Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Really Stupid Words, Chapter 7

American English is a rich language. It changes and evolves, and words and usages come and go. Some clarify, improve, enhance, and enrich.
But some are just plain stupid, and ought to be replaced by more meaningful language. Or, left unsaid altogether.
“We control our own destiny,” for example.
You hear people spout this inane phrase all the time. It gets thrown around as if it actually means something, rather than positing the impossible.
Destiny, by its very nature, is something that cannot be controlled. It’s usually defined as something like, “the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events,” or “events that will necessarily happen.” Note the words “predetermined,” “inevitable,” “irresistible,” and “necessarily.” In other words, uncontrollable.
So, no matter how much you might like to think so, or how hard you try, you cannot control your own destiny.
(Assuming, that is, that “destiny” even exists. But that’s another story.)


  1. It's good that you don't have a strong opinion about this (and other) expressions, Rod. When I read your rants I always envision you with smoke coming out of your ears. 😊
    I only hope your pet peeves don't agitate you enough to increase your blood pressure.
    Best wishes,

    1. No smoke, Tanja. Just mild annoyance at language laziness. The same people probably drive while talking on their cell phones, as well.

    2. I am glad to hear it, Rod.

  2. Having worked with you for some 24 years I never saw smoke or blood pressure increasing signs of serous aggitation. But I miss hearing your "rants" in person. Especially in the context of the "message"sweatshirts you would wear.

    1. Thanks, Jay. You can thank my wife and kids for the sweatshirts.