Using Nouns Properly.

Hello. I woke up today with my Language Pedant hat on. I am increasingly distressed by the use of common nouns being used as though they were proper ones. Examples:

“Oh, how is Baby today?” “Has Baby been changed?” “Baby’s getting bigger!” Baby is not the child’s name (except in Dirty Dancing, and I do believe Jennifer Gray was out of diapers at the time). If you don’t know the child’s name, ask. If you don’t know the gender, ask. But don’t call one unique individual by a general term. I would not ask, “How is Meddlesome Besom today?”, or “Isn’t Daft Old Woman Who Smells Of Pee looking well?”. Calling a child ‘Baby’ as though that is the child’s name is disrespectful to the parent and the child, and makes you sound like a dribbling moron in her dotage.

Don’t ask me how ‘Hubby” is. “Hubby” is no one’s name. It is a limp, cutesy attempt to manufacture a seeming closeness between the user of the term and the woman in question. Furthermore, “How’s Hubby?” is often asked with a kind of half-sly cosiness that, in my more cynical moments, I believe is an allusion to the fact that I am an adult woman who has sex with an adult man. At other times, I just think it is a nod and wink to the fact that I ‘caught a man’. Actually, both of those are pretty fucking cynical. Oh well. If you can’t remember E’s name, ask me. And don’t assume I am married, either. That’s right. I am HAVING SEX OUT OF WEDLOCK! I am also sharing cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping duties out of wedlock, but none of those make me a brazen whore, so I suppose they don’t count.

People, we have a rich and varied language. We have ways of being more specific than any other creatures on the planet. Let’s use those. Let’s keep the evolutionary advantage. Because if we don’t, we’re really only monkeys in pants.

Thank you for your time.

As you were.

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