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05/15/2014

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At least it's not as bad as the way "because of [something] is giving way to "because [something]." That sounds horrible.

Because grammar!

I thought that was a jokey/ironic use of "because" purely restricted to the Internet. I've never come across it otherwise. Does anybody do it in real life?

According to a couple of the online dictionaries the use of 'graduated' without 'from' is described as an informal usage. When I was a kid I had a record called "Sing a Song of Presidents." In the song about JFK there was the line, "He graduated Harvard then gave service in the war." This was almost 50 years ago, so the usage must've been somewhat common even back then.

My suspicion is that it was originally a northern or midwestern thing that has spread, maybe one of those things that originates with a quirk of a non-native English speaker, like "Do you want to come with?" (which I've always taken to be a German-ism). I really don't think I heard it until well after my own high school and college years. Certainly didn't hear it nearly as often as I do now.

Yes, Paul, I've only heard "because" used that way as a sarcastic thing, used to dismiss a person's views as incoherent or irrelevant. "Conservatives think things are bad...because Obama!" The exclamation point is optional but frequently present.

It could even be British, like "in hospital" vs. "in the hospital."

Pretty sure it's not British. In British English you just say someone "graduated" and it's assumed you're talking about university. People "leave" secondary school (hopefully having accrued some qualifications during their time there).

My inclination would be to say either "When I graduate university" or "When I graduate from Catholic University." But, as we saw with the noodles, I have weird linguistic usages. And I haven't graduated yet anyway, so what do I know? :P

I think that "because X!" is an internet thing that people use in real life to explain things in a totally oversimplified and possibly irrelevant way, such as "It's raining on the day of my outdoor birthday party, because science!"

I've never heard anyone use it in real life, but then I live in a pretty staid milieu. But "totally oversimplified and possibly irrelevant" is very applicable to the political use as well.

No preposition for the generic "university" but one for a specific university does, I think, qualify as idiosyncratic.:-) Maybe Paul's "graduated" with "university" assumed is a clue: maybe it started that way and people started tacking "high school" or "college" or "Harvard" on as as a qualifier. But why not include the preposition?! It really isn't a great deal of trouble.

And, appropriately, congratulations on your graduation, SophieMiriam, which may be taking place at this very moment, or have just taken place. And on your upcoming marriage.

Was at a friend's house last night, and this subject came up. Some of the other modern usages that we all find annoying are "bracket," as in "We know that the Great Society programs helped a lot of people with food and such, but let's bracket that a minute and look at its other effects."

Also, "reach out" instead of "contact" or "get in touch with." That's a big one at the company I work for -- I refuse to use it and generally roll my eyes when anyone else does.

There was a third one along these lines that I never heard, and can't remember what it was. It seemed to be an IT term that had made its way into regular conversations. If I remember I'll put it up here.

I can live with "bracket" but to me "reach out" is super-annoying.

Yes! I remember the first few times I heard "reach out" used that way, thinking that it was sort of odd, then as I kept hearing it more and more that it was some kind of fad/fashion thing. I don't know if it started as an edict from some corporation to its employees and spread from there, or just had a life of its own. Either way, it's weird and annoying. From "I'll reach out to the family who just lost a son" to "I'll reach out to our shipping department and find out why you haven't received that order."

IT is unfortunately the source of a lot of this kind of thing, but probably not "reach out." I haven't really noticed that use of "bracket". It doesn't seem to make much sense, unless they mean "hang it on the wall." Somehow I suspect it has some other origin.

I'll reach out to our shipping department and find out why you haven't received that order.

This is not a use of "reach out" I have ever come across, and I find it hard to believe any British person could use it or hear it without either getting the giggles or rolling their eyes.

I remember, twenty-odd years ago, a McDonalds or KFC worker in Oxford giving me a mournful "Have a nice day." When I responded with, "That's very kind of you, thank you very much, you too!" she gave me a glare and snarled, "They make us say it."

I think she must have thought I was being sarcastic.

I roll my eyes at "reach out," too. Or just cringe. I hear it constantly now. I don't think it's been more than a few years since I first heard it, and now it's everywhere.

Yes, she probably did.

I thought that was a jokey/ironic use of "because" purely restricted to the Internet.

I really like this usage. :)

I have to say the whole graduating from high school thing - complete with academic gowns and what not is rather bewildering for me. When I completed high school we did have a graduation ceremony - formal enough, but pretty low key and we all wore our best clothes. But nobody in Australia talks about graduation from high school. One of my friends here has a very high achieving daughter who has never scored less than an A in her whole time at school - which is extremely impressive, so I'm glad she gets a lot of recognition for that.

I am happy that my two best friends here are having graduation parties for their daughters (one from high school and one from college) to which we are invited. I'm very touched.

This is not a use of "reach out" I have ever come across, and I find it hard to believe any British person could use it or hear it without either getting the giggles or rolling their eyes.

Oh heavens yes! It cracks me up (internally) although I manage to keep a straight face when someone is saying it to me.

People "leave" secondary school (hopefully having accrued some qualifications during their time there).

It's kind of a hope against hope, I think!

