Sunday, October 10, 2010

Whazzat? No problem.

I'm certainly not a qualified arbiter of grammar and proper language usage. However, there are some phrases in the English language that really get under my skin. Two of the most innocuous and yet offensive, to me at least, are "Whazzat?" and "no problem."

Whazzat? seems to have replaced "Pardon me?" or "Excuse me?" when people don't hear what you've said. It is particularly noticeable (and fairly irritational to me) in people who have a hearing deficit about which they are still in denial, which they haven't yet addressed or for which they wear hearing aids some of the time (why yes, my sweet Johnnie, I am looking at you as a matter of fact).

It goes like this:
You: Would you like to watch TV?
Them: Whazzat?
You, louder and possibly more enunciated: WOULD YOU LIKE TO WATCH TV?

and so it goes.

Grrrrrrrr. If you don't hear the question, the proper response is "Pardon me?" or "Sorry, I didn't hear you, could you repeat the question?" or "Excuse me?"

The other phrase, "No problem" is now a pervasive response when someone thanks you. Like this:

Them: Here's your gizmo back...
You: Oh, thank you.
Them: No problem.

The proper response is "you're welcome." As an article in this month's Reader's Digest said, responding with "No problem" implies that there actually WAS a problem or that they perceived the exchange in some way as a problem. Maybe it's a valid response when there has been a problem, but commonly the correctly response would be "you're welcome."

Minor things, I know. But they grate on me and this casual slurring of manners and polite usage of speech becomes so commonplace that eventually the right responses are forgotten and disappear.

Any phrases or words that bug you like this?

1 comment:

Employee No. 3699 said...

I totally agree with you on both of these.