Word Hate 1: Regularising ‘regular’

Two things that ‘regular’ does not mean: medium-sized, and frequent.

The use of ‘regular’ in our coffee shops has come from America, and while I’m not in principle opposed to Americanisms (many of which are entirely glorious), this is one I can’t stand. What happened to ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large’? Well, I can tell you what happened to ‘large’ – it is now ‘regular’, while anything bigger is now called ‘large’. The problem is that ‘regular’ is an expanding concept, and it is now very rarely possible to buy a small cup of anything. If you ask for small, you are given ‘regular’, which, believe me, isn’t the same thing at all – in fact it usually comes in a bucket. I suppose it comes from the phrase ‘a regular guy’ meaning an ordinary bloke – but that doesn’t excuse it.

Market researchers still ask the question: “do you use the internet (or whatever) never, rarely, sometimes, often, regularly?” Er… I do it often and regularly, thanks. I once gave a researcher the reply: “I do it regularly, but only once a year”. (You don’t need to know what ‘it’ was.) She was completely flummoxed.

Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 14:50  Comments (1)  

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  1. Heh, heh, heh. I always say “small, please”. It’s really only in Barstucks and Crossta that you get ludicrously huge cups – stick to Caffe Nero! And as for “regular” timings, shall we institute the Association for the Scientifically Accurate Wordings of Questionnaires? (ASAWQ)

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