Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Day: They’re Iced, People.

Walking around the grocery store drives me nuts. Not only do I see the oft maligned (and grammatically incorrect) “10 Items or Less” signs, but people don’t know what has happened to their food.

When you take something hot, apply ice to cool it, then consume it, you call it “iced”. That’s what “iced” means. And yet, you have “ice tea” and “ice cream” on nearly every label for such products.

When you buy coffee on the rocks, the menu reads, “Iced Coffee.” That’s what they’ve done to it, after all. The word is descriptive. You don’t find ice in your Lipton Ice Tea. (I brew my own and think they should put the word tea in quotes, but that’s neither here nor there.) Either they iced hot tea or they should leave the word ice off their label.

Iced cream labels provide even worse examples. You can’t make it without freezing it; that’s why it’s in the freezer section. The term “ice milk” covers a different substance so I won’t quibble here. I don’t know how it’s made. But iced cream has been iced, indeed. It doesn’t contain ice; it was made using ice.

I am fighting a losing battle. Few people know, or care, that this is an error. I’m willing to stand up, however, as the word geek that I am. If I can convince even one brand to change their labels, I can rest in peace. Rest, that is, until my next attack of poor-language-use-induced hysteria.




I never thought of that—possibly because chilled tea is actually called "iced tea" where I live, and I'm not that great a cook to know the term specifics—but I've certainly wondered about "French" fries.

English as a language surges downhill from the ignorance mill.

I wonder if any other languages are having this same problem…



I suspect that language laziness is universal. I understand that spoken Latin a couple of millenia ago was sloppy even though the written pieces we translate in class are grammatically clean. Latin had even worse complications than English!

Iced tea has been chilled by adding ice, that's to what the name refers. I am surprised to hear that it's done correctly in your neck of the woods. I thought the mistake was nigh-comprehensive!



Perhaps you could follow Lynne Truss's apostrophe example and carry around little adhesive "d"s to add to signs and packages where the improper form is in use.



That's a great idea, except that I could spend all of my time at convenience and grocery stores and still not get them all. Thanks!