Our language is disintegrating as we speak.

The same warning applies as in Part 1 of this series! This post may not be suited for the faint-hearted language-lover. Here’s more grammatical and conversational pet peeves from my “To be honest with you…” post–equally as stunning as the first batch. Keep your comments coming. I don’t see an end in sight. Is that a good or bad thing?

  • Filler words that become conversational distractions: like, really, anyway, totally, absolutely. Person 1 says, “Anyway, I’m, like, really upset that, like, this totally cool guy is so totally into cars that he, like, doesn’t even notice me.” Person 2 responds, “For real?” Person 1, “Absolutely, like, really!” Person 2, “That’s, like, totally wrong.” Anyway, the conversation ends because a text is coming in from Totally Cool Guy. Like, really.
  • Can I ask you a question?: You just did. Moving on…
  • “It is what it is.”: I’m sure some inspirational guru uttered these words to truly devoted followers thirsty for The Truth, and they drank from that fountain. There is wisdom in accepting situations and people as they are. But this phrase has become some people’s standard reply for any complaint, issue, or comment–and it can sound less like divine wisdom and more like “I don’t else to say.” Person 1 seeking sagely advice: “I feel fat.” Sagely advisor: “It is what it is.” Person 1: “But I really have a problem with food.” Sagely advisor: “Ah, I see. But it is what it is.” Person 1: “I don’t think you’re getting this. I might get diabetes and none of my clothes fit.” Sagely advisor: “I’ve listened carefully to your woes. I have one more piece of advice to offer regarding your many troubles: they are what they are.” Person 1 downs a bag of Doritos.
  • Incorrect use of the word literally: “I ran into my ‘ex’ at the restaurant last night. It was so awkward. I literally died!” Unless I’m a medium and I’m speaking to your disembodied spirit, I believe you meant to say you figuratively died. But that sounds as awkward as running into your “ex,” so just say, “I could have just died!” That way, you can be accused of melodrama rather than language-slaughter.
  • “You’re kidding me!”: When I tell someone about an experience I’ve had, especially a difficult experience, I often get the response, “You’re kidding me!” It sounds like they are saying, “No way, that couldn’t be true.” Here’s a real-life example. I had brain surgery to remove a tumor, which was benign, but still a big deal. When I tell people I had brain surgery, a very common response is, “You’re kidding me!”Trust me, I can think of better things to joke about. That response is one of surprise and, I suppose, better than saying, “You don’t look like someone requiring brain surgery.” I wonder what people  who need brain surgery look like?
  • “Bless her heart” when used as a back-handed insult: The bloggers who mentioned this one said this one was a Southern colloquialism, but here’s how it goes: “She’s had her hands on more young men then an army doctor, bless her heart!”

Anyway, there’s literally tons more of these…