Maybe I am getting old. I remember a time when TV and water were free and porn cost money. 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 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 when Elton John was married to a woman, interview you for a job, the use of the word “like” as some filler crutch word is maddening to us. And when done in a high-pitched, nasal, Kardashian-Valley Girl way, it’s akin to torture. 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 it.
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 it.
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 fifty 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.
The words “like” and “amazing” tend to be used by young women. For some reason, the men of this generation have taken to ending their sentences with a groan or a tapered-off grunt. I’m not sure why that started happening, but it also is annoying. Please stop.
Maybe it is a primal noise whereby modern-day men, neutered in college by the system, become wussified men seeking to reclaim some sort of caveman-like aura. Look guys, you like to grow beards now, but you cannot change a tire or drive a stick shift car. So stop it with the faux-macho/Mumford and Sons persona. We ain’t buying it.
Lastly, you know how both men and women use the word “literally” way too often? Please stop.
“Literally” is a crutch word 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 every other sentence 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.
Please do not let the words “like,” “amazing” and “literally” get used as often and in the manner they are. It is just plain annoying.
I blame these expensive, non-judgmental colleges we have which have been dispensing terrible educations for decades. To do well at these liberal colleges or to eat in a Washington D.C. restaurant today, you have to be a Liberal. Democrats have not made going to college so difficult or denied so many access to restaurants since the 1960s.
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 offers — 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 who appears on Fox and CNN, you can reach him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or Twitter @RonaldHart.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.