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Just Words – Just Phrases. Common Verbal Mistakes.



(“It is what it is.” Here is what you just said: It is = It is. When was that in dispute? Did someone say, “Hey, it is not what it is.”, or, “It is what it is not.”?

  • Substitute with: Not making the definition be the exact words of the words being defined.

“I Don’t Give a Rat’s Ass” You don’t give a rat’s ass about what? Linguistic originality? Did you think this whole conversation was a big lead up to my asking, “Do you have any rodent sphincters I can have?”

  • Substitute with: I don’t care, or just silence.

“How do you REALLY feel?” This is said after someone takes a stand, but maybe with a bit too much conviction. The latent irony is the passionate speaker clearly took a stand and made a statement, whereas the replier of “How do you really feel?” followed your originality and passion with a banal phrase that is linguistically worthless. The illocutionary force of that reply is simply, “I see you are passionate about that.”, which is of no value because that is obvious.

  • Substitute with: “Say your thang, Doggy!”, “Easy, big tiger”, “Deep Breath” then demonstrating an exaggerated deep breath.

“I Could Care Less” That means you care. What you MEANT to say means the exact opposite.

  • Substitute with: “I could not care less”, “I have never cared less about anything”

The formula of: “How X was Y??”: As in: “How funny was that??”, “How good was that steak?”, “How random was that?” Save us the stupidity and turn your interrogative sentence into a declarative one: That WAS funny. That steak was good. That was random. If you just truncate, and rearrange the original sentence you are left with stylistically fine, if uninspired, sentence. If a steak is truly great, an event truly random or funny, it would inspire you to actually devote an original thought to it. Such banality actually hurts your case, not enhances it.

“That is Really Unique.” “Unique” means, “one of a kind”. Not, “different”, or “unusual.” It means there is only one of them. So if something is one of a kind, it cannot have degrees of one-of-a-kindness- it can’t be VERY one of a kind, a little one of a kind, or pretty much one of a kindish.

  • Substitute with: “Unique”, “Original” or “One of a kind”.

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