Service of What Happened to the Word FROM and Other Omissions

March 13th, 2017

Categories: Abbreviations, Communications, Words

Something's missing

There’s a commercial for 1800gotjunk.com that ends, “you never have to take off work.” And for years people have said—and written—“I graduated high school.” So what happened to the missing word FROM? I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to conversation but I miss hearing that word.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

In a morning show radio discussion of other March blizzards in NYC in anticipation of tomorrow’s storm, the host brought up the “great blizzard of 1888” [that Wikipedia reported dumped some 40 inches of snow in parts of N.Y. and N.J. and up to 58 inches in Mass. and Conn.]. In predicting this week’s expected snowfall the host repeatedly left out the word IN when he said “anticipated precipitation Central Park.” That was the first I heard a missing “IN” and I hope it doesn’t become a habit.

This led to irritating abbreviations. I’ve recently heard on newscasts the word “presser,” short for press conference. Is it too difficult to say “press conference?”

Information technology expert Josh Cintrón shared a contraction he dislikes: “phoner” for phone interview. He admits to being a stickler for word choice and referenced the ridiculous image of someone who had just “caught the train.” He added, “not for nothing,” a phrase that may make some people cringe. But we agreed that we’ve become fond of this typical NYC double negative. [Who said we had to be consistently picky?]

When someone tells actor Daniel McHenry that they are “fixing dinner” he wonders “who broke it?”

Are there any missing or erroneous words or abbreviations that irk you? Do we drop words or parts of them simply out of laziness?

 

Photo: elitereaders.com

Photo: elitereaders.com

 

 

 

 

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22 Responses to “Service of What Happened to the Word FROM and Other Omissions”

  1. DManzaluni Said:

    I dislike the media’s new use of the word shooter for gunman. Which I assume is used because people feel more comfortable with the association with (the missed out word) pea than death.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    DManzaluni,

    Who knows if the NRA didn’t influence this softening and masking of the accurate word. Photographers and videographers “shoot” too. It is less offensive and sugarcoats what a gunman does.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Could be laziness or a strong case for brevity. I have been dropping what I consider unnecessary words for decades, not out of sloth, but to spare myself and reader/listener from unnecessary clutter. Should the term “from” be easily implied without its presence, why cause possible boredom and waste of time by using it?

    If clarity isn’t sacrificed by brevity, then use or omission of a term or use is a matter of style. Cooks have been “fixing” meals for ages, so actor McHenry attempts to create a nonexistent problem. He might do better honing his craft rather than criticizing the way others speak.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I don’t think Daniel meant to criticize anyone–nor did I. We identified words–or missing words–that irked us or in some way stood out or created a vision that the words didn’t mean to. As an actor I imagine that every word–missing or not–counts so he may be more sensitive to each one than most.

    Leaving out “from” has always rubbed me wrong. I can’t explain it. Maybe I didn’t like the people who said it when I first heard it. Every time someone does, it hits me like a second shoe I expected to hear that didn’t drop. I feel it and privately roll my eyes.

    I’m all for tightening copy. Every time I read something I’ve written I see more opportunities. According to quoteinvestigator.com, Blaise Pascal is said to have written: “Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.” http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/28/shorter-letter/ I’ve heard similar quotes attributed to Mark Twain.

  5. Judy Schuster Said:

    What I don’t understand is why punctuation has almost gone away. I was taught to use a comma before the word: too. No longer and there are a bunch of other things I find annoying, too. And the newspapers use abbrevations in the headlines, another no-no in my day. Sometimes I have to read the story to figure out what the abbrevation stands for.

  6. jmbyington Said:

    Judy,

    I heard in an interview on NPR that if you use punctuation in texts to kids they think you are angry at them! I’ve meant to look into it to verify but haven’t yet. In my day if your parent called you by your full name you knew you were in for it.

    I am puzzled when I have to scrutinize a release or invitation to figure out the name of the organization that sent it. So many think everyone knows what the XYZ association is and either hide it in mouse type or leave it off altogether!

  7. Anonymous Said:

    My personal petpeve are sentences that begin with “So” preceding answer to a question. When did this start?
    Newscasters, celebrities, government officials, etc.

  8. hb Said:

    You are talking about just the tip of the iceberg!

    It took a 1,000 years to convert Latin into Italian, French, Spanish et cetera, and 500 to blend a mix of Germanic, Celtic and Latin languages into the English of Shakespeare, and amazingly we still understand 400 years later what the Bard meant when he had Petruchio say, “Fear boys with bugs.”

