Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The abuse of adjectives!

How much of the news on TV is actually 'Breaking'?
How can every performance become 'Amazing'?
How can every government be the 'Worst'?
Who ever invented adjectives would surely be turning over and over in his grave!
It is so confusing to note that every single description becomes superlative. What has ever happened to the other degrees of comparision in English?
Actually, this article is targeted at myself. I just realized that I have been using adjectives left, right, and centre without actually thinking whether they are apt. The simple rule is that the sentence should stick - that's it! And not just me, everyone in sales will agree that the usage of superlatives is the most common way to go. Recently, we saw a small road side dhaba which advertised that it sold the 'Best Punjabi food in India'! There are thousands of brands which give you the 'Best value for your money! There are dozens of 'Simply the best's' around. 
Now, this usage of adjectives is not meant to be grammatically correct. It is just that it needs to be there - that's all.
Writing sales copy has become so much a part of life that everyday English also has taken the same form. A movie is either extra-ordinary or is horrendous. There is a vague 'alright' in between, and all the other adjectives can go take a hike.
The difference between synonymous words such as 'Excellent, Marvellous, Extra-ordinary, Outstanding, Superb, Stupendous, Ultimate, Amazing, Spectacular, Fabulous, Fantastic, Tremendous, Exceptional, Magnificent' and such words has become so blurred that dictionaries should consider taking off some of the words - since they anyway don't mean anything different! 
It is probably because of this merging of words that the first degree words are making a serious come back. Simple words come with a pre or a post script and they become the best adjective. Phrases like 'Seriously Good' and 'Beautiful, really!' have gained a better value than the flowery words mentioned above.
With everything becoming sensational, this can only go one way! God save us from our English!!

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