This question arises from a suggestion by FumbleFingers that I post it here for comment.
Briefly, some of the questions asked at EL&U SE are overly simple and could be handled by a routine Google search. Others are, while seemingly simple, deceptively complex - like this one about "irony vs sarcasm."
And, in answering some of the more difficult queries, elements of the language of linguistics and linguistic philosophy may be useful, as these fields of study are explicitly designed to explore such questions.
Recently, I used the terms "happy" and "unhappy" to describe the state of various utterances and was not clearly understood. I am of a mind to forward these terms to the community for consideration because I'd like to popularize their use; however, if the consensus is that they are not useful, then I'll withdraw my efforts at advocating for them.
To say that a construction is "happy" means that it is well-formed and appropriate for the purpose to which it is employed.
If a construction is "unhappy," it is failing in some aspect such that it does not succeed. There are types and classes of unhappiness, namely:
- Misfires: Externally Unhappy Utterances.
- a. Misinvocations: appropriate act fails conventional criteria.
- b. Non-Plays: no appropriate convention.
- c. Misapplications: convention misapplied.
- d. Misexecutions: appropriate act rendered defective.
- e. Flaws: conventional procedure partly rejected.
- f. Hitches: conventional procedure not completed.
- Abuses: Internally Unhappy Utterances.
- a. Insincerities: appropriate intention(s) absent.
- b. Non-Fulfillments: intention(s) not fully carried out.
This extended taxonomy is well beyond what most users would want or need to know, but I'm adding it here for the expert reader to more fully describe the ways in which a statement might be "unhappy." In my view, to say that an utterance is "wrong" or "incorrect" can be at times overly blunt.
Rather, to say that an expression is "unhappy" is a more nuanced description that something is wrong with it, either in construction or idiom, or that it fails to execute a performative utterance.
This terminology was initially popularized by JL Austin, in How to Do Things With Words, and further developed by John Searle in Speech Acts and other works. Here's a nice paper by Kevin Halion that devotes a chapter to "Speech Acts and Their Happiness."
To sum up, this kind of terminology allows for much greater precision in the discussion of language and it is usually self-explanatory through context. I am not suggesting that we use the language of linguistics wholesale, but merely that happiness and unhappiness are exceptionally powerful terms worth community consideration.