I think the English word "better" is lacking.  It can mean two entirely different things, based on context.  When you're injured/sick, you can "get better," which means either (a) you're partially healed or (b) you're fully healed.  Those aren't the same thing, but the same word is used in both instances.  If you're bad at school/sports but you "got better," it can mean either (a) you're somewhat less bad than you were, or (b) you're now the best.  It seems like whenever the word "better" is used to describe progress, it requires either an adverb to qualify it (somewhat better, almost better, completely better), or a comparative descriptor to quantify it (better than before, better than you). #language

Labels are language
I have a straight female coworker who casually mentioned having a girlfriend in college.  I asked her if she considered herself bisexual.  Her response was, "I don't like labels."  Here's the problem with that.  Labels are a component of language.  Human beings created language to describe the things around them and communicate ideas to fellow humans.  A label is like an abbreviation.  Instead of saying, "You're a female in a sexual relationship with another female," we say "You're bisexual."  That's literally what language is and how it works.  "Not liking labels" is stupid. #language

I didn't realize I was a fan of laconism
A laconic phrase or laconism is a concise or terse statement, especially a blunt and elliptical reply.

It is named after Laconia, the region of Greece including the city of Sparta, whose inhabitants had a reputation for verbal austerity and were famous for their blunt and often pithy remarks.
NFL coach Bill Belichick's take on a recent rule change is along the same lines:  "Whatever the rule is, it is."  But that might instead be a tautology, or a truism, or a platitude.  They're all sort of related. #language

Complacent vs. complaisant
I learned a new word yesterday:  Complaisant.  I thought it was a typo or a British thing, but it turns out they're two different words with essentially opposite meanings.  Complacent means lazy or ignorant, while complaisant means eager to please. #language

Within some reasonable limit
I've used the phrase "within some reasonable limit" several times lately in conversation.  I say things like, "As an adult, I can do whatever I want, within some reasonable limit," or "Now that I'm off that diet, I can eat anything I want, within some reasonable limit," or "Since I'm not around kids, I can say whatever I want, within some reasonable limit."  It seems that phrase is a good coverall for any kind of hyperbolic speech, within some reasonable limit. #language

Unnecessary acronyms
If, in a single sentence, you use an acronym and immediately follow it with its definition (or vice versa), and then you don't use that acronym again, you should probably just stop using that acronym.  It serves no purpose. #language

Accented names
It's really annoying when an otherwise fluently non-accented English-speaker suddenly puts on a thick accent to say their own name.  This is especially prominent in TV and radio news broadcasters. #language

Cold vs. cold
Similar to fat vs. fats, there's some confusion regarding the terminology of the common cold.  A "cold" is a sickness caused by a virus.  "Cold" is also an adjective describing temperature.  The two are almost completely unrelated.  It was originally believed that the cold virus was contracted through exposure to cold weather, but this has been proven false.  Being cold does not give you a cold, though feeling warm and eating/drinking warm things probably helps the immune system fend off attack.  I propose we end the confusion and start using the medical term for the cold virus:  Rhinovirus. #language

Accents that annoy me (6)
  1. South Jersey/Philadelphia/Baltimore
  2. Canada
  3. Chicago/Minnesota
  4. Richmond, VA

Mute point
In the past few weeks, I've heard two different intelligent people say the phrase "mute point" instead of "moot point".  At first, it annoyed me that anyone would fail to meet the unattainably high grammar goals I secretly set for myself and others.  But then a link pointed out that these people might think the phrase refers to mute as in "if something doesn't matter, it's not saying anything. It's 'mute.'"  I have to say I hadn't considered that, and it kind of makes sense. #language

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