Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Bored of? Or bored with?

What do you think is more correct: I’m bored of the Game of Thrones series or I’m bored with the Game of Thrones seriesI’m bored by the Game of Thrones series? Or do you think: Eh, whatever, who cares, they all sound fine.

It says here that “The Oxford Dictionaries Online says “bored of” is a more recent construction than “bored with” and “bored by,” but “it’s become extremely common.”

I don’t like it, of course, though I grant it is parallel to the construction “I’m tired of.” That sounds fine. Since the phrases are parallel, I am unwilling to fight to the death on this one. I just think it sounds weird. And wrong. I suppose in 20 years or so I might get used to it.

Next:

Which do you prefer: The Game of Thrones is a totally addicting series or The Game of Thrones is a totally addictive series?

Right now I think it’s not just common to substitute “addicting” for the adjective “addictive,” it’s practically universal. Grammar Girl discusses this here.

Naturally I don’t like this either. It sounds weird to me despite the parallel use of “charming” as an adjective, which naturally sounds fine.

Oh, here’s one: The plot of Game of Thrones is so cliché is the sort of phrase that always makes me pause. As I’m sure we all know, cliché is a noun, not an adjective. You’d really say, The plot of Game of Thrones is so clichéd. Though that assertion would probably start quite an argument, since Game of Thrones may have issues, but I wouldn’t say being rife with plot clichés was one of them. I should add here that I hear the series is very good. I don’t watch it, but for some reason it popped into my head when I was writing example sentences.

Moving on: have we given up on even having a word that means “literally” in the English language? Are we just going to let both “literally” and “figuratively” mean the same thing from now on, so that we can say things like The Game of Thrones literally made me foam at the mouth last night!

Yeah, maybe I’ll get used to people saying “addicting” when imo they should be saying “addictive,” but I don’t know that I will ever be entirely comfortable with letting “literal” mean “totally not at all literal.”

At least I don’t plan to accept this change in the meaning of “literal” until we come up with another word that means literal.

I think of these kinds of things periodically, but I wish I could remember what got me started on this post. Someone on Twitter pointed out a common usage mistake that I also really dislike, but I don’t remember what it was. Nothing as super-common as effect/affect. Something else.

What modern shift in language is currently driving you mildly nuts? Or are you the sort of person who accepts most changes in usage with equanimity?

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8 Comments Bored of? Or bored with?

  1. Adam D. Jones

    I wrote “Where are you?” My boss added the word “at” to the end, saying, “You need to be grammatically correct. I twitched. Then I twitched a lot. Then I told him he was ending a sentence with a preposition and that it was a unnecessary word anyway. He just stared at me for a while.

  2. Craig

    Of course “all right” is two words; we all know that.

    The verb form “orientate” goes back to the 19th century, so it’s not really current even by my standards [still counts as “modern,” though; I’m not a historian for nothing], but it still makes me twitch every time.

    The slow drift up the social scale of “gonna” as a distinct verb instead of a slang form of “going to” (future, not motion) is an interesting phenomenon I’ve been noticing — interesting because it’s arguably not a degeneration, since it flags a distinct meaning with a distinct form.

  3. Rachel

    Yeah, “alright” is literally the work of the devil, though way too many people seem to find the usage addicting.

  4. Pete Mack

    ‘Alright’ is acceptable as an interjection, alright? But it is not all right as an adjective.

  5. Evelyn Hill

    I used to have to edit for mid-level executives at a certain bank that features a stage coach in its advertising. Painful experience. I’ve blocked most of it out, but I have a distinct recollection of trying to explain to an executive that what she’d written, while an excellent sentence in many important respects, lacked anything that might possibly be considered a verb.

  6. Rachel

    Evelyn, I am pained to think that anyone outside a grade school has to explain what a verb is. Maybe we had better bring back Schoolhouse Rock. And make viewing it mandatory.

    One of my favorites occurred when we had an English instructor who told students they weren’t allowed to use the pronoun “it” — not a bad rule for people who have trouble determining whether a pronoun has an antecedent. Except this instructor didn’t realize the students would often just take “it” out of a sentence and replace it with … nothing at all. Lots of subject-less sentence fragments ensued, as you can imagine.

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