Five Linguistic Oddities in the Media

By Maeve Maddox

Here are five usages that captured my attention recently.
aye and yeaBoth aye [pronounced “I”] and yea [pronounced “yay”] imply “yes.” Antiquated in Standard American English, they still exist in some English dialects and are retained in the formal language of ballot. The etymology of aye is unpredictable, but yea was a kind of yes prior to 1600.
As I viewed the verification of the most current Supreme Court justice, I heard the senators respond by saying either Aye or No. No one said Yea or Nay. When the votes had actually been counted, I waited for the chairman to say, “the Ayes have it,” but he dissatisfied me.
boar n. The male of the swine, whether wild or tame
I did a double-take when I read this in the New York Times on 20 October 2020:
The euthanizing of a boar and her six piglets has excited fury in Rome.
The woman of the swine is referred to as a plant (rhymes with cow).
reign and reinThe words are noticable the same, but have various uses.
to rule (verb): of an individual: to hold or work out the sovereign power or authority in a monarchical state; to rule or govern as a monarch
to rein (verb): to connect (a horse) to something by the reins.
to control (verb phrase): to keep under control, restrain.
Reign is typically substituted for rein in the idiom “to give totally free rein,” expert writers and editors should understand the distinction. Here is a mix-up from a recent concern of Time Magazine:
The last hope, says Black, is that [he] will reign himself in the final 2 weeks.
objectively and objectionablyobjectively (adverb): without being affected by individual sensations or opinions; in an unbiased or detached mannerobjectionably (adverb): in an objectionable way.
Of these 2 words, objectively remains in frequent use. The fraz.it site raises 1,124 sentences with it, but produces not one example for objectionably.
This sentence from a report issued by the Texas Rangers in connection with the killing of Jonathan Price has appeared unaltered in numerous news sources:
The preliminary examination suggests that the actions of Officer Lucas were not objectionably reasonable.
The first time I read it, I thought it meant the officers actions had actually been found to be affordable, that there was nothing to object to. As I check out further, I discovered that the opposite held true. Because his actions had been influenced by something other than objectivity, the Rangers charged Lucas with murder. The author of the report could have merely written “the actions were not affordable.” No intensifier was required. Possibly the author was grabbing objectively.
to provide (somebody) pauseThis typical idiom suggests, “to cause (somebody) to think and stop about something thoroughly or to have doubts about something.”
This is what a local TV commentator stated about somebody in the news:
… he has time out about doing so this year.
The usual verb in this idiom is provide. Here are some examples of the expression used with both prepositional expressions and indirect items:

The grounds on which those efforts are stated to be based, however, provide us stop briefly.
Chiles incumbent left hopes the Jara and Frei Montalva cases provide voters stop briefly.
That they are not utilized should provide you pause for idea, why are they not utilized?
The research study must offer pause to anybody addicted to inbound texts and tweets.
What took place next ought to give time out to any person with an ounce of compassion.
The very first is not much of a deterrent, but the second ought to provide Apple time out.

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As I viewed the confirmation of the most current Supreme Court justice, I heard the senators react by stating either Aye or No. No one said Yea or Nay. When the votes had actually been counted, I waited for the chairman to say, “the Ayes have it,” but he dissatisfied me. The first time I read it, I thought it meant the officers actions had actually been found to be reasonable, that there was nothing to object to. The Rangers charged Lucas with murder since his actions had actually been influenced by something other than objectivity.

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