There are times when, no matter how patient you want to be, little things just annoy you far more than they should. This week, partly due to funky, indecisive weather and an abundance of eye-hurting overcast days, and partly due to not sleeping well, and partly because I’m stressing about Fuzzy’s trip, and my parents’ arrival in a couple weeks, I’m cranky and peevish.

I was going to do a Thursday Thirteen list of “things that have been irking me lately,” but instead I’m going to list a few as a sort of purging measure. Many of these will be related to use of language.

Video Tutorials. Hate them. I am not a visual learner. I NEED words. I can follow the most convoluted written directions with ease, but if you throw pictures at me, my brain explodes. Also, if I’m doing something I require instructions in order to complete, I need to be able to flip back and forth, and video just isn’t a good choice for that – at least, not for me.

The phrase “return back to.” By definition, if returning is reverting to a prior state (of being, of ownership, whatever). The use of “back” in this phrase is unnecessary, and sounds really stupid. “I returned the book to the library.” “Let’s return to simpler times.” I realize that language evolves, but why are the stupid people in charge of the evolution?

Using IM instead of Email. Unless we’re in the middle of a conversation, chances are that even if my computer says I’m online, I’m really not. IM is for immediate chatting. I don’t like it when people use it as an off-line messaging service. I use three different computers all of which use different multi-chat software, on a regular basis, so chances are I won’t see your message anyway. At least five different people have left me messages on IM in this fashion in the last three days. If you know me well enough to be IMing me, you should have my email address.

“People that.” And general that/which/who issues. WHO is for people. THAT is for things and groups. “People who have blogs…” “Blogs that are about language.” (For a really good explanation of this issue (that/which/who) check out this page at

Websites, especially blogs, that require one to register in order to comment. With one exception, I refuse. If you’re so afraid of what people might write in your comments, why are you publishing your writing to the web?

“Engage with.” Again, it’s just clunky awkward phrasing. Bad: He didn’t engage the audience. Good: He didn’t engage the audience. (Not that not engaging your audience is ever good, but…)

I reserve the right to add to this list as more things occur to me, but right now I’m tired so I’m going to bed.