Maybe I am getting old. I remember when TV and water were free and pornography cost money. I remember when LGBT meant a lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato sandwich. My generation can actually fly into an airport or eat a sandwich without posting it on Facebook.
We older folks are different from Millennials; they like to film themselves doing just about everything they do, including sex. I differ. When I am done with sex, the first thing I think to myself is, “Well at least no one had to see that.”
Now I’m certainly not a grammar-Nazi or a word-nerd, especially given the locker-room opinions I spew weekly (some would say “weakly”). But young people out there really need to focus on cleaning up their language, especially as it relates to overusing three words that are dumbing down the English language: “like,” “literally” and “amazing.”
For the 40-and-unders out there, you know how you use the word “like” in like every other sentence? Don’t!
When folks my age, those who can remember the TV show “Cheers,” interview you for a job, your use of the word “like” as some filler or crutch word is maddening to us. And when done in a high-pitched, nasal, Kardashian-Valley Girl way, it’s akin to torture.
The “uptalking” you use to end each sentence makes it sound like a question. It is a sing-song way of speaking that mostly Millennial women do. But it makes you seem vapid, imprecise and, quite frankly, stupid. This has gone on too long, and I have been meaning to say something about it. So, please, stop.
You know how you kids use the word “amazing,” like, all the time? Don’t.
Witnessing your child’s birth is amazing. Your sandwich from Whole Foods is not amazing. Neither are the jeans Ashley just bought nor the top she wears with them. The synonyms in the dictionary for “amazing” include: astonishing, wonderment, astounding, stunning, shocking, breathtaking, spectacular, stupendous and phenomenal. Ashley’s jeans have been mass-produced in a Chinese sweatshop for 50 years; there is nothing “amazing” about them. So please stop using “amazing” for anything mildly above average. People who are constantly “amazed” are low-IQ folks.
Also, when you order in a fast-food place in front of me, do not start every order with “Could I have… a Big Mac?” Of course you can. Just step up and say, “Big Mac, please.” No one ever tells you that you cannot have a Big Mac. It is not a question to the server, it is your order. Be quick, precise, pay and get out of us older folks’ way -- we do not have much more time to live.
Lastly, you know how both men and women use the word “literally” way too often? Please stop.
“Literally” is a crutch word, one used when you are trying to bring emphasis to an otherwise boring story about yourself. I heard a guy say the other day, “It was literally raining cats and dogs.” Now unless there was an explosion at the humane shelter, this cannot “literally” be true. For “literally” to work, what you are saying must have a figurative meaning that is actually happening. That does not occur in every other sentence, like when you are telling a story about you and your roommate, Skeeter, going to a concert.
If you use it too much, you can join a literary society: Americans Who Figuratively Use Literally, or A.W.F.U.L.
I blame our expensive, non-judgmental colleges that have been dispensing terrible educations for decades. If you are willing to borrow stupid amounts of money in student loans and pay these dope colleges, they will pretend to teach you anything. Cal Berkeley’s Language Department even offered – and I am not kidding here – HBO series Game of Thrones fictional language courses: “Dothraki for Students.” They are great courses if you are minoring in English and majoring in Letting Your Parents Down.
Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author, and TV/radio commentator; you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.
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