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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold

Go Ahead [not]

Dear Hearts: Of late, it has come to my attention that this Happy Heart Writer has developed quite the list of linguistic pet peeves. No, this is not a rant, per se, but simply a sharing if you will - something that has been on my mind.

I find myself slightly irritated these days at extraneous words and / or phrases, primarily attached to spoken sentences. Here are a few samples: Go ahead and . . .[take a seat, write your name, etc.] - Typically used prior to some sort of instruction or directive. At church, recently, I counted this phrase having been said at least seven times. Not only is it irrelevant, the directive denotes “giving permission”.

. . .and everything - usually tacked onto the end of a sentence.

Like - yes, more than ever, this one is still an overused insert . . . since the ‘80’s.

Know what I’m sayin’? - another end-of-sentence tack on.

Just sayin’ - tacked on at the end of a diatribe or monologue; as if the fragment of a declaration

adds any validity to the rant. In fact, take “just” out of your vocabulary altogether.

Ya know - another ‘80’s carry over.

Up - Yes, I said “up”. As in “Let’s meet up”, when “Let’s meet” is sufficient.

There are many more, but you get the gist.

None of these phrases / words are necessary! And although they mostly show up in speech, some also have already crept into the written word via social media and other communicative outlets.

Superfluous words - whether spoken or written - are not only unnecessary, they are annoying. It’s not cool, adds no value whatsoever, and even makes a person sound downright dumb; similar to inappropriate coarse language, (by coarse language, I mean expletives in conjunction with every other phrase, used as the only adjective some folks can muster), adding meaningless words to communication is simply another bad habit.

Who needs it? Now, Dear Hearts, you may be thinking it doesn’t matter, that additional irrelevant words are simply a product of pop culture, and not a “thing”.

Mayhaps, but I see it seeping into other areas as well; I’ve heard them on TV talk shows and even the news.

I do a bit of public speaking from time to time. And I write for public speakers once in a while. One of the most effective tools used in public speaking is to be as succinct as possible; the “less is more” ideology works best in order to impress your point upon the audience. Maybe this is why immaterial information - even if it is simply a couple of words - gets on my last editorial nerve. Recently, I attended a summit which included some heavy-hitting professional communicators. Most of them did not use unnecessary speech. However, the few who did were not as effective; even though their ideas might be stellar, their lackluster communication style failed to drive home their most dynamic thoughts.

Don’t worry, though. These little annoyances do not keep me from remaining a Happy Heart Writer. Although this post may seem like a rant, it’s actually meant to be a simple word of caution.

Moral of the story, Dear Hearts: Give thorough thought to your speech and written word before falling prey to societal habits which may cause you to appear less intelligent than you are. (And don’t get me started on vocal fry.)

You are not a sheeple.

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