I am a linguistics nerd and I am not afraid to admit it. Actually, I revel in my love for grammar- Mr. Mad Cow even sends me links to articles from language blogs- so I guess it was just a matter of time before I wrote my own language-related entry.
Mr. MC and I went out today to a cafe today and in the bathroom, I couldn’t help noticing some graffiti written in English:
I had a dream, you and I were fucking with each other
Now one of my biggest language-related pet peeves occurs when non-native speakers incorrectly use English profanity. To me, it’s simple. If you’re going to swear, do it right.
So the verb phrase to fuck with does not mean to copulate. If the writer wanted to convey a message of fornication, then she should have simply used the verb to fuck, as the verb phrase to fuck with conveys a message of messing with someone in an annoying or teasing manner. Native speakers of German should be used to the idea how adding a preposition to a verb (i.e. to look for versus to look at) can change its meaning. This same damn thing occurs with trennbar verbs in German.