Sometimes we get into a word rut. At least I do. I notice I’m using the same exclamations and phrases over and over and I start to annoy myself. A few years ago I made a conscious effort to stop saying “like” so much. It was difficult. The word “like” had brainwashed me for years. I had to concentrate on what I was saying, but I drastically cut down on my “likes.” In recent years, I have tried to start sounding like an educated adult person when I speak or write. Fake it ‘til you make it, right? I try to think about my words and how they reflect on my persona at work.
Remember that huge book that your teacher had in grammar school? That big, yellowed dusty book on a podium all by itself? No, not the Bible. It was that sassy know-it-all book called the dictionary. “Look it up” was a dreaded phrase from my schoolgirl years. Can’t you just tell me what the word “ignorant” means? Ugh! There are tons of words in that book that we are all welcome to use…for free! I won’t even start on the thesaurus! It makes me dizzy thinking about it. Here are a few phrases I am trying to weed out of my vocabulary and I think you should try it, too.
1. Awesome/Amazing. Here is a go-to phrase that I have heard a lot over that past, well several years. I’m guilty…I still say awesome, especially when I’m with younger people. It is rare that I bring out the word “amazing.” If you look up the definition in the Miriam-Webster dictionary, you will find that awesome means, ‘causing of feelings of fear and wonder.’ Here’s an example: Jesus rising from the dead. That was both awesome and amazing. Here’s another example, Kevin Richardson’s work with lions. Here’s a video you can watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNCzSfv4hX8 That’s pretty amazing, right? What I’m trying to say is that having a hot dog for lunch is pretty special, but not amazing. The swirly poo emoji is delightful, but it’s not awesome. Looking for alternatives to awesome/amazing? Here you go: stellar, cool, fun, trippy, good, nice, terrific, lovely, wonderful, impressive, grand…
2. Hilarious/Hysterical. I hear this countless times a day. From everyone. Granted, some things are genuinely hilarious. If you laugh until you cry, laugh about it again later and then laugh again the next day, that’s hilarious and possibly hysterical. I am lucky enough to laugh about many things during my day at work and at home, but I save the word hilarious for the over-the-top funny. Hilarious is the absolute top of the heap of funny, so not every kitten video you watch on YouTube is making you openly weep until you can’t breathe, is it? Save hilarious for a special occasion. While we’re on the topic, LMFAO is just bizarre. Who started that? It still counts as swearing, in case you didn’t know. ROTFLMAO…come on! There are so many words to use! Branch out! Try: funny, amusing, humorous, comical, witty, silly, goofy, outstanding, made me laugh/chuckle/giggle…
3. FML. In case you don’t know what this means, I’ll tell you. Cover your eyes, kids. It means “fuck my life.” You have the luxury of saying the entire phrase out loud or abbreviating to “fml.” Either way, it seems rather gauche to me. So, you got stopped at a red light. You were delayed by 2-3 minutes and you’re ready to claim your life is a miserable failure. Hmmm…that’s very serious, indeed. I’m merely asking you to think about what you’re saying here. If you’re living here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. you’re probably doing okay. You have a place to live, some food to eat regularly and at least one person who cares about you. With one little phrase, you’re going to poo-poo all of that because someone exchanged your regular coffee for decaf. Chris Farley video right here(sorry it’s a bit grainy, but you get the point.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Here are some alternatives: shit, crap, oh-no, shoot, dangit, ugh, wha??, zounds, bollocks, eesh, grrr…
4. RIP. If you’re like me, you enjoy scrolling through Facebook on a daily basis. It’s a great way to find out which of your friends are racist, extremely stupid or witty. Some of my friends hit all three of those within an hour. I digress. When a celebrity dies, Facebook lights up with RIP’s. Remember when you were a kid and you drew pictures of haunted houses? You drew gravestones in the front yard, right? What did you write on those gravestones? Yep, “RIP.” To be honest, I think the RIP thing is rather ghoulish, and not in a good way. It feels insincere to me, like when you grab a cookie from a co-workers desk and say, “Oh, is today your birthday? Well, happy birthday.” You don’t care if it’s Sally’s birthday, you want the damn cookie. Okay, you like a traditional sentiment, why not take the extra second and actually write, “Rest in peace?” It’s not great, but it’s better. An abbreviation is cold and flippant. If someone you care about or admire has passed away, say something kind and thoughtful and save the “RIP” for your haunted house drawing.
5. Epic. Here’s the definition of epic as found on dictionary.com: noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style. An epic is most easily described in the form of a poem or movie. For example, “Ben-Hur” is an epic film. “Gone with the Wind” is an epic film. My friend, Brian can tell you every epic movie ever made, as he’s seen them all. No need to ask him, he will tell you eventually. Epic is a cool word that we have ruined. Your lunch of hamburger, fries and a shake is probably pretty tasty, but I’m sorry, it’s not epic. Some alternative suggestions: so good, delicious (about your burger), phenomenal, fascinating, enlightening, pleasing
So, there you have it. Something to keep in mind as you form your sentences in the future. Stun your friends and family with some new and improved words to express your feelings and ideas. Maybe you can make “fetch” happen.