It’s me, again! Your friendly neighborhood hyper-vigilant narcissist, Ed, here with another lesson on how not to be perceived as an idiot. This week, we’ll explore "The DIFF" between speaking like you have an education, and exhibiting the conversational skills of P. Diddy.
Our language has been devolving at an alarming rate. Society is making up new words and phrases for unknown reasons. I’m not referring to false contractions like, "gonna," which has no reasonable reference to the two words of which it is supposedly a contraction, "going" and "to," because it actually simplifies speech, using fewer letters and syllables. I’m talking about complete bastardizations of our language where people have added letters or words to create new, useless phrases that further complicate our communication process. It’s only natural that a language should compress as it ages.
A less verbose world is a better, more efficient world for everyone, so
if you need to shorten your statements by using colloquialisms that
make it easier for me to quickly understand the usual nonsense you
sputter, then please, by all means, have at it. But if you plan to add
unnecessary letters, words and phrases to your diction, I should not be
expected to take you seriously. Following are a
few examples of our ever-expanding vocabulary.
"Whole-nother" What was so wrong with, "whole other," to require the
creation of such a ridiculous substitute? Look carefully! "Whole other"
uses fewer letters, and more importantly, is a legitimate English
phrase comprised of two actual words!
"Where are you at?" Why are you adding the extra word, "at" to your
question? Why not simply ask, "Where are you?" In the same vein is, "I
have never been here before." Before what? Oh, before right now? Well,
thank you for clarifying.
- "Irregardless" What the hell is this? If I have to explain this one, you’re lucky you can read.
"I thought to myself…" This one always makes me laugh. I suppose one
day, millions of years in the future we might communicate
telepathically, but for now, if you just say "I thought," I’ll assume
you were the only one who got the message.
- "Just so you know…" If you want to tell me something, just tell me! Don’t tell me that you’re going to tell me something.
- "But let me ask you this!" Just ask!
- "Whether or not…" Yeah, I know – you always wondered. Well, it’s just "whether."
There’s math and logic to language. A statement is like an equation. It
all makes sense; a double negative cancels itself, pronouns represent
variables, and in the cases above, adding something with no value, is
the equivalent of multiplying by zero, yielding zero, and nullifying
the credibility of the speaker. There are hundreds of examples, and I
could go on for pages, but, practicing what I preach, I’ll spare you
any further admonishment, as I think you get the idea.