1. Talking in superlatives is the worst. Stop it. When we say something is the best, worst, greatest, biggest, and so forth, we minimize the rest of the world, which in turn undermines the very point we are trying to make. There is only one superlative of a category of things. So, unless you genuinely believe that meal was the worst, that person was the smartest, or that product was the best, maybe try a little harder and express what you think about it specifically. Speaking in superlatives is lazy and it is making us dumber – in time, probably the dumbest. Hail to the chief!
2. Finite terms are finished. They’re over. Unless someone has died, something has truly been destroyed, or a quantifiable time has irrevocably passed, we should stop saying things - and particularly people - are “finished”. We should stop dramatically asking “is this the end of…” seemingly anything and everything almost every day, and alternately resist over-selling the comeback when nothing or no one was ever actually gone. Life is a perpetually unfolding process that should be reflected in the language we use to describe it. We’ve killed the idea of time and lost our own control of how we express it. But, I bet the comeback story will be the best!
3. Hyperbole is ruining our lives. Literally. If we want to resist the current language zeitgeist, we can start by speaking in clear, honest, and direct terms and simply say what we mean. (I know: how boring!) We can stop, for instance, using “literally” to dramatize the figurative nature of what we are actually saying. Let’s make actual content the point of what we say. Information. Ideas. Questions. Let’s be literal and figurative, and know the difference. Everything doesn’t need drama to make a point or to prove its value. And, surely we shouldn’t accept drama itself as the point or value. Nothing “broke the internet.” Speak like a human, not like a headline.
Thanks for your indulgence.
Speak well, my friends.
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