Some people use language to their advantage, and others, well, they use it AND abuse it. Most writers are adamant about checking spelling and grammar, but folks in every day life generally don’t. I don’t expect everyone to speak like an English scholar, BUT don’t use words if you don’t know what they mean and don’t use them out of context!
Some people use words to impress other people, which is fine, but again, read the above. We all use slang with our friends and family, but when it’s time to go to a job interview, we “code switch”. That special time in our lives when we speak like Ms. Prudehome from that episode of the Jefferson’s (Y’all know what I’m talkin’ ’bout) ;*)
Anyhoo, I had such an incident a couple of years back at a friend’s wedding. (Note to friends: don’t try to guess which friend’s wedding because I have gone to several!) There was an older lady who came to sit in the pew in front of my guests and I that accompanied me to said wedding.
Anyway, the lady proceeded to ask this question: ” ‘Scuse me..” (I must interrupt here. She did not mispronounce excuse. That was her dialect. I live in South Carolina and that IS a word!! It just is. Now I’ll continue…) The lady said, ” ‘Scuse me, are these seats observed?” I wanted to say, “Yes, they’re observed! Aren’t you looking at them?” I looked around, hoping someone else would answer her. I was holding onto my laughter harder than a fat plumber holding onto his jeans. She asked the question AGAIN, so I said quite gingerly, “No ma’am, no one is sitting there.”
Now, I hope I don’t go to hell for the above, but hey, we all do something that would potentially piss someone off. The older lady meant to say, “Are these seats reserved?” God, I hope everyone reading this knows that! :*) Now, she could have just as easily asked, “Are these seats taken?,” or “Is someone sitting here?” She wanted to use a larger word but was unable to effectively.
So, my lesson for today is, DON’T USE WORDS IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN!! If you do, you’ll be personally responsible for causing Noah Webster, American lexicographer, to have night terrors in his grave!!! Thank you. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming!