Literary Terms that Irritate Me

As if you cared…

letters_dictionary_dots_226167_lBeing a former English teacher, I believe it is my dog-given right to bitch about literary terms.  Not because I was traumatized by some crotchety old tool with a slicked-back receding hairline, perpetually slipping eyewear, and elbow pads on his jacket, but because I had to teach and reteach the same freaking subject over and over again to a progressively denser crop of students each year.  That said, let’s start with the obvious:


I mean COME ON!  I can’t get these kids to spell “you’re” correctly as their linguistic skills have been bastardized by auto-incorrect and the glorious societies of Tweetland and Textland.  Not only is it somehow ‘dope’ to horrifically misspell words, a person is now whatever the current slang is of ‘square’ to call people out on their primitive spelling abilities.  So this one should be a no-brainer.  That’s not even the worst part.  Onomatopoeia lives in the cartoon land of sound words.  Now lets try to break it down into root words with some prefixes and suffixes.  Oh right.  We can’t.  Because the word isn’t latin-based.  It’s utter nonsense of some sadistic bastard who created it for the soul purpose of demoralizing English teachers of the future.

Hey you!  Long-dead guy who subjected us to this garbage.  If you were here right now I’d boof you in the squish-ing head with my maternal plunk-ing stick of prbbbtttt.


While not the top culprit, this is one of those words that sits on the tip of your tongue, but can’t reasonably come to mind and you find yourself spitting out examples of ‘jumbo shrimp’ ‘military intelligence’ and ‘Microsoft Works’.  The reason for this is pretty simple.  The word, Oxymoron, is NOT an oxymoron – it’s a stereotype.  Even more terrifying is a world in which Oxymoron truly IS an oxymoron.  What if the massive ogres of society weren’t viewed as slow and stupid.  What if they were intellectual forces to be reckoned with?  Now we’re looking at our evolutionary superiors.  Looks. Brains. Mass.  Yup, the future goliaths of progressive thought will one day end us all and leave us lesser humans in the dark, underground, hand-carved caverns of our own shame.


I hate that this word made the list.  It was my second choice in naming my first son.  Because seriously, it’s a badass word.  If I could create a hallucinogenic drug that tasted like words, I’d want it to taste like Palindrome.  But the biggest disappointment here, and what keeps it from the ultimate awesome… and why my son is named Rickshaw, is that it’s not a palindrome.  One of the greatest literary acheivements and one of the world’s coolest sounding words do not, in fact, match up.  Of course.. it just doesn’t sound as badass if it were Palinnilap.  It sounds like I’m sexually harassing the former governor of Alaska.

Long live racecar evil.


The absolute worst offender of them all.  Not just because it sounds suspiciously close to ‘antidote’, which is the soul purpose of the anecdote in the dreaded ‘Character Interview’ – the unholy bastard of all poor writing advice.  But I digress.  I’m probably guiltier than most in over-using this seemingly splendid literary device.  My hatred of this term started a few years back.  I’d been working a late shift and left the warehouse a little worse for wear.  Regardless, my natural inclination to rush straight home, douse myself in a cold shower and toss back a warm one was side-swiped by a golden sign promising my single favorite geometrically riddled breakfast pastrywaffles_breakfast_cooking_795972_h.  No sooner had I just finished the timeless riddle of past participles describing shredded potatoes than a little shrimp of a thing sauntered onto the barstool next to me. She flashed me a sexy smile that would put most jack-o-lanterns to shame.  Aaaand the rest really isn’t that important, only to say that you should avoid safety words that sound like ‘petticoat’ and ‘sweaty goat’ through a ball gag.  Come to think of it, maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Tune in on Saturday when I’ll have the awesome C.S. Szarek talking about Highlander Claymores and digital music.

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