This column once discussed some wording we all use even though it is strange, like “free gift,” as though all gifts weren’t free.
That led Karen Rosenvold, West Fargo, to write that “Many weather announcers repeatedly use ‘out there’ when talking about our weather, and I often wonder if weather happens anywhere else but ‘out there’?
“The other phrase used,” Karen notes, “is ‘up there,’ instead of ‘north.’ We are not flat like a paper map!”
Now, “Here’s some more strange wording,” Rodney Nelson, Fargo, writes: “‘future plans.’ Does that mean plans FOR the future or plans to be made IN the future?”
From Grafton, N.D., Kevin Frederickson sends along a phrase from his high school days: “If you don’t look out, you’ll get the daylights knocked out of you.’
“I never knew what the ‘daylights’ were,” Kevin writes, “and being a football player and wrestler in high school, I probably got them knocked out of me and didn’t even know it.”
Howard Langemo, Valley City, N.D., wrote “I loved your column because I love words, due in part, at least, because the ‘love of my life’ was an English teacher.
“Here are a couple of my favorites,” Howard wrote.
“A pastor once described a favorite aunt as ‘winsome.’ Isn’t that a neat word?
“How about from Sigmond Romberg’s ‘Student Prince,’ the lyrics ‘those smiling eyes beguiling me?’ Isn’t ‘beguiling’ a cool word? But maybe not too practical.”
And then there’s an email from Cal Messersmith, Fargo.
“There are two examples of words or phrases that I frequently see in print or hear on radio and television that aren’t necessary or appropriate, he writes.
“1. Excessive/unneeded use of ‘different.’
“Many writers make statements like ‘governors of six different states’ or ‘all-star players from nine different teams.’ There wouldn’t be six states if they weren’t different; ditto for teams.
“Just say ‘governors of six states’ or ‘all-star players from nine teams.’
“Likely ‘different’ isn’t needed for at least 9 of 10 times I see or hear it.
“2. Use of ‘would like to’ when it doesn’t convey the intended meaning.
“For example, especially at the end of the year, companies will say, ‘We would like to thank our customers for their business this year,’ or around Veterans Day, I hear, ‘We would like to thank our veterans for their service.’
“‘Would like to’ infers something that is hoped for or expected to happen, referring to the future.
“Just say what they mean, i.e., ‘We thank our customers for their business this year,’ or ‘We thank our veterans for their service.’”
Are there any words or phrases commonly used which you find strange, neighbors?
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email email@example.com.