WAR ON WORDS
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 firstname.lastname@example.org