Say What? Edition 6: Where Are All the Words?

Auxiliary verbs are falling out of favor. Particularly, to be. I’ve seen or heard all of the following lately:

  • My car needs washed.
  • My shoes need repaired.
  • This couch needs gone this weekend.

When did this form of speaking start? Does this sound normal to you? I’m itching to put to be in all of these sentences.

And it doesn’t stop with verbs. This was on a Netflix show.

  • I can’t stop your dealer talking.

And again in an article on hacks for using WhatsApp, an app my friends have recently forced me into using.

  • Stop dirty images showing in your camera roll.

Where is “from” after the words “dealer” and “images”? I don’t like the omission of the preposition. I also don’t like the app. I’m pretty sure I disabled images from being automatically downloaded (or is that disabled images being automatically downloaded?) onto my phone and yet there they are anyway. But my issues with technology are best saved for another post.


Grown up words are also disappearing. Last summer on my way to Europe, the Delta safety video warned us about what to do in case of “rough air.” Rough air? So…turbulence? Yes, we have a word for that. Since then, I’ve noticed the same dumbing down in the videos of several other airlines. Adults know a lot of words. Let’s use them. Let’s not lower our collective expectations.

Writers know the importance of using precise words. We say “arduous” instead of “very hard,” “colossal” instead of “very big,” and “sage” instead of “very wise.” But we can apply this rule of precision in other aspects of life and keep the English language rich.


Words that might offend are getting kicked to the curb. Some of these, I can understand the reasoning behind. In technology, when one device controls another, those two devices, for a long time, were referred to as master and slave. Sensitivity and political correctness has now nearly eradicated this nomenclature. When there is a usable alternative (primary and replica, in the case), why not make the switch?

But now, the trend demands finding other ways of phrasing less upsetting words. Some say “end-of-life” is an inappropriate term to describe when a piece of software is no longer supported by its producer. Many advocate to ban words such as “crash,” “error,” and “exception” when software fails in some way. “Closed unexpectedly” is also sometimes advised against because it might give the end user a lack of confidence in the program. Well…it did just fail, right? Perhaps a lack of confidence is justified. And I’ve seen suggestions not to use “deprecated” because reading level is too high (see the section immediately above this one). Sigh.


And some of our words never were. If you geek out on languages at all, you’ve probably seen these types of articles online. And while I could easily find good use for words like “backpfeifengesicht,” “iktsuarpok,” and “yuputka,” what about the purely American words we don’t have? I’m from New York. I used to be a New Yorker. Now I live in Colorado. I’m a Coloradan. A friend of mine is from Delaware. She’s a…? What? There’s not word for that? Apparently not. Delawarite? Delawarian? Negative. According to her, she’s a “Delaware person.” I’m not satisfied with that. If anyone out knows someone from this state, help! We need a proper word.



3 thoughts on “Say What? Edition 6: Where Are All the Words?

  1. Seriously! I loved this article on imperfect grammar. Whatever happened to English lessons where we learnt spelling, dictation, vocabulary and that all too forgotten parsing of sentences…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes. I’ve noticed the switch to “rough air,” too. I figured they did some study in which they determined that “rough air” was less alarming to passengers than “turbulence.” To me, bumping around at 30,000 feet is hell no matter what you call it. In fact, if forced to choose, I’d say “rough air” strikes more terror in my heart. I can’t wait until they invent teleporting. (And then we’ll see how long it takes for that term to go out of fashion.)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s