As a writer, I've become more aware of the meaning of words, and the power of choosing the right word in the right place.
Words are beautiful things, so it grieves me to see words abused, and I want to draw the world's attention to the plight of the humble word in the hands of persistent abusers.
Here are some examples of my pet peeves.
These are at opposite ends of the communication line - send and receive. They are totally different words, yet many people treat 'infer' as a posher-sounding substitute for 'imply'.
"Oh, no," they think to themselves, "'imply' is a nasty, blunt and common word. I'll use 'infer' instead and show how educated I am."
I'm sorry, but no! It just shows how ignorant you really are.
Similar to the above. How many times do prominent figures at the heart of a breaking scandal utter those immortal words, "I absolutely refute these allegations."
No, you don't. You have not offered a shred of evidence, so you've proved nothing - which is what 'refute' means. All you've done is deny it.
But people don't want to say that, because in the popular media denial somehow implies guilt.
Should have/should of
There's no either/or here. This is an example of lazy patterns of speech finding their way into writing.
This one baffles me, and yet I repeatedly see well-educated people use 'loose' when they mean 'lose'.
Leading edge/bleeding edge
When I first heard of 'bleeding edge' it was a fresh and witty play on words. Technology so innovative that it was raw and dangerous. The trouble is, so many people liked it that it got used far more than it should, and it's lost its power.
It saddens me when perfectly good phrases become worn through inappropriate over-use.
State of the art/state of the ark
Another clever play on words that has become abused, once again through ignorance or laziness. It baffles me to hear people say 'State of the ark' when they clearly don't mean something ancient and decrepit.
So, writers everywhere, rise up in defense of those poor, abused, and helpless words. What examples of abuse peeve you?