We live in an age of hyperbole. “Amazing”, “incredible” and “wow!” are among the most glaring examples of over-used words.
“Great” and “fantastic” are proclaimed when “good” would do nicely. “LOL” has replaced a smiley face, and “thank you” usually comes with “very much” attached, even if the sender doesn’t (really) mean it.
But nothing is worse than “unbelievable”, because in most cases the thing described as impossible to believe actually isn’t. At all.
From play-by-play announcers describing a great catch or a homer deep into the bleachers, to friends and relations talking about the silly things their pets do, we are surrounded by “unbelievable” from all quarters.
Unbelievable is used as click-bait. As in “The unbelievable reasons why your posts aren’t popular” or “The unbelievable reasons dog owners give up their pets revealed.”
The unbelievable number of times that “unbelievable” is mentioned in conversation is part of a larger problem. Simple, plain speech has been replaced by words that often come in CAPITALS or with an exclamation point attached.
We are shouting at each other rather than speaking softly with modesty and simplicity.
The first senior editor I worked for in a radio newsroom decades ago told me to avoid using overly-inflated words. Write in short sentences, using clear and concise language. Watch out for unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, he told me.
It was good advice then and now. (Here’s a good source for writing and speaking tips).
Let’s hope that 2018 turns out to be a year that we can believe in.
Image: Credit Typorama.