Is it just me, but have other forumites noticed that the word “slither”, meaning to crawl around on ones belly like a snake, has been used to mean a small portion of something. Eg A slither of cake.
My practice nurse, a Manchester lass, used a”slither” like this. I have since noticed this misuse of “slither “ in newspapers and magazines, even reputable ones. I think this is a word in transition such as “alibi” being used instead of “excuse”. Mores the pity! I’ll sliver off now, back to my hole in the rock of pedantry.

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The correct word in British English (no idea about distortions of the language elsewhere) for a thin or narrow piece of something is sliVer, whereas the word meaning smoothly sliding is sliTHer. Two different words, and not new. People mispronouncing do so out of ignorance, as indeed you recognise…

Sadly ignorance of correct grammar and spelling seems to be on the increase. My pet hate is the use of the plural ‘pence’ when referring to the singular item - even BBC newscasters sometimes saying “one pence”.


Hi Hugh,

We are both getting old. I find myself increasingly correcting BBC reporters speech as they consistently mis-pronounce words. Next thing you know I will start liking Radio 2!


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The completely different use of impact/impacted in recent years still annoys me. ‘His performance was impacted by the change in the rules’ seems commonplace now. I don’t like it much.

I also have a bugbear about the interchangeable use of ‘envy/jealousy’.

Language evolves and the concept of ‘correct’ grammar as a fixed set of rules bothers me. It is just nice to enjoy the subtle and expressive use of our language used well. Have just been re-reading a few
Graham Greene novels this last week; a fine example of economical, precise yet completely effective writing that can say as much in three lines as many do in an entire chapter.


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Your post struck a chord with me.
Some years ago I was involved in a building redevelopment where the client insisted on referring to a proposed new building to be sandwiched between two others as the slither building. I repeatedly and politely tried to refer to it as the sliver building… but to no avail.

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My pet hate is the use of the plural ‘media’ (meja) when referring to the singular item, a medium.
Also, phenomenon is often used when referring to the plural.
Also militate/mitigate mix ups.

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I worry that with the possible exception of the wonderful Ken Bruce, you will find its output a bit estuary.


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but your very name (naim) is mispelt on this forum, sir!
is the Shard a sliver?

Mrs Mike & myself have great fun reading the local press, mispeelings, wrong words & suchlike. e.g. from yesterday “Fredrick Smith, 63, & his fourty year old son…” Are we really bothered how old Fred is & why have a numeric for one & the other (mis) spelt.
All great fun & best not get too excited about, we blame the texting generation.

And - Ladies & Gentlemen - this very forum has a load of users who seem to have lost or don’t care to use upper case when appropriate.

BBC mis-pronunciation is common place; my instant blood pressure riser is Bisham, the village in Berkshire & the location of the National Sports Centre.
Bisham, the clue is in the name, it means the hamlet of Bis. It’s pronounced Bis’ham or locally Bis’um, BBC please note its not Bish’am. .


Believe it or not Jim I spelt that wrong intentionally ! :wink:

Ah! Renzo would not like it called a sliver. The Shard is …erm…a shard :thinking:

I was always confused by e e cummings’ poetry

…“we’re gonna civilizem’!”

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Two things come to mind.

‘The proof is in the pudding’ and football pundits who talk about scoring from ‘dead ball scenarios!’

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Sliver is American for a skelf.

Pet peeves

Loose instead of lose

Less instead of fewer

Mr Grumpy

Some of my pet peeves:

  • I could care less.

  • Hone in on the target.

  • Tow the line.

And not being able to use a particular synonym for stingy lest I be accused of using a racial slur.

Yes Annalog. I am sure slithers meaning is changing due sheer dumb ignorance, which in this case is particularly egregious as the words mean such very different things. Old and grumpy of Lower Hutt!

Now that’s just trolling! :grin:

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Played wisely poorly worded language can look more prettier to the eye with a flow of colour semblancing the thoughts.
Without diction and enunciation the written word is a thing within itself.
Those who choose to decipher can at most presume a correlation of discernible differences.
I sometimes feel I need to visit another country, as I get sick of words shoving their sense in my face - in other countries and languages at least I get the chance to think about it all.

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Arggh I give up. Jamie Oliver has just been cutting up “slithers” of lamb to make Italian kebabs with. Goodnight nurse.