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Monday, March 23, 2009

Words, Words, Words

I love words. I really do. I enjoy language and the interesting uses and flavors of language. I’m fortunate that my parents introduced me to books even before I could talk and that my father worked with me on vocabulary development. He would have been a great teacher – difficult, but good.

So, as we were watching some tv recently, my ears perked up at an ad for some forgettable food product. What made Mike and I look at each other and laugh, though, was the claim that their product was “made from real ingredients.” As opposed to imaginary ones??

An ingredient is an ingredient. I suspect that the ad copywriter meant “natural” or “all-natural” ingredients, but that’s not what made it onto tv. And people were paid real money to write, edit and produce that advertisement, but without noticing their blunder. Of course, if they’d been better at their jobs, we’d have been minus a laugh for that day.

While I’m at it, here are some other word issues that irritate me.

Unique – It means one of a kind. Therefore, nothing can be more unique, most unique and particularly not extremely or very unique. It either is or isn’t. I would even suggest that there are darn few things around that are actually unique, so maybe people should be a little more selective about using the word at all.

Peevish Pronouns - Another pet peeve is something I hear so frequently not only from the man on the street, but also from radio and tv announcers (who should have been better trained) that I fear that no one is teaching English any more. Has it been eliminated from the curriculum? This little irritant is the difference between “who” and “that.” The first refers to a person, and the latter refers to a thing. How easy is that! So why do I continue to hear people say “the man that …” or “the sales clerk that . . .”

It occurs to me that I never hear anyone say “the building who …” so perhaps there’s a conspiracy to eliminate the word “who” from our language. Frightening.

Ho-hum – Then there are those phrases that have become so massively overused that they’ve become boring. Trite. Overused. Now, I’m sure I have some verbal stand-bys of my own, but – oddly enough – they slip my mind at the moment.

Here are a few of the ones that bug me.

24/7 – Could that be all week or all the time or even around the clock?
The whole nine yards – I always wonder “nine yards of what?”
Taking back our neighborhoods – This was very powerful … hmm … how many years ago? It’s time for a new slogan.
Living my dream – In addition to “world peace,” this is a stock phrase of every contestant. Find a new way to say it before the judges doze off.
Blind panic – Sorry, I just take personal offense to that.

Now that I have that off my chest, I feel so much better. I think I’m living my dream 24/7 in the most unique way.

1 comment:

SMILE said...

HAHA! This is great. :)