Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Foul Language

The need to exaggerate, to have the biggest, best, ugliest, meanest, bugs me.  I don't like the inherent dishonesty, but the effect on the English language is the thing that really gets under my skin.  It dulls and mutes the expression of genuine sensation until meaningful words are rare.

I giggled, I was amused, I laughed my head off, I was hysterical.
Hysterical?  Really?  I think and hope not.

I was surprised, I was shocked, I literally fell over backward.
Literally?  Do you have photos?

I have a word under my skin right now.  Appalling.  In my mental dictionary, it does not refer to high gasoline prices or Sister Theodora's slip showing in church on Sunday.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with someone's social miscue or a problem with a telephone customer service representative.

I have heard appalling things this week.  Appalling is devastating, horrific.  Appalling leaves no room for words or thoughts - it overwhelms and consumes.

Appalling changes everything.

I'm going to go ahead and post this one, even though I'm dissatisfied with it.  I just need to say it - it's been in my thoughts too long.  I will add, though, that nothing appalling has happened to me.  Have mercy, Lord.


  1. I don't know how you can bear to read what I write.

    I am a frequent slave to hyperbole.

    Apologizing for my past and future offenses in this area! There WILL be more.

  2. Susan! I've never noted exaggeration in your writing unless it had a literary purpose.

    Sounds so noble, doesn't it? ;)