Apart from one boyfriend in my distant past – I don’t think I’ve met anyone who truly believes they are perfect.
In fact anyone who even thinks this way is obviously so self-obsessed that it counts them out anyway.
So while I may rant on here about poor journalism, bad grammar or apostrophe abuse (three of my pet hates) I thought I would share some examples of my own foibles.
Probably my worst was my understanding of the word anxiety.
I knew the word anxious and pronounced it correctly: angk-shus.
But when it came to the noun anxiety: angz-iety I’d invented my own way of pronouncing it, very much based on the adjective form: angk-shuty.
You can easily see the correlation angkshus – angkshuty. Simple.
But can you believe that nobody picked me up on this at any time through my school studies?
In fact it was only in my first year of an English degree that it was pointed out to me.
As a young ‘fresher’ I was mortified and nearly died with embarrassment – even more so as it was spotted by a pharmacy student and not one of my English colleagues!
So again how was this never picked up by my parents, teachers or friends until that point?
Another great example, and yes, this is one I fell into as well, is an oft used expression ‘common or garden’.
The phrase is used to describe something commonplace, ordinary.
For example; a common or garden sparrow.
It’s usually said so quickly it sounds more like ‘commonal garden’.
A quick internet search and I guarantee you will find this written on numerous pages (although note some are just misspellings of communal – sigh).
It’s a point I keep coming back to – I think increasingly we think we hear how something is said and used, make an assumption about it and then use it ourselves incorrectly.
Following my last blog Is it better to wonder than wander I had this response on Twitter:
And only recently my husband discovered his misunderstanding of another common English phrase ‘oh my giddy aunts and uncles’.
The word aunt in the UK is pronounced usually in one of two ways: either as ahnt with a long vowel sound or ant with a very short vowel.
The phrase is an expression of surprise, disbelief a more colourful ‘well fancy that’ if you like.
But for years my husband had believed that the ants he was referring to in the expression were the little six-legged insect variety – not a family relative – even though he clearly understood the uncles reference.
See, nobody’s perfect.