As a language professional (sounds like I talk dirty to you for cash) I like being up on all of the current lingo trends and fads. The world of language is fascinating and always changing. There’s a way grammar books say we talk and then there’s the way we actually talk.

Most native speakers know that you technically shouldn’t say “I’m done working” or “I’m good” in response to “How are you?” They know that you shouldn’t say “literally” when you’re intensifying, but rather when you are speaking literally. But the thing is, this is how people actually speak.

If you can’t accept these things, you reveal yourself to be stubbornly behind the linguistic times. And this is nothing to be proud of, and you would do well to keep in mind that your generation is no better linguistically than this one. Your generation – greatest, boomer, X, Y, or Z – all gleefully broke language rules of yore and the ways you broke them became everyday language. So don’t be so judgmental.  

That being said, some of it bugs me like an ulcer on my tongue. For example, I hate a mix up between your and you’re or worse between they’re, their, and there. I find it to be a case where technology helps us cut linguistic corners and in the process renders many of us thumb-scrolling troglodytes.

I don’t like some current trends. “I can’t even” or, in its more advanced state: “I can’t even with these people.” If you’ve seen this online you have no doubt pieced together that it’s an epithet of exasperation. And I get that, but all the while my brain is screeching any number of appropriate words and phrases to make this a sentence that would have made sense twenty years ago. I can’t even deal with these people. I can’t even cope with these people. I can’t even stand this trend. I can’t even understand why people can’t add a fucking verb to this utterance.

Another one that gets under my skin is “This” along with a meme or article that the poster feels particularly captures the essence of an issue or current topic. While I accept that it exists and serves a purpose, I can’t help feeling as though users of this are simply too lazy to properly explain why they think the meme or article is so accurate.

One area in which the current generation is far and away ahead of every other generation is in their terminology for people who piss us off. Don’t get me wrong, every generation has done this to some extent. But it’s the specificity of the broken social law that these terms point to that really amazes me. There is little concrete difference between a jerk and a dick or an asshole and a fucker. In Pittsburgh, I once overheard two mechanics at work talking about our boss.

Mechanic A: He’s a motherfucking cocksucking asshole kissing blowhard piece of goddamn monkey shit!

Mechanic B: Nah, he’s a jagoff.

Mechanic A: Yeah.

I learned quickly in Pittsburgh that jagoff transcended all other insults, and yet I have no real specific understanding of what it is.

These days the insults are extraordinarily specific. When someone is called a gatekeeper, we know exactly what their infraction was. This also goes for a mansplainer, a manspreader, and a manterrupter. Most of us catch the gist of a bridezilla, we while we know that it’s a high crime to culturally appropriate, we can piece together a man who bropropriates. Everyone knows at least one errorist (someone who propagates an error. Hello right wing and Ukraine.) and we can probably sit back, envision, and develop an instant and intense dislike for a trustafarian. Someone who sits across from you at a bar and looks at their phone is cellfish and a white person who “discovers” 2000 + year old matcha tea is guilty of Columbusing. (No, it’s not going to the wrong island and killing everyone there.)

I have to hand it to you guys, you’ve really made teaching English and being interested in language fun these days. If for no other reason than I have found out exactly and specifically just what kind of an asshole I am. In case you’re wondering, it’s an askhole. (Someone who asks for advice, and never takes it).  

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