Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pet Peeves

On Blue Cord, Kevin Wilson has a great list of pet peeves, following Chris Heard's lead on Higgaion. Well, isn't this what blogging is for? One of Kevin's is a pet peeve of mine, the incorrect use of "beg the question", now very common. Here are a few of mine, some found in scholarly writing, some in students' writing and some in popular culture:
  • "Exegete" as a verb rather than "to do exegesis of / write an exegesis of".

  • "Critique" as a verb rather than "to write a critique of".

  • "Quote" as a noun. "To quote" is a verb. The noun is "quotation". This is even found in some scholarly writing.

  • Unnecessary use of Latin, as in theologia crucis when "theology of the cross" will do just fine.

  • "Revelations for Revelation (Book of). I find this irritating to an irrational degree. It is particularly common in film and fiction.

  • Whingers. People who worry about minor little aberrations in the use of language. CHILL.

12 comments:

Jim said...

I guess my pet peeve is the listing of pet peeves...

;-)

Just kidding.

But with you, I hate "Revelations" when people mean the Book of Revelation. It drives me nearly insane (though to be fair, it's not a long drive).

D. P. said...

Along with Revelations, the book of Galations really should be added to the canon, it is cited so often!

Matthew said...

I took an Exegesis of Revelation class in which the well known professor threatened failure to anyone who wrote "Revelations" in any assignment.

Once upon a time I read a kind of style guide from the BBC and they warned against making nouns into verbs just as you have. Maybe it's an American thing.

Brandon said...

What? Don't you ever want to exegete Revelations to determine its theologia crucis?

Judy Redman said...

I share your peeves. I particularly dislike "qua" instead of "as" and "praxis" instead of "practice".

I think, though, that turning verbs into nouns is much more acceptable in American usage than in British or Australian.

Chris Spinks said...

Notes on a few of the words you've referenced:
1) "quote" as a noun is listed in the online version of OED before its verbal use. Indeed, the word was used as a noun to designate "quotation" as early as 1885. Although, it seemed to have come into common vernacular toward the latter half of the 20th c.
2) "critique" was used as a verb as early as 1775. OED lists the verbal use after the substantive use, however.
3) I fear "exegete" may go the way of "quote" and "critique". Such is the life of language.

Anonymous said...

Following the previous comment, dictionary.com reports:
Usage Note: Critique has been used as a verb meaning "to review or discuss critically" since the 18th century, but lately this usage has gained much wider currency, in part because the verb criticize, once neutral between praise and censure, is now mainly used in a negative sense. But this use of critique is still regarded by many as pretentious jargon, although resistance appears to be weakening.

At least you're not the only one bothered by it.

Anonymous said...

I am so contrary that I have started to use 'Revelations' just to wind up all the people who react to it.
It is just a unity/diversity thing.

Pantopragmatics said...

Yes, the use of 'Revelations' gets my goat as well. However, if we're going by the OED (which incidentally seeks more to describe usage rather than define acceptability, though with some editorial exceptions), this (mis)usage goes back to at least 1656 in a published sermon, and seems to have flourished in every century since. It may now be rather difficult to eradicate - or should that be 'root up'?

Michael Barber said...

This is hilarious--I too have the same irrational response to "Revelations". You're right, it is practically ubiquitous in pop culture.
I finally came to terms with it, however, after watching the Fritz Lang classic, Metropolis (1927). I watched it for the first time about six months ago—I’ve seen it now about seven times. ALL those who have done work in Revelation should immediately go to amazon.com to buy this movie.
The film is a science fiction which offers a futuristic analogy to the lessons of the book of revelation. It is amazing.

Unfortunately (and not surprisingly) the English edition of this silent era film includes a reference to the book of Revelations.

Now when I feel that irrational rage stirring inside of me when I hear someone speak of “Revelations,” I imagine it is meant as an homage to what is quite probably my all time favorite film. It has really helped.

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Although I second your annoyance with "critique," when someone SHOULD say "render a critique," or even "criticize," I am afraid I cannot second you with "exegete." It is a verb. I looked it up.

Anonymous said...

I think many people tend to forget that languages are a living thing, which change with each generation. It doesn't make much sense to me when people who learned "proper grammar" to get upset about nouns being used as verbs and vice versa. In each language, there are feelings/ideas/concepts that cannot be expressed as well as they can in other languages due to a lack of vocabulary or grammar rules prohibit it. I think instead that the new invention of words and creative (ab)use of grammar should be encouraged.