I remember, twenty-odd years ago, a McDonalds or KFC worker in Oxford giving me a mournful "Have a nice day." When I responded with, "That's very kind of you, thank you very much, you too!" she gave me a glare and snarled, "They make us say it."

That's hilarious! Not very culturally sensitive of KFC. :)

I remember the first few times I heard "reach out" used that way, thinking that it was sort of odd, then as I kept hearing it more and more that it was some kind of fad/fashion thing.

I just assumed it was a Texan/Southern/US thing and accepted it as such. I'm quite relieved it's fairly new and have some hope (against hope?) that it will die out. I discover so many interesting and helpful things on this blog. :)

It's definitely a corporate thing, and will probably be with us for a while. I bet it's found its way into British companies, too. At first glance I missed that Paul's "have a nice day" anecdote was set in Oxford. I would prefer to think that Oxford had no fast food restaurants.

Graduating from high school is one of the major events of American life, though maybe not as much as it used to be. Back when most people didn't go to college, it was the one educational milestone that most people shared.

Back when most people didn't go to college, it was the one educational milestone that most people shared.

Most people still do not attend baccalaureate granting institutions. As late as 1929, most Americans between the ages of 14 and 18 were not enrolled in high school. You left for work at 14 or 15; those staying to finish were a (generally) bourgeois minority, and many were following vocational programs.

Even that situation was fairly novel. Prior to 1902, my home town was served by a single public high school for a population of 150,000 people. Harry Truman had a high school diploma; his brother left school at 12. (You recall the family was intermittently bourgeois). My great-grandmother and her sister attended ca. 1892 a private ladies' seminary for high school; there was no public high school in her town. I lived for a number of years in a suburban township that had handed out its first high school diploma in 1893.

Attending high school for more than a year or so did not come to be the norm until the Depression, when much of the working class youth population did not have better prospects.

I don't have any statistics, although no doubt they would be easy to find, but it's my impression that a majority of young people getting out of high school now intend to go on into some sort of further education or training.

I guess finishing high school, and stopping there, was a sort of national LCD only for a few decades post-WWII. You heard the term "finish school" a lot when I was growing up and later, and it referred to high school.

I remember, twenty-odd years ago, a McDonalds or KFC worker in Oxford giving me a mournful "Have a nice day." When I responded with, "That's very kind of you, thank you very much, you too!" she gave me a glare and snarled, "They make us say it."

Poor girl. It was one of the things I most disliked about Canada that anyone doing a job involving human contact felt the need to pretend to be friendly even if they were filled with venomous hatred for the customer, the world and themselves - this caused problems when the pretence was convincing, especially when I was alone and friendless and apt to respond enthusiastically to anything that looked like friendliness (mercifully, quite a few Canadians turned out to be genuinely friendly, though it took me a while to tell the difference), and disgusting when it was unconvincing, as what I wanted from sleep-deprived supermarket assistants was to take my money and give me my stuff, not pretend to be my chum so badly they slipped into the uncanny valley. Eventually I got used to it but it still caused me significant relief whenever I went back over the Atlantic and the people at the till would just demand my cash and give me honest scowls.

I realize now I had not properly savoured Paul's 'mournful "Have a nice day."'

I think Canadians generally share with us that view that overt friendliness is generally desirable, and in commerce essential, whether or not it's sincere. They may even be more likely to be sincere.

There is an Internet thing in circulation having to do with the differences between Americans and Brits, and it includes a warning to Americans not to assume that an expressed desire for further acquaintance is to be taken literally.

I would prefer to think that Oxford had no fast food restaurants.

Indeed.

I had a professor in university who insisted that both "I graduated Harvard" and "I graduated from Harvard" are wrong. He maintained that the correct usage is "I was graduated from Harvard." According to him, graduation is an evaluative action performed by the institution to assess the student, who is the subject and not the agent of graduation; "I graduated from Harvard" is akin to "I graded A on the exam."

I suspect he's right. I've heard "was graduated" here and there over the years, and always thought "Aha--so that's what it's supposed to be."

That makes sense.

Another time I asked for a small pack of chips, and the employee in attendance chirped "Regular fries?"
"Oh no," I said, "A small will do."
"That would be regular!" he said cheerfully, and then leaned over and said conspiratorially, "We aren't allowed to call anything 'small' in here."

When I was a child, chip shops would do small, medium and large. But the fast food concerns only do regular, large, and some term I forget (maxi? super? jumbo?). I still haven't got used to it.

I just got a reply to an email here at work in which someone said she would "reach out" to someone else in her office to correct a problem. Seems like this went from nonexistent to ubiquitous in a year or so.

Some places start their sizes with "medium." There was a funny bit in some magazine years ago where the employee was trying to get the customer to say "Super Smileyburger" or something, and the customer kept insisting on "hamburger."

Worst of all in that respect--by "worst" I mean most irritating to me--is Starbucks and other coffee chains with their "Tall" (=smallest one they offer), and then various pretentious terms for "larger yet."

And then there's the size. "Regular" chips/fries is about twice what a "small" used to be decades ago when the whole fast food thing got started.

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