WAR ON WORDS

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

I’m al­ler­gic to su­perla­tives, es­pe­cially when they’re used as one-word an­swers. I wasn’t al­ways, but over the years the con­di­tion has be­come se­ri­ous. Say the words awesome, stun­ning or fab­u­lous, for ex­am­ple, in front of me and you might be at the risk of los­ing my as­so­ci­a­tion for the rest of your days on this planet. I’m not jok­ing – I truly find these words to be hol­low, in­sipid and just blah. Blame it on their ex­ces­sive use by the tex­ting gen­er­a­tion or so­cial me­dia or the on­slaught of con­sumerism, I feel these words have now be­gun to frail at the edges and are past their prime. They should be put out to pas­ture. Just like dic­tio­nar­ies add new words to the list ev­ery year, they should re­tire some as well, and su­perla­tives should be in front of that queue.

Sim­i­larly, I dis­like cer­tain ad­jec­tives too. Words like ‘fine’ and ‘nice’ for in­stance

Say the words awesome, stun­ning, fab­u­lous, fine or NICE to me, and you might be at the risk of LOS­ING my as­so­ci­a­tion for the rest of your days on this planet. I find these words to be HOL­LOW, in­sipid and just blah

should be syn­onyms for ‘what­ever’ – the one-size-fits-all kind of an an­swer to any ques­tion thrown at the tex­ting gen­er­a­tion. As ex­perts in the fea­ture on page 36 say, these words are con­ver­sa­tion killers. And I couldn’t agree more. I find them so lame that I be­lieve they con­stantly need the crutches of qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Only af­ter you jus­tify their rel­e­vance in your us­age will you be saved from the risk of be­ing la­belled un­in­ter­est­ingly inar­tic­u­late.

So now if you’re won­der­ing how I re­ply to a reg­u­lar ‘how are you?’, I say ‘couldn’t be bet­ter’. Try it. It does won­ders. From be­ing an in­stant mood booster to leav­ing peo­ple in sus­pense, it al­ways causes a stir.

Let me know what you think. Un­til next week,

Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Editor mshekar@gulfnews.com

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