    However, I find that just within my lifetime, and especially the last thirty years, mostly thanks to computers and partly to demographic changes, much of the English both written and spoken around me today is incomprehensible. Everything about the language, from vocabulary, to grammar, to syntax, to sentence structure, to spelling, as well as, of course, pronunciation is changing so rapidly and at an ever accelerating pace.

    Although the changes tend to leave me increasingly incommunicado, I find it all fascinating to watch.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous,

    I think of the “so” as the new version of “um.” It gives the speaker a second more to think or to word a point. From some of the responses here and just speaking about it with colleagues and friends what clearly irks some doesn’t others. For example, I dislike “No problem” more than “so.” I’ve often wondered if some people don’t mind the sound of nails scratching an old fashioned blackboard.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    Much is moving at warp speed…medicine, communications, technology…while in so many ways we are going backwards. Where once oversight committees eventually caught perpetrators by trying to protect the public from unscrupulous business people and practices, the current administration is lifting safeguards to save big business money. I consider this a leap to the time of the robber barons, far from forward.

  11. Deborah Brown Said:

    Another petpeve: “Following” while waiting in line to be checked out. Not: “Following Customer” or worse “Guest.” I am a customer, not a guest!

  12. hb Said:

    Anonymous, you are a man or woman after my own heart! My sainted father who wrote beautifully, had two words he could not tolerate — “so” and “contact,” as in “I know someone at the Mayor’s office I can call…” (He had no problem with the word when used with electricity or paper.) If I every used either word, he’d blow a gasket!

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debby,

    I agree, I’m not a guest in a store and a salesman or saleswoman is not a sales associate which I’m sure folks thought up so they didn’t have to give the sales force a raise.

    No doubt the person who yells out “following” thinks it’s better/fancier than “NEXT!”

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    I suppose your Dad would approve of a “contact report?” I’ve written countless such reports to create a record of who said what to whom after a meeting or conference call. I would not have wanted to get on his bad side!

  15. hb Said:

    No he would not have. Call it a call report or memorandum of conversation.

  16. Deborah Brown Said:

    A good rejoinder to “No problem” is “I didn’t think it would be!”

  17. RCF Said:

    I have many pet peeves when it comes to language, but the most commonly used one is “good” in reply to “how are you?” Given my question is somewhat pro-forma, but the answer means what? I am a good person, I am fine, thank you, all is well with me? I find myself following up, sometimes slightly meanly: “I am glad – virtue is its own reward” or “you are good?” with the emphasis on “good.”

    “How is it going?” “Good.” Enough – there is usually some embarrassment in the reply.

  18. Jeanne Byington Said:

    RCF,

    I once worked with a hypochondriac. I learned never to ask “how are you?” unless I had five minutes to spare! At the time we worked for a PR agency with specialty in pharmaceutical/healthcare. We received piles of medical journals and I noticed that he would think he contracted a disease he’d never before heard of!

  19. Jeanne Byington Said:

    hb,

    Nobody would know what I was talking about if I said I’d write a “call report.” They’d be off the phone or out of the room by the time I said “memorandum of conversation.” Were I speaking to your Dad I’d have said, “I’ll write the report.”

  20. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debby,

    Excellent answer, or I could borrow from RCF and say “GOOD.”

  21. DmGm Said:

    Over time people seem to mash up words and phrases for new emphasis. Though effective I find them improper and at times irksome.

    One of the latest I hear (am guilty of using) is ‘whole ‘nother’. Though convenient … there is no word nother. Though it is recorded by Webster, I don’t understand why improper grammar gets accepted as a new standard and given legitimacy.

    Another is Snowmageddon. I first heard it a few years ago. Though once clever to describe a massive blizzard now gets overused when sarcastically referring to an upcoming storm.

    Lest we not forget the misuse of the word at. As in,”where is the snow at?” Or where is the poor grammar at?

    These are just thoughts of a person who can hear my mother’s correcting voice whenever I hear or attempt to use one these phrases.

  22. Jeanne Byington Said:

    DmGm,

    Snowmageddon is clever, but gets tiresome if overused.

    I don’t know the reasons the pundits at Webster give to accept new words–or not.

    As for hearing your mother’s voice, I hear mine at times as well. She doesn’t correct my grammar. But she says, “Stop that Jeanne-Marie,” when I drag my feet confronted by a challenge. As far as she was concerned, there was nothing I couldn’t do if I wanted to.

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