Miscellaneous usage gripes

Language changes, but usages that don’t make logical sense bother me. Here are some of my pet peeves (and why would anyone have a peeve for a pet?):

Rising to a crescendo. A crescendo is an increase, usually in the volume of a musical piece.

A is exponentially greater than B. An exponential curve is one where the y value is a number raised to the x value (or is a linear function of a number raised to a linear function of the x value). It’s known for its rapid growth. But any positive number A that’s greater than positive number B is B raised to some power. Update: Not strictly true. 1 to any power is just 1. Come on, people, you’re supposed to catch me at these things!

Meteoric rise. Meteors fall.

Quantum leap. A quantum leap is the smallest possible amount of change.

Epithets ending in “phobia.” Phobia is persistent fear without a rational cause. Used to score points against an opponent, it’s psychologizing. If you want to say someone is hostile or bigoted, say that. Or at least be consistent and say that opposition to a high-rise development is “acrophobia.”

Substituted with. This generally means “substituted for, or replaced with, I’m not sure which and it doesn’t matter.”

Home signs reading “The [last name]’s.” I assume it’s the home of the clan head, especially if the name sounds Scottish.

Déjà vu all over again. This was funny once, but not when I see “Déjà vu all over again” again and again.

Posted in General. Tags: . Comments Off on Miscellaneous usage gripes