Thursday, January 9, 2020

Really stupid words, Chapter 10.


As you know, American English is a rich language with enough words and phrases to tell about anything and everything. And yet, rather than just use words as they are meant to be used, we abuse them and misuse them. Usually, in feeble attempts to sound more important. But those efforts fool few of us, and are just plain stupid.
Then there are simple, ordinary, everyday words that get thrown into sentences where they serve no purpose whatsoever. “Different” comes to mind. It has a distinct, clear meaning to describe things that are not alike, or dissimilar, or, sometimes, unusual.
For example: “I talked to three people and got three different answers.” It is clear that each person’s account was unlike the others.
But I hear people say things like, “I talked to three different people,” or, “We visited six different states.” What purpose does “different” serve in those examples? Surely you couldn’t talk to three “same” people, or visit six “same” states.
On the other hand, considering the first example, you could talk to three people and get the same answer.
As far as I know, economy of language requires not wasting words by using them needlessly. Like “different.” You may have a different opinion.



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