Press-Republican

FYI...

November 4, 2013

12 words you should stop using right now

— If you want a list of words to incorporate into your conversation to make you sound more intelligent, this is not the place. Frankly, I am not sure what you hope to gain by working random Internet vocabulary words into your conversations. These lists always result in conversations in which you pause for a few seconds and then say, furrowing your brow with intense concentration, "Dang, that lady makes a fine crepitation! I'd like to show her a machicolation or two, or would I?" And that which never impresses anyone quite as much as you would like. Instead, here are a few to purge from your speech immediately:

12. Actually. when you mean to use "literally," when what you really mean is "figuratively" or "not literally."

As in the sentence "I ACTUALLY DIED." No, you didn't. I appreciate your effort to stop using "literally" in that position, but "actually" isn't an improvement.

11. Irregardless

This is not a real word. "Ah," you say, "but neither was jangle when Shakespeare got started with it!" Sorry, this is not sufficient. Have you written "The Tempest" lately? "No," you say, because apparently you are really going to get into this with me, "but I did write something that was AT LEAST as good as 'Cymbeline,' if not miles better." Was it really, though? Are you sure? I acknowledge that "Cymbeline" was terrible, but somehow I doubt your assertion.

I'm sorry. We don't need to get into this. Just stop saying irregardless.

10. Exacerbate, when what you want is aggravate, when what you want is irritate.

The English language gave up on dragging aggravate back to its original meaning "make worse," years ago, when even Dickens used it to mean irritate. This being said, exacerbate is not the word you want when you are trying to talk about how irritating something was. I know it sounds longer and fancier than irritate or aggravate, but you mean exasperate. Leave exacerbate at "make worse," where it belongs. There is nothing more exacerbating than someone saying, "It was just so exacerbating!" - at least in the sense that this sentence makes the whole language worse. (I've harped on this before.)

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