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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Supposably Intelligent

Imagine you're having a very interesting conversation with "Hank the Carpenter" at a local dive.
The beer is cold, and the mood is relaxed, but not drunken, and the talk is good. "Hank The Carpenter" has made several interesting comments to you as you sit on your bar stool, listening intently. Then "Hank The Carpenter" says it, "Supposably," as in "Supposably" the universe is 6000 years old or something." It seems that anything "Hank The Damn Carpenter" would say after this point will deserve significantly less consideration. Hearing someone mangle a word into "supposably" is like hearing screeching on a chalkboard, glass shattering, or a scratched record.  I've already blogged about "irregardless," so don't get me started.

A friend of mine mentioned that she and her cousin discussed those very offenders. Those words that "literary gods" deem unworthy of the universal lexicon are not only noticed and castigated by myself. They also correctly noted the internet and instant messaging continues to shit on the written world in general and English in particular. Teachers should immediately fail formal papers containing the webspeak of "lol" or "u" where "you" should be. "K" instead of "okay," and "4" instead of four... Well, I can't pretend I care about the last two examples too much. I guess I'm beating a dead horse here: It's no secret that Facebook wreaks havoc on the English language. In the meantime,  I'll be on the lookout for particularly wonderful misspellings to get angry at. Clearly,I'm like your side show, and you can enjoy my anger.

               stimulating myself with private humor,



  1. I was subbing in a high school not too long ago. While sitting in the teacher's lounge, I started chatting with one of the English teachers. I sub in that school often, and I know her to be a VERY good teacher, and exceptionally knowledgeable in her subject.
    As the topic turned to the world of academia, I started to get nervous. What could I, someone who has never had his own classroom, possibly have to say to an expert in the field? I tried really hard to, at the very least, NOT sound stupid, especially since she knew that I minored in English, and am also certified to teach it.
    I don't remember much about the conversation other than at some point I said the word "irregardless." I don't know why. It isn't a word I ever use. In fact, I'm one of those people who mentally judge others for saying it. Of course, there was no taking the word back. What's said was said.
    She didn't say anything, she's way too classy for that. I know that in her eyes, in that moment, I became, "just another stupid sub."

    1. We have all sinned. You must make contrition and move on. I accept you as one of us, the enlightened.

  2. I am disinclined to blame the Internet for screwing up the English language. Long before the Internet, many of these transgressions were simply made in speech, rather than written word. It seems many of us have forgotten the difference between formal and informal communication.

  3. I actually came across this blog while googling the word "supposably" because someone told me that it was actually a real word (despite the squiggly red line that appears under it when I type it) and I didn't believe him. Apparently, however, it is a word? When did this happen? Apparently it means "capable of being supposed", yet I can't think how to comfortably use it in a sentence. Irregardless of this (sorry. couldn't resist:-)) he was still using supposably wrong, going by what the apparent meaning is, and obviously meant supposedly. I also just realised that the squiggly red line didn't appear under irregardless! What's that about?!

  4. Anything that gets used enough can be considered a word. It's by no means a proper word. A teacher could rightly say "no such word" and dock points for using it in a formal paper. Just think of the word "ain't." I wouldn't use the word seriously. Irregardless is kind of pointless because it means the exact same thing as regardless. I, President of the Creatures in My Head, suggest avoiding that word too.