Class Warfare Blog

August 1, 2016

Am I an Unrepentant Grammar Snob?

Filed under: Culture — Steve Ruis @ 12:24 pm
Tags: ,


I seem to be bombarded with idiotic phrases of late. Here are but a few examples:

Pre-Drilled Holes These accompany something for sale that would otherwise require the purchaser to drill some holes during assembly. But the term essentially implies that the holes were created prior to the use of the drill. Don’t them mean just “drilled holes” and can’t they just say “no drilling required?” If the thing were to sold assembled would they brag of “pre-screwed screws” or of it being “pre-assembled?” I suspect so.

Pre-Cancerous Growths/Pre-Diabetes These terms, the second of which is being pitched as a real disease, make about as much sense as describing your skin as being “pre-sunburnt” before you visit the beach or your body as being “pre-reduced” before going on a diet. These terms really smack of someone having something to sell, like insurance because, gosh, you never know when something bad will happen. Sheesh.

Renewable Energy This term is especially irritating as it is a contraction of “renewable energy sources” and is often chopped down all the way to “renewables” in discussions of commercial energy production. Energy cannot be renewed or reused, period. Take firewood, a “renewable energy source” for millennia. Collect fallen wood from a forest or even chop down trees, season the wood, and prepare it for the fireplace and voila, you have a home heating and cooking system in the form of a “fire place.” The “source” is said to be “renewable” because another tree can be grown. A better term would be “replaceable energy source,” because the first tree is not coming back, even if a new tree grows from the stump of the old. If you step back a little, the energy needed to grow that tree came from the sun, so burning wood is a manifestation of solar power. For a tree to grow, a seed has to have nourishing soil, plenty of water available, and a host of symbiotic relationships with the biota in the vicinity, but the energy is supplied through sunlight. Sunlight is not renewable, it is not even replaceable, it is just a source of energy that is damned near inexhaustible in the potential life span of our species.

I realize being a grammar (and syntax, and punctuation, …) snob is a form of self-inflicted would and I should just give it up … but … aaaaarrrggghh!



  1. So I might surmise you would not be amused by an upcoming New England Journal of Medicine article entitled “Pre-Cancerous Prostate Lesions Successfully Suppressed by Creation of Pre-Drilled Holes Using a Unique Laser Powered by a Novel Renewable Energy Source” ?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by drakodoc — August 1, 2016 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

    • LOL!! Ah, the trendsetter that the NEJM is! Leading in gobbledegook, too! I do wish more scientists and medical practitioners used ordinary language more. (I do not recommend giving up accuracy of language or thought, but people have to be trained to write and speak gobbledegook and many consider it a hurdle to be cleared (and celebrate accordingly when they do).

      On Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 12:37 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 1, 2016 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  2. It killed him dead, instantly.

    I still can’t get that out of my head.


    Comment by john zande — August 1, 2016 @ 2:30 pm | Reply

    • Killed him redundantly, too. What do we expect from being awash in terms like “new and improved” (how can it be brand new and yet, improved at the same time?) and all of the other catch phrases marketeers thrust upon us?

      On Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 2:30 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 1, 2016 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  3. I’m pretty sure I saw some kids on your lawn! You better go look 😉


    Comment by shelldigger — August 1, 2016 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

    • LOL, a GOM, I am!

      On Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 3:40 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:



      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 3, 2016 @ 12:06 pm | Reply

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