Linguistic Peeves

Today for the second time, I heard some one say, “In lieu of…” instead of “In light of…”.

Really.

This is baffling to me, because it makes no sense. “In light of…” means “Considering…” while “In lieu of…” means “Instead of…”

I keep hearing people say (and seeing people write) “We need to flush out…” when they mean, “We need to flesh out…”

When I first heard some one say, “We need to flush out parts of this document” I laughed because I thought they were politely saying the document was a piece of crap.

Then, I realized that they meant “flesh out” because they thought the document was “skeletal,” incomplete.

Then, I realized they were making a certain amount of sense, if you thought of the missing parts as needing to be flushed out of hiding.

I twice heard some one say, “…the rest is mute.” when they really meant, “…the rest is moot.” This also makes a certain amount of sense: if something is moot, then it is of little enough value not to matter. If something is mute, then it is silent. It is being considered quiet enough not to matter. Try saying “…the rest is mote” meaning it is small enough not to matter!

I know this makes me seem like a geek, but what about the people who keep trying to use the word “lieu” in a sentence?

Say this out loud: “In lieu of this house, toilet overflowing.”

Tags: Humor, Language

Updated at: 2 March 2008 12:03 AM