Some folks find themselves pushed over the edge by the sound of someone else cracking his or her knuckles. Others grit their teeth whenever they are confronted with individuals who hog the left-hand lane… check out 32 items in the 20 items or less lane… or think that posted rules are meant for everyone but them.
As for me, all of the above apply, but there is one other thing that drives me to the edge of the insanity abyss faster than Superman could leap tall buildings. That pet peeve is the incorrect use of words. Okay, so I’m biased; I admit it. But I’m a writer, and words are the building blocks I use to construct articles and books. I take exception when I hear words abused and misused.
One example is the vast difference between fragrance and odor. Whenever I hear someone refer to the odor given off by a certain flower, I cringe big time. Odor is unpleasant, like the rotten smell of garbage. Fragrance is pleasant and enticing, heady and often romantic. It’s difficult to find any positive adjectives to describe garbage, outside of disgusting and stinky.
But it’s the misuse of the words ground and floor that really get me going. What’s worse, I hear it all the time, and from highly educated people, often high-profile folks, who should really know better. For example, the big name TV reporter will relate the tale of a person who was attacked in her home, and was thrown to the ground. If they were inside the house, they were thrown to the floor. If they were outside, they’d have been thrown to the ground… or the pavement… or onto the grass.
Since I’m not the final authority on grammar and linguistics, I consulted my faithful Webster’s Dictionary, where I learned that the word “ground”, when used as a noun, is defined as follows: 1. the solid surface of the earth; firm or dry land: to fall to the ground. 2. earth or soil: stony ground. Did you see the word “floor” in here anywhere?
I think I’ve made my case, and that I have adequate grounds with which to contest the constant misuse of the words ground and floor. What’s more, I’ve got enough of a floor to stand on to make my case. So be forewarned: the word police are afoot in the land.