Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Posts Tagged ‘Language’

Trash words and garbage grammar: how uncritical language adoption eliminates nuance and weakens expression

In Language on September 10, 2021 at 8:32 pm

Neologisms and other changes are part of the way language evolves. But when such changes reduce your power of expression, your ability to communicate nuance, they should not be considered inevitable but should instead be resisted as linguistic rubbish.

There are three types of such waste that I’ve identified: trash words, garbage grammar, and hijacked slang.

Trash words

The monarch of trash words is “impact,” which reduces effect, affect, impression, influence, and more into one cartoonish, caveman word. Impact doesn’t just shrink the speaker’s option for nouns. Thanks to an amalgam of ignorance and pretension, we have “impactful” instead of important or influential. We have impacting, impactfulization, and even — as God is my witness– “impactfulizationality.” (OK, I made that last one up. But for just a moment you thought it was real.)

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