By Steve Murch
A few days ago, on my way to find something else (isn’t that the way it always works?), I saw a headline on an online story about some celebrity couple who were co-parenting. Apparently, they must have been divorced. Or never married in the first place, I suppose.
Aside from not caring about the celebrity aspect of it, I hate the word co-parenting. I’m not married, nor do I have children, but I get the impression this was a word a married person decided was perfect for divorced parents as a way to feel superior about still being married. You know, “You should have stayed together for the kids, but at least you’re co-parenting.” You know what divorced parents are doing – parenting, just like married couples. They just happened to be doing it as divorced parents.
It got me thinking about some other words and phrases that drive me nuts.
- Monies and persons: These words had to be created by lawyers and government. You know what the plural of money is? Money. You know what the plural of person is? People. Money is like deer, both a singular and plural word. Speaking of deer …
- Harvested: A perfectly good word when it applies to crops, trees, etc. It’s idiotic when it applies to deer hunting. The Department of Natural Resources LOVES to talk about how many deer were harvested. I never realized there were people going into the fields to harvest this year’s deer crop. They must be run through some sort of thresher to separate the chops and roasts. right? There is nothing wrong with the word “kill” when it pertains to hunting. It’s as if the DNR is afraid of PETA and thinks the word harvest will throw the organization off the scent as to how hunting works.
- Past history: Um, all history is past. Yet, every time I turn on the television and watch a news or sports discussion show it seems like there is at least one person on the panel who says “past history.” We’re not talking about dumb people. If you look them up, most went to some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Then again, smart is as smart does, right? One day a few weeks ago, a person I know with an Ivy League education, and yet this learned person used past history three different times in a five-minute span. Past history belongs in the Department of Redundancy Department folder.
- Who vs. that: While there is nothing technically wrong with using “that” when talking about people, people aren’t inanimate objects so we should use “who” as opposed to “that.” However, everyone says “that” and it doesn’t bother me at all. It’s when we have the time to use the correct word when writing that it bothers me a little bit. But not much.
By that I mean I’m not a word snob. I swear. It’s just that some words and phrases are like fingernails on a chalkboard. I guess in some ways they are pet peeves.
So let’s end with this:
A group of persons that were co-parenting pooled their monies together and harvested a deer, but let’s not worry about that since it’s all past history.
Steve Murch is a former managing editor and award-winning columnist for The Alpena News. He’s a lifelong Michigan resident, a broken and defeated fan of the Detroit Lions, and a forever optimistic fan of the Detroit Tigers. His column will appear most Thursdays.