A Question of Punctuation?
It seems that there is some real confusion in this area so I think it’s time to lay it out concisely. Of late, I have noticed increasingly that newspaper letters pages, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds and emails – not to mention the threads of certain website forums – have been inundated by scribes who seem to think that a question mark is no longer used to signify a question but is merely a flag to indicate a dearth of knowledge. This needs sorting out.
Then again, perhaps they’re right: “I don’t know…?”, “I don’t think…?” and “I don’t understand…?” strike me as being pretty unequivocal statements of ignorance.
Loss of Meaning
I hear a lot of fashion these days being described as “retro”. This initially puzzled me because, having studied Latin in my school-days, I had always understood that “retro” meant “backward.” So I took another look. Youths walking around with their underwear on display, jeans hanging off their slack backsides and leg hems trailing in the dirt? Fair enough, that looks pretty “retro” to me.
Me, Myself and I Don’t Know What I’m Talking About
Increasingly, I hear people refer to themselves and each other in the reflexive form. This is presumably in an effort to make them sound more intelligent. It doesn’t work. No, it really doesn’t work. “Come and talk to myself”, “I will come and talk to yourself” and “Let’s go and talk to himself” doesn’t even sound that bright in the context of imaginary friends – although it is, co-incidentally, the reason why you have to rely on them.
A Meeting of Minds
When I was little, having a “sit-down” was a parental euphemism for going to the toilet. Needless to say, I was most surprised to hear, in an office environment, the expression: “Let’s have a sit-down together.”
That this term was now being used to refer to a meeting made no sense to me. At least, that was until I was invited to attend one. Turns out the net result is still the same.