." It is in this latter sense that we say Shakespeare was a unique artist—that is, the only artist with certain of his traits—although he was apparently almost aggressively normal taken all-in-all.
** Similarly, there's no such thing as "one of the only". Either it's one of many, or it's the only. It can't be both.
** Merriam Webster disagrees, saying only can mean "few" as in "one of the only / few"
*** Right, that's a little trick of sentence structure, as "only" could refer to the "only" group of something. An item from that group could then be described with "one of the only...".

What can we take out so as to make it helpful but not just people going NU-UH! at eachother over and over.
01:58:30 PM Jun 1st 2011
Rewording this whole bit:

* A form of Eagleland Osmosis: somewhere a Finnish English teacher is crying, because the direct equivalents for "epic" and "pathetic" actually mean "narrative" (and not "larger than life"), and "with pathos" (not "contemptible"). Misuse of these two words is seen every day.
** These are somewhat understandable. Epics are "larger-than-life narratives", so calling something "epic" is to compare it to the scale of something from an epic narrative. Which is meaningless if one doesn't know about epic narratives. And the slang use of "pathetic" is more "sad" than "contemptible", which is still within definition.
** 'Pathetic' means 'evoking pity or compassion' (and thus refers to emotional pain which is what the Greek word 'pathos' roughly means). Considering something pathetic contemptible may indicate lack of empathy.

Okay, first of all, I can't tell exactly what's going on with the first example.

At first blush, it strongly comes off as someone who's trying to bash Americans in the form of "dirty American culture is polluting my own!" Sort of like people who say "proper" English is British English, and that anything American is an awful corruption, no matter what it is.

However, they struck out "Finnish." So what's going on here? Is the troper talking about the slangification of the word "epic" in the English language, or are they talking about Finnish people applying English slang to Finnish equivalents?

The kicker is, I don't think it was American culture that caused "epic" to become the overused slang it is now. Rather, it was general English-speaking internet culture, namely that of World of Warcraft's player base, and certain other places that best not be named. Though World of Warcraft is an American-made game, its player base is truly global.

The part about "pathetic," as explained by another troper who didn't edit the original example but instead replied to it, isn't even correct anyway (if the original troper was complaining about its use in English at least).

So, I'm removing that whole spiel out and rewriting the part about "epic."
09:41:29 PM May 26th 2011
edited by poqwuk
Two points about 'Sentient/Sapient':

  • The page is just plain wrong to construe 'sapience' as the capacity for judgment or intelligence. Sapience is wisdom or sagacity: i.e., an exceptionally high level of judgment or intelligence found only in the wise. The OED says the word has come to be mainly used ironically, for 'would-be wisdom'.

  • Is it really 'Very Pedantic' to use 'sentience' for low-level animal experience? In my experience in academia, everyone but everyone uses the word this way. The only time I ever hear people use it for anything else is on the Internet, especially when sci-fi enthusiasts are talking about sentient robots and the like.
05:04:24 PM Apr 23rd 2011
Does anyone else think we should remove the "Very Pedantic" section? Most of the examples given have not been used in that way for centuries, meaning that the pedants are committing the etymological fallacy. If everybody except the pedants uses a word in a particular manner, then I think that the "incorrect" usage is a secondary and just as correct definition.
10:12:51 AM Jun 2nd 2011
edited by poppyshock
That is why they are "very pedantic."
06:17:57 AM Feb 24th 2011
The word "gambit" in Chess also counts as an example. I'm just not sure how to phrase it, or how pedantic it is. :X
05:04:05 PM Feb 15th 2011
Is it just me or are all the folders not working?
10:26:48 AM Feb 20th 2011
edited by SaladViking
It's not just you. I tried to fix them, but it's not working.... Is there anyone here whose folders are working?

EDIT: They're working again (although I didn't do anything to them).
05:00:55 PM Jan 5th 2011
Is there a reason we have this? Like, at all? This is nothing but bitter pedantry - and it has nothing to do with tropes or media!
05:29:22 PM Jan 5th 2011
Because it's awesome.
05:40:15 PM Dec 25th 2010
edited by Tamfang
When it comes to intelligence tests, people use expressions such as measuring IQ. But that's a bit like saying that you're measuring the miles per hour of a car. You're not measuring its miles per hour, you're measuring its speed, and miles per hour is simply the unit....

This seems to say that the proper usage would be "My g factor is 123 intelligence quotients," which *ahem* feels not quite right to me.
01:33:18 PM Oct 24th 2010
Where in hell do people understand "decadence" to mean "of or a state of superiority or high quality"?? I've never seen anyone use the term in such a way, and the fact that it's put in the "pedantic" category is outright disturbing to me. I would never expect anyone I talk to to consider decadence being a good thing.
11:14:37 AM Oct 30th 2010
I would never expect anyone I talk to to consider decadence being a good thing.

Then you are blessed and lucky. Pray for us.

You have never heard a government spin-doctor go on and on and on about the vital necessity of paying huge boni to bankers and making us mortals unemployed. Spin doctors don't actually use the word "decadence", but when they recite the moral superiority of our Lords and Masters, the weasel-words they use come close enough to the definition.

"Decadent" = "Decaying" and pedantically, it should only be used in hindsight. Most pre-revolutionary Russian aristocrats behaved the same way as most pre-revolutionary French aristocrats. And with 20-20 hindsight, we know those societies were decaying.
05:36:07 PM Dec 25th 2010
edited by Tamfang
Dagobite,  * are you saying that the spin doctors misuse a word without using it?
10:10:58 AM Jun 2nd 2011
Dagobite, have you never heard of a dessert (especially chocolate) as being "decadent," in a similar way as describing a dessert as "sinful"? Of course, both terms are ironic in that the food in question is so delicious (good) that the person feels "guilty" for eating it.
10:45:32 PM Sep 29th 2010
"Manic-depression does not mean "very depressed"..."

