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!