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A small linguistical rant - dorsetgirl
September 11th, 2011
12:25 am
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A small linguistical rant
I try not to have pet hates, because that way madness lies, or at least a very crabby old age. But one thing I really dislike is when people say “Your mileage may vary”.

Whut? After I’d seen YMMV a couple of times I looked it up and found out what it stands for, but that doesn’t begin to explain what it means. My mileage? Who’s talking about cars ffs? And even if we were talking about cars, of course my mileage is going to be different from yours. You have a different life from me, almost certainly living a different distance from work, shops and schools than I do. It would be more remarkable if my mileage were NOT to vary from yours.

OK, I admit, I do have a fairly unreasoning hatred of phrases which simply make no sense in the situation people are applying them to. (It may be relevant to note here that my ASD son tells me I take things too literally.)

Anyway. The phrase, if I’ve understood correctly in trying to work it out from context, seems sometimes to be used to convey the meaning “You may choose to disagree”. In which case, I have to wonder why they’re wittering metaphorically about cars when they could simply say “that’s just my opinion, of course”, or if we’re being cool and internetty about things, “imo”.

However, more commonly - and this is the second reason I hate the phrase - YMMV gets used as a conversation stopper. People use it to mean, “Here’s what I think, and I simply don’t want to hear what you think. Don’t bother answering. This conversation ends here.” And however cool they think they're being, that's just rude.

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Date:September 11th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
I've not come across YMMV as yet - no doubt now you've mentioned it it will turn up all next week! And I love the idea of your ASD son telling you that you take things too literally.

I quite like the idea in that it says to me "you many not agree with me because your experiences, background etc have given you a different appreciation of the matter" which I think is very true. However when it just means "I'm right, you're wrong" then as you say it's rude.

A bit like someone writing IMHO when you know the writer is anything but humble in their opinions.
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Date:September 12th, 2011 08:26 am (UTC)
...your ASD son telling you that you take things too literally

Yeah, that's a bit surreal, it has to be said!

"...your experiences, background etc have given you a different appreciation of the matter"

Yes, I think I wouldn't mind that so much, but many people don't use it like that. To me, the tone often comes over as "you may think differently, but only if you're really strange".
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Date:September 11th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
I also see it used inappropriately, about things on which mileage can't really vary. Sometimes it looks as if posters don't have faith in their own opinions, when they add disclaimers to everything they say.

For example - 'I didn't enjoy this fic. YMMV.' Acknowledges that someone else might have enjoyed it.

'This fic is poorly written. It's full of spelling and punctuation errors. YMMV.' Well, no, mileage can't vary on that one. Someone else might have enjoyed it despite the poor spelling and punctuation, but it's still poorly written.
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Date:September 12th, 2011 08:32 am (UTC)
I partly agree with the point you're making, but in your first example, the YMMV is redundant imo - the writer is merely stating her feelings on something that is universally acknowledged to be entirely subjective. I know I'm too picky, but that usage would annoy me because it comes over as if the writer thinks I need her permission to hold a different opinion from hers!

As to the second one - yes, definitely.
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