Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Complexities of the English Language

With the undaunted and continuous reporting on every aspect of our world – both political and personal – as a result of the “twenty-four-hour-news cycle,” certain phrases appear again and again in our Media ad nauseum.   It isn’t just the “talking heads” who commit the sin of “pundit drivel.” It’s the supposed “experts” of all fields whom the pundits interview.  We are being proselytized on a daily basis to thinking in terms of the clichéd cliché.

Here are few that have come to make me cringe:  

“. . .having said that...”

“. . .that being said. . .”

“. . .at the end of the day. . .”

“. . .we’ll get to that on the other side. . .” (of the commercial break).

“. . .he allegedly. . .” (did something like cross the street).  

“. . .what were (are) your feelings. . .?” (asked of someone who can hardly speak because of being choked up with tears after a tragedy in their lives).

". . .sorry for your loss  . . ."

". . .what was going through your mind . . .? (when the gunman shoved the gun in your face). 

“. . . let’s DO this. . .”

“. . . be that as it may. . .”

“. . . so . . . “  (a word currently used to preface the answer to a question – Mike Morell should know better!)

“. . . like . . . “  (Oh, please, let’s get rid of this word used to begin a sentence or to fill a pause.  Like, I'd be over-joyed!)  

“. . . I know what the optics are. . .” The White House Staff uses “optics” a lot.  How about something like, “. . . I know how this appears. . .”

Appearances do matter and so do words.

My latest peeve, however, is the use of “complex” when the speaker means “complicated.”  Yes, the dictionary makes it sound like they are interchangeable.  However, there is a subtle difference in the connotation of the words.  In the case of the word “complex” the connotation is and has always been one of the following: containing multiple interconnected parts; a composite; multi-faceted; a complex system of something.  "Complicated," on the other hand, is not that complicated -- it connotes difficult to understand, analyze, explain or follow.

Am I the only one who gets rankled with the sloppy use of "I" and "me," "he" and "him" as well as "she" and "her?"  One should give it to "me;" therefore, one should also give it to "him and me" or "her and me."  Please don't let one give it to "her and I," since one would never give it to "I," would they?   I guess it's just me!  

Next up:  my rant on Pharmaceutical commercials.  I’ll bet you can’t wait!