Sunday, January 07, 2007

Most overused words

It seems that to get your fifteen minutes of fame in the newspaper, all you have to do is disparage a few words or expressions. So here goes:

2007's most overused word:

T h*

What a stinker of an article. We've been using it for almost 800 years, and frankly I'm sick of it. And it's not just that people throw it willy-nilly in front of almost every noun. They're actually doing more of it. I mean, back in Old English, you had a whole host of articles to appease your every whim:

Masc. Fem. Neut. Plural
Nom. se seo þæt þa
Acc. þone þa þæt þa
Gen. þæs þære þæs þara
Dat. þæm þære þæm þæm
Inst. þy, þon -- þy, þon --

There's choice for you. Not just one monotonous definite article over and over, but a range of delightfully subtle variation. Unlike today's so-called "modern" English! Oh, no! Lazy, lazy, lazy--that's what we've become. Everything is determined by this blandest of words, usually pronounced without even a real vowel, just lowly schwa, hardly more than a tired grunt.

Indeed, it's time to pluto it. No more T-word! Its bandwagon is timeworn and overburdened. Jump, I say. There are over 50 other determiners in English and it's time to give them their head unencumbered by this hackneyed lexeme.

(This post is T-word free)

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