Dave’s Diary: What’s In A Word? Stupidity If You Use It Incorrectly
Words are important to us on the Morning News…but that doesn’t mean we don’t do our fair share of mangling the language so we are always on the lookout for advice. A gentleman by the name of T.R. Slyder writes for the Chicago Tribune. He makes his living with words so he is uniquely qualified to say which words work and which word are overworked! Slyder says some often used words and phrases lack in originality and many popular phrases and clichés indicate at the very least a poor command of basic English grammar and at worst mental laziness. In other words, he says if you say any of these and you'll just sound stupid. So Slyder has identified not only the worst offenders, but also created a few smarter-sounding alternatives. Here, thanks to Netscape, is his top ten list.
1. "It is what it is."
Slyder's Substitute: Since "it is" = "it is," don't make the definition be the exact words of the words that are also being defined. Translation: Just don't say it!
2. "I don't give a rat's ass."
Slyder's Substitute: I don't care or just stare in stony silence.
3. "How do you REALLY feel?"
Slyder's Substitutes: “Say your thang, doggy!" "Easy, big tiger." "Deep breath." (And then demonstrate with an exaggerated deep breath).
4. "If someone would have told me a decade ago that in 10 years I'd be doing X, I would NEVER have believed it!"
Slyder's Substitute: There is no alternative. No one can predict the future. Just walk away.
5. "I could care less."
Slyder's Substitutes: "I could not care less." "I have never cared less about anything."
6. The formula of: "How X was Y?" As in "How funny was that?" or "How good was that steak?" or "How random was that?"
Slyder's Substitute: Turn your interrogative sentence into a declarative one by saying "That WAS funny" or "That steak was good" or "That was random."
7. "That is really unique."
Slyder's Substitute: Since "unique" means one of a kind, there cannot be degrees of it. "Really" has no place in this sentence. Use "unique, "original" or "one of a kind."
8. "The dog wants out."
Slyder's Substitute: "The dog wants to go outdoors."
9. "...It does. It really does."
Slyder's Substitute: Nothing!
10. "I am NOT a happy camper."
Slyder's Substitute: Say what you are and save everyone some time.