Actually At Risk


Good morning Everyone!

Somewhere over the course of the last ten years or so, two phrases have steadily infiltrated American English to the point that they are becoming seriously irritating to me. especially when I hear them used by people on TV.  Those two phrases?  “Actually” and “at risk.”

“At risk” is a phrase promoted by the 24 hour news media crowd – after all, “Your child is at risk for measles” sounds exponentially more urgent than “one out of 1000 children catch measles each year.”  (None of the children in the United States should catch measles; they should be vaccinated against them instead.)  If I am told I am at risk for heart disease, flu or just catching a cold, I am instantly more concerned than if I am told that there is merely a chance that I could develop or catch the same thing.   What the people using that phrase don’t mention is that I am also at risk for winning the lottery, flying to the moon and winning the Nobel Peace Prize – but I’m not holding my breath for any of those things to happen soon, either!

“Actually” has become an overused meaningless filler word.  Most of the time, I hear “actually” in sentences such as “I actually went to the store and bought groceries.”  Well, yes, I assumed you did “actually” go to the store; I didn’t think you sent your evil twin instead.  I suppose there is the argument that “actually” is meant to indicate personal presence as opposed to “virtual” which would indicate that a person viewed or did something by computer, but most of the people who use the word interminably are not trying to be that precise.  I think people use “actually” now much in the way we used to say “ummm…” when we didn’t know what to say.  I think it’s time we stopped “actually” doing things, and simply started  doing them, but then that’s just me.

I, of course, catch myself using both phrases far too often

Because I am actually at risk for having to go to work today, I better close for now.

If you have any pet vocabulary or grammar peeves, I’d love to hear about them!

Here’s hoping that all of you are actually at risk for having a great day today!

Nancy

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5 responses to “Actually At Risk

  1. I actually read this …I mean I liked this…actually. 🙂

  2. Our granddaughter, 6, uses the word actually. Funny to hear a little one say it (she’s used it for a while now). Of course, she picked it up from some adult. My pet peeves are say “for free” and anyways. It’s just free – not for free and I anyway is not plural. Yeah, those things bug me 🙂

    • When my daughter was learning to read, one of the words she recognized easily was the word “free” which lead to a lot of misunderstanding – she’d see a sign in the grocery store that said “free” and assume that meant we didn’t have to pay for something – even if the sign really read “Buy one, get one free.” I haven’t heard “anyways” to very much, but you are correct; anyway is not plural!

  3. Pingback: Reaching Out | Tales from the Mom-Side

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