It’s recently been brought to me attention that there really are some words in the English language which we, or at least I, really use too often. There’s nothing really wrong with these words in themselves as they really are proper English words, and for the most part, we really are using them correctly. I really think that this is highlighting a laziness creeping into English which is really devaluing our sentences and making them really worthless. You may have already guessed the first word on my hit-list. It’s really. Really.
Not being funny – but I really don’t like the sound of the word really. That r, the eee and then the lly all mixed together really grates on me. Perhaps it’s only an aversion to the overuse of the word but there you go. Think about it. How often do we really have to use the word really? Read back over the past two paragraphs and take out each time the word really is used. It still makes perfect sense doesn’t it?
Like is yet another word which I like to use far too often. Like, I mean, my use of language these days is like, almost instinctual and I’m hardly thinking about the things I’m saying as long as I’m like, getting my ideas out. Like. Perhaps being from Liverpool leaves me a little more disposed to this particular linguistical error but I still feel like this is sweeping across the Anglophone world. Not everything is like something else. Sometimes when we say "He was like ‘I’m so mad with you!’" what we were supposed to be saying was "He said he was so mad with you" or "He said ‘I’m so mad with you’". Interestingly enough, the BBC recently published an article which explained that like was the new ‘erm’. It is now used as a filler sound when people are cognitively processing what they intend to say next. The only problem is, like is an actual word and so it sometimes sounds out of place and we rearrange our sentences around it when what we should be doing is saying ‘umm’.
I wouldn’t mind if it were just those words which I keep overusing but there are just a few more. Just when I think I’ve got things all sorted out, somebody will point out to me that I just keep on using a word where it just isn’t needed. I suppose ‘just’ is used in the same way as ‘really’. Including it in a sentence tends not to add that much extra to it, but it just pads it out. Yet it tends to just infuriate me these days instead. I think I just have anther aversion to the sound of the word just. You have that jutting j leading into my ugly northern ‘uh’ sound and then a hiss before an abrupt stop with the t. Vile.
The last word on my hate list is one I thankfully have no problems with. I use it correctly and sparingly but for those of you get this wrong, I will slap you.
Literally Figuratively. Please please please learn the distinction people. Literally means that it’s real. If you say something was ‘literally the wizard of Oz’ then I expect to see yellow brick roads and midgets with a phobia of witches. Your head did not literally explode and you did not literally die because you’re here talking to me and not lying in a pool of your own blood. When you use such metaphors, amusing though they may be, you don’t need to add the word literally. In fact, you don’t need to add any words. It’s quite alright to say "I once bumped into Colin Firth and he was so tall I died of fright" (true story) but it’s not alright to say "After reading the third Twilight book I literally cried my eyes out." In no way is that alright. Twilight is poo.
Though it’d be ok if you cried at how bad it was. But take out the literally.
Here’s some Christmas cheer for you all after that (not so) little rant of mine :)