As an unofficial and probably unappreciated member of the grammar patrol, there's any number of things that annoy me almost daily, but I try to ignore all that I can. After all, some people (including my late husband) were brought up that way. Others hear things daily that they repeat. One example is the use of "Here comes the calvary" to the rescue, even in well known films. Since the dearth of Westerns, I hear it less often, and very, very rarely the even worse statement about who was crucified onCavalry!
An every-present gaffe is pronouncing the word "to" as "ta". Even ourformer President indulges in this mispronunciation. It's almost as as irritating as the "ya know" interjected in every sentence, sometimes two or three times. Why, why?
Now I know my grammar isn't perfect - nor my typing. Human beings are imperfect, including myself. And the meaning of words change over time. For instance "aggravate" which should mean "to make worse", but now means more often to annoy. What the heck, I can live with it. And sometimes "bad" grammar is used for effect. Okay.
But a recent change of speech really makes me mad. It's the use of the word "mistake". A mistake is, for instance, when you have something distressing on your mind and run a red light - although some would say that is carelessness.A mistake is when your fingers get tangled while typing. A mistake is multiplying 6 x 7 and coming up with 49. A mistake can be leaving a necessary ingredient out of a special dish while cooking, with disastrous results. http://sneakykitchen.com/Stories/gentler.htm is proof if that! Everyone makes them. Anyone that claims they never make a mistake is - well - mistaken.
When a Ponzi schemer that steals millions of dollars tells the judge he "made a mistake", well, that wasn't a mistake. If he was smart enough to do it, he was smart enough to know it was an "on purpose". When someone holds up a store at gun point, and claims "I made a mistake" - he committed a crime and knew it while he was doing it. When a man knocks his wife or girlfriend halfway to Timbuktu, and apologizes "I made a mistake" it makes me wish that someone would knock him halfway to the same place, as well as anyone that hides the behavior or excuses it.
I hope this "I made a mistake" excuse will encourage the judges or other authorities to double whatever penalties they had first intended. Crime has indeed taken a bad turn when it is termed a simple "mistake" as if that downplayed the behavior.
What do you think - am I mistaken?