September 22, 2016

Don't Sound (or Write) Stupid, Part 4

A new feature wherein I, Lydia, instruct you, the reader, not to make common, idiotic mistakes of grammar, syntax, or pronunciation of the English language, particularly errors that annoy me. As a review, the word "recognize" is pronounced rek-kog-nize, not reckin-nize.

In this installment, I take a moment's break from my usual role as silent grammar scold to address another issue . . . the misuse and overuse of three words. Aside from being trite and banal, these phrases have the undesired effect of making the speaker sound stupid. Currently, I am being aggravated by a tribe of college students (not stupid!) indulging in their use and overuse.

Excise "basically," which is a synomyn for "fundamentally," not a preamble meaning, "I am about to tell you some extraneous facts, not really related to the subject at hand": "literally," which (surprise) means "literal, in the strictest sense." A little hyberbole never hurts, but it has to be used judiciously. Kill me now, (not literally). And then there is "like." Once upon a time during public speaking class, we were warned not to use "uh" or "uhm" to fill pauses. Now it seems, the word "like" is used instead. Stop it.

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