Since I’m an arch-exponent of this, it may be that some feel I’m a hypocrite. I don’t see it like that at all. I can mangle the English language for comic or dramatic effect, but I know that I’m doing it. The misuse that sometimes sets my teeth on edge comes about because the speaker or writer doesn’t see the error of their ways. Those of you who know me well can no doubt sense a rant coming on.

I gave it a hundred and ten percent out there. Beloved of sportsmen,  it’s meaningless. One hundred percent is, in this context, an absolute. You cannot give more than you have. Please stop.

At the end of the day, we didn’t score enough goals. Football managers love this one. Why not just shrug and say, ‘We lost.’

We were the better team but we were unlucky. The next time I hear a sports fan make this stupid claim, I may be forced to take violent action. In, say, football, the aim is to score the most goals. The team that gets the most goals is, by definition, the better team. Just because your crew of floppy haired, overpaid playboys ran around a bit more dramatically, it does not mean they were the better team. You lost, remember?

Confusing ‘disinterested’ with ‘uninterested.’ I’ve seen this in most of the major broadsheet newspapers, and even to my horror heard this mix-up on the BBC. ‘Disinterested’ means dispassionate, not taking sides. You’d like somebody like this as your marriage guidance counsellor. ‘Uninterested’ is shorthand for not giving a monkey’s, and as such can be applied to myself and my attitude to most sports. This is not the sort of person you want as a marriage guidance counsellor.

Using the word ‘gender’ when you mean ‘sex.’ Gender is a result of a whole slew of things, from your genetics to your upbringing and brain structure. However, your genetics are the sole determinant of what physical sex you are, if you’re a man or a woman, or in certain rare but unfortunate circumstances, both. Sadly people are a bit mealy-mouthed about the word sex these days, unless loading it pejoratively into discussions about sex and violence in video games depraving sensitive young minds. I’ve always though that lumping the two ideas into a common phrase is an odd one, and speaks volumes about the speaker’s attitude to one of the most fulfilling experiences we can have. I’m not talking about violence.

Empowered. This is used so badly these days it beggars belief. The original meaning has been all but lost If some woman has a breast augmentation, liposuction, and cartilage implants that make her look like a blowup sex doll (a certain fashion designer comes to mind here) and then says she feels the processes have made her feel ‘empowered,’ I want to hurl a brick. Children in poor countries who get adopted foreign help so they can go to school and get an education, they’re empowered. A falsely pneumatic parody of a woman whose skin will twang if plucked, who clearly has more money than sense, taste, and you could argue morals, would have been empowered if she’d just looked at herself and said, ‘Oh what the hell. I like how I look. If the rest of the world doesn’t like it, hard cheese.’

Proactive. The opposite of reactive is active, not proactive.

All right thinking people. Politicos love this one. What it means is, ‘I’m correct, and if you think differently you’re wrong and of limited mental capacity.’ One of the more condescending of terms politicians of all hues are wont to use.

Here endeth the lesson. For now at least.