Are you guilty of word crimes?

A significant portion of being an Oklahoma court reporter includes having a range of vocabulary and grammar that spans beyond that of an average person. The reason is part organic in that you will be exposed to a variety of cases involving industry specific language and need to be familiar with a range of topics and language. The other reason is that having an extensive word bank is an important quality of being a court reporter. Before you sign up for court reporter school, consider if you are guilty of these common word crimes.

How fast do you like your coffee?

If you like it fast, keep calling it expresso but if you want to use the proper word, it’s espresso. For the record, no matter how many times you order an extra shot of expresso, it’s still not a word.

To use an apostrophe or not? That is the question.

I may go to h-e-l-l for the rage I feel about the inappropriate use of apostrophes. Last night I was at a local trivia night and the hostess passed around her TIP’S bucket. Except for the fact that I know she is working solely on tips for the event, I would have refrained from tipping her simply for committing a word crime.

Let’s break it down for you. Apostrophes indicate possession or a contraction. Let’s is shortened from let us. It’s is the contraction for it is. Tip’s isn’t a word, contraction, or possession of anything.

Are you IN line or ON line?

That depends. If you’re at the grocery store waiting to check out, you’re in line but if you’re searching Google, you’re online. Though as someone who has lived in New York, I can say with certainty that if you’re waiting for your turn to order an espresso, you’re most certainly on line, but only if you’re in New York. As much as I want to be the grammar police and however grammatically incorrect, it’s important to take colloquialisms into consideration.

Irregardless. Still not a word.

I saw a post on social media in which younger and older adults were arguing about the use of the word irregardless. The younger folks believed that if the word is used, however incorrectly, it should still be a word. The older people, myself included, argued that no matter how many people use it, irregardless is still not a word. It actually means with regard which is not how people use it.

Whether you’re ordering a fast coffee while standing on line, using non-words, or committing other word crimes, make sure the people to whom you are speaking know the true meaning of what you’re saying. It will go a long way to building strong relationships with grammatically correct people.

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