Saturday, September 25, 2004

language: the mini-rant

I'm peeved by what appears to be a growing trend in contemporary American (and possibly British) English: using the French word sans to mean "except (for)." For years, speakers of American English have used this word properly; sans is the French way to say "without." This has been true since the dawn of the universe. It is a truth inscribed in every atom, in every subatomic particle. Right after the Good Lord said, "Let there be light," he declared that sans means "without."

Lately, however, I've seen more and more online writings that misuse the word. The trend is growing; it's part of the rapid deterioration of English, a phenomenon abetted by the proliferation of sloppy Net-isms such as yanno and nevermind and yea (instead of "yeah"). Whenever sans is misused, it feels like my cat is swatting at my balls the way a boxer goes after his speed bag: ba-dubbada-scratch, ba-dubbada-scratch, ba-dubbada-scratch.

Leave my testicles alone. Use sans correctly. Don't write sentences like, "All the coalition members sans Australia were in agreement."

Want to know how the French say "except (for)"?

They say excepté. Or sauf.

Watch your language.


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