Huh? All of the other entries for this trope are relevant, but NO ONE has ever thought that "manic-depression" means "very depressed." That has literally never happened. What the hell is this person talking about? I'm being completely serious; in my 25+ years on this earth I have never met nor heard of anyone who thinks that means "very depressed."

Conclusion: that troper is making shit up.
10:06:50 PM Sep 17th 2010
edited by
This needs to be re-written (I'll do it myself unless anyone objects in the next day or so):

  • America is not a diminituve for United States of America as many happen to think, its actually the name of a continent or supercontinent (Your Mileage May Vary) composed of north America and south America (which are thought of as continents in the US dispite having no major geopolitical barrier between them as central America is a seamless well-blended link between them). I quote wikipedia on here "The earliest known use of the name America for this landmass dates from April 25, 1507, where it was used for what is now known as south America. It first appears on a small globe map with twelve time zones, together with the largest wall map made to date, both created by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in France" and add this address; for the similiar mistake involving the demonym for someone from the United States.
    • Well yes and no. "America" is useful shorthand, and anyway, what else are you supposed to call a resident or citizen of the United States without doing terrible, terrible things to the English language?
      • A US citizen/resident?
      • Sounds kinda technical/legalistic. How do you say, "I think the guy was an American" or "That's un-American!"?
      • This rates little debate because everyone on the continent prefers to associate themselves by the name of their own country. But it does leave us without clear options in the rare cases we need to refer to all of us together. Trans-American? Pan-American?

1) "America" IS a diminutive for the United States of America in the English language. 2) It's true that there is dispute over whether the Americas are (is?) one or two continents, but it's not just the U.S. who treats them as separate continents. 3) The concept of continents is much more geographic than geopolitical. 4) The Isthmus of Panama, the Panama Canal, and the Panamanian-Colombian border ARE major geopolitical barriers (and at least the Isthmus is a major geographic one as well). See also the Isthmus of Suez and the Suez Canal for a similar potential division between two continents. 5) "[...]for the similiar[sic] mistake involving the demonym for someone from the United States." That demonym is NOT a mistake; see the previous statement over America, as well as the Wikipedia article you referenced.
05:32:41 PM Dec 25th 2010
"Diminutive" is clearly wrong; a diminutive is a word for a small whatsit, like droplet, or (by extension) an affectionate form like doggie.
02:32:32 PM Jun 17th 2010
Sex/Gender: The distinction between sex and gender is lost on most people. The sexes (male and female) are the two divisions in which many organisms are placed, based upon their reproductive role. The genders (masculine and feminine) refer to social characteristics (such as behavioral norms) associated with males and females, respectively. To illustrate: facial hair is a male characteristic, while courage is a masculine characteristic in many cultures.

This isn't strictly correct gender can mean the social characteristic part, but using it to mean the sex of an individual falls squarely in the definition of gender.

03:54:07 PM Jun 9th 2010
edited by SantosL.Halper
Am I the only one who feels that the entry on "titular" sounds a bit whiney? That one entry seems in need of a rewrite.
03:18:33 PM Jul 7th 2010
Fixed it a little. At the very least removed the initial whiny sentence.
05:09:21 PM Jun 6th 2010
edited by Dalek
We have a lot of words that don't belong. Here is a very brief list:

For example: "The word work (as a noun) has many meanings in common usage, including something taking effort to produce, some form of artistic production or a job. However, in physics, 'work' means the amount of energy transferred by a force moving an object. This definition is much less known, and much less used." Okay... and no one misuses it. Not-as-obscure-as-you-think definitions do not count as misuse.

and another: "Similar thing with radical. It's derived from Latin "radix", meaning "root", and doesn't mean "extremist"." Okay, but the word radical does mean does mean drastic and can be extremist. Root words are unimportant, people!

And one more: "Diva is Italian for "goddess," but is usually used in English to mean "arrogant show-biz personality" of either the male or female kind." So what? The word has root in a different language... almost all words in English are,

There are too many like this. Hell, "You Keep Using That Word" is a better example than most of these.
08:54:43 PM Jul 24th 2010
Perhaps we should add an entry explaning the difference between etymology and meaning?
02:19:33 PM Jun 1st 2010
Who decides what's pedantic and what isn't?! For instance, I'm going to change the psychological ones (antisocial and schizophrenic) from Very Pedantic to Less Pedantic, since "usage does not match current primary definition". On the other hand, considering how weird the Romeo and Juliet one is, I'll move it from Less Pedantic to Very Pedantic, considering "most won't notice, few who notice will care". I mean, have you ever heard of that one before? I haven't, and I've heard the psychology complaints a lot. It's not even "widely-contested", nobody talks about it.
12:47:20 AM May 20th 2010
edited by Herbarius
Agoraphobia: I Thought It Meant the polar opposite of claustrophobia, i.e. a fear of large, open areas.

Also: "Schizophrenia: Includes psychosis." Isn't Schizophrenia one distinct type of psychosis? So it's the other way 'round, "psychosis includes Schizophrenia"
02:14:49 PM Jun 1st 2010
Agoraphobia means "fear of the marketplace". It is often used to mean a fear of open areas, but it's really the people there (or lack of a way to go home and/or hide if they want to), not the openness. Agoraphobics are usually worried about having a panic attack or some medical problem like throwing up or just being surrounded by people and not being able to escape, at least without calling attention to themselves. In fact, it's very similar to claustrophobia — a person with either phobia could be terrified of being unable to get out of a place.

Yes, schizophrenia is a type of psychosis. It also includes other things besides psychosis, but I would put it your way around.
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