Speech That Drives Me Crazy

   The smiling young waiter was taking our order. “I’ll have the veggie burger with cheddar and mushrooms.”
   What I want to say at this point is, “No, that’s not awesome. Neil Armstrong stepping onto the moon is awesome. The Grand Canyon is awesome. And in a different way, the threat of nuclear war is awesome. A veggie burger, even with cheddar and mushrooms, is most definitely not awesome.” Instead, I grit my teeth and say nothing.
   We seem to be in an era when hyperbole has become king and when the original meanings of words are getting lost.
Then, other words are losing meaning entirely. A good example of this is “basically”, which seems to be used ever more frequently and with ever decreasing relevance to the subject at hand. It’s “basically this,” and “basically that,” and “basically I,” and on and on.
   Then, there’s just plain misuse. People say “literally” when they mean “figuratively”. “Mitigate” when they mean “militate”. (Yes, I’ve harped on the mitigate/militate confusion in a past posting.)
   There is a difference between dynamic evolution of language and simple unthinking and ignorant usage, and there’s little excuse for the stuff we’re increasingly hearing. Call me a curmudgeon, but I still find beauty in a well executed phrase and correct English usage. Moreover, I doubt sincerely that I’ll ever think of a veggie burger as awesome.


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