Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today's gripe

I know it's not fair to pick on professional athletes for the language they use; they're paid to be athletic, not articulate. But I just can't help myself.

What really annoys me is what I like to call the sentence softener. Just like the liquid you add at the end of the wash cycle, it's meant to take the harshness out of what you've just said. Here's an example:
A pro football player interviewed after his team had crushed another said, "We dominated them a little bit."

I suppose the player did not want to sound boastful, but criminy!... you can't dominate anything "a little bit." There's nothing at all little about domination. This is just as silly as saying "the defendant murdered his victim a little bit."

9 comments:

Ellipses said...

You are really reaching for things to gripe about a little bit :-)

On the topic of athletics and language... I am perpetually amused by the muffled pseudo swearing that gets picked up by microphones that are far removed from the action... It's kinda funny when you can just barely hear someone say Mother F&%$er as if they were being snuffed out by a pillow... I find that to be hilarious a little bit.

Anonymous said...

My favorite is, "The blaze partially destroyed the house."

Ellipses said...

He's a "little" gay...

Dale Lolley said...

My favorite is when Hines Ward says he "has his hands cut out for him." I'm not even sure what metaphors he's mangling there.

Bill Cowher once said it was "water over the bridge," which is a real problem.

He also said a team was trying to circumcise the rules, which sounds painful.

Anonymous said...

I just bristle each time "disrespected" and "conversating" are used in speech or in the written word.

Park Burroughs said...

We once had a reporter here who was lovable but dense. He was told a number of times not to write "completely destroyed" in his articles because destruction has no degrees - something is either destroyed or it is not. It can be damaged, slightly or severely, but not slightly destroyed.
The very next article this reporter wrote was about a factory fire. He wrote that the building was "completely damaged."

Anonymous said...

How about being a "little pregnant?"

Anonymous said...

The speaker was not an athlete, but the best mixed metaphor I ever heard was so good, the entire room of six people fell silent in awe:

"We're like five spokes on a wheel, and we're all trying to get you to come over to our side of the boat."

donnab1lew said...

the oxi moron statements are not as bad as the improper english. if you are a professional athelete, pay to have english lessons.