Sunday, June 6, 2010

So? Whatever....

The New York Times’ May 30th article Follow My Logic? A Connective Word Takes the Lead discussed the rise of the word “so” which “may be the new 'well,' 'um,' 'oh' and 'like.' No longer content to lurk in the middle of sentences, it has jumped to the beginning, where it can portend many things: transition, certitude, logic, attentiveness, a major insight.”

It seems to fall in line with other words and phrases that a recent poll found to be the most over-used today: “whatever,” “anyway,” “it is what it is,” and “at the end of the day.”

Although I have my own list of over-used, misused and redundant words and phrases in the current vernacular, I must admit first of all that I’m guilty of “anyway.” I’ll try and correct myself if the rest of the world would kindly refrain from the words and expressions I find most annoying and redundant:

“Listen up” - Whatever happened to just “Listen”?
“At this point in time.” Why not just “Now”?
“At that point in time.” "Then”?
“Sleeping in” - in what? If it means sleeping late, why not say so?

New words and phrases make their way into our language every year from Silicon Valley, advertising, street slang, the media, business jargon, politics, and now from the abbreviations written on email messages, Twitter and texting.

LOL? When I received this at the bottom of an email message from a male colleague a few years ago, I didn’t know it meant “lots of laughs.” I was taken aback because I misunderstood, believing it meant “lots of love.” Fortunately, I was clued in immediately by a co-worker.

So listen, if you have a language pet peeve, I hope you’ll let me know.


  1. Barbara - have you read 'Lost for Words', the Mangling and Minipulating of the English Language by John Humphrys? If not, I'm sure you'd enjoy it!

  2. Forgot to add: one of my pet peeves is:
    'could of' and 'should of' etc. I've even seen it written that way - by teachers!