usingtherightwords

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Why Invent a New Word? We’ve Got A Perfectly Good One


A new word recently added to the Oxford Dictionary is binge-watch, which we know means — thanks to Netflix and other streaming-video services — watching multiple episodes of a TV show, such as “Breaking Bad.”

I don’t have a problem with people doing this — heck, I’ve done it, not just with “Breaking Bad” but “Lost” and “Sherlock” and “Parks and Recreation” and “Mary Tyler Moore” and “Scooby-Doo” and “Laugh-in” and “24” and …

But I digress.

The problem I have is with the term binge-watch. It’s completely unnecessary. We already have a word to describe this behavior: binge, which means “an unrestrained indulgence.”

I can even use binge in a sentence: Last night, my wife and I went on a “Breaking Bad” binge: We watched the entire fifth season.

So, stop it, Oxford Dictionary. Stop adding unnecessary words — especially words that include the word we already have that perfectly describes what we’ re doing.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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August 28, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Like, Let’s Talk About “Like”


People have used the word like in several different ways for hundreds of years. My dictionary lists nine entries for like: as a noun, verb. adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection.

I want to address like as an interjection. It’s the ninth listing and means “used chiefly in informal speech as a meaningless expletive or intensifier or to lessen the emphasis of a preceding or following word or phrase.”

It is this usage I object to so much. To me, it’s another way of saying, um or uh. It makes one sound less intelligent.

I remember when I was in college, the funniest thing I ever heard someone say was one sorority girl to another, “Well, do you, like, like him?”

If you go back to the original 1969 cartoon “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” you’ll hear Shaggy use like this way in probably every episode.

What I find interesting is that this usage dates back to 1778, which tells me it’s not going away.

I prefer that people simply say nothing instead of uttering like, uh or um. It takes discipline but can be done. And you’ll sound so much more intelligent.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

September 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hey, Gang, You Don’t Have to be Violent


It’s too bad we live in a society that causes us to associate a perfectly good word with something evil. Today’s case in point: gang.

When I was a child watching “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” the character Fred often referred to Daphne, Velma and Shaggy as “gang:” Well, gang, it looks like we’ve got another mystery. So, I knew a gang was “a group of persons working together,” which is one of my dictionary’s definitions of the word.

The word actually goes back to the 12th century and means “a combination of similar implements or devices arranged for convenience to act together.”

But somewhere along the way, gang developed a bad rap. Blame the Crips and Bloods if you must (though there are so many others), but gang too often means “a group of persons working to unlawful or antisocial ends, esp. a band of antisocial adolescents.”

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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