During the course of working in publishing and online journalism, I often get criticized– by my editors most of the time– for using whilst and amidst. Well, I normally submit to their corrections because the style dictates what should be the output. However, the gossip of pretentiousness that accompanies such usage is kind of uncomfortable because some people readily judge me as “showing off” whenever I use such word. Even my usage of portmanteau is criticized just because they normally don’t use it.
My point is, I agree with you that such “taste” for this kind of words should be left to the writer as it is a part of their aesthetic vision as writers themselves. It is not a way to show-off or whatsoever.
Language peeves can develop when a word or phrase becomes, or seems to become, rapidly popular – ongoing, for example. You begin to notice it everywhere, and you say Enough! And then there are usages people dislike for the opposite reason: they’re no longer popular enough. They have become… old-fashioned.
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