08 May 2021

The Writer Expounds On A Number of Topics Related to Complaining, Grammar and Language and Briefly Mentions His Day

This is a photo of a moose in the snow. It's not related to anything I wrote, I simply like it.

People who complain all the time give me a royal pain. Royal pain is of kingly ancestry. Someone who is a real pain, or a real jerk or a real asshole is genuinely so. They are not a fake pain or pretend jerk or a pseudo asshole.

Anyway, complainers simply complain too much. People have often complained about me complaining too much bit they’re complainers. 

Here’s something I saw — not for the first time — a high school athlete who’d received a scholarship offer, tweeted it: “I am beyond blessed….”

You can be “beyond” blessed? Wow.

The best definition I found for being blessed is “divinely or supremely favored; fortunate.”

You can go beyond that? If you’re divinely favored that means God herself has done you a solid. There’s something “beyond” that? Do tell.

It reminds of something else I’ve mentioned previously on this blog. When someone says that they would be “more than happy” to help or do something. Elated? Ecstatic? Overjoyed? Frankly, I never believe anyone who says that they’d be more than happy to help. I don’t always believe it when a person says that they’d be “happy” to help. I’ll accept that they wouldn’t mind helping. But really, does make you “happy?” Maybe. But if it makes you "more than happy" maybe you need to re-evaluate your life.

Not to change the subject but here’s something I came across today: A male praying mantis often continues mating after its partner has bitten its head off. I can totally see that. If my head were bitten off during sexual congress I’d keep plugging away. After all you’re not going to live much longer so why not go out doing what you love?

Okay, back to language. Just. Another overused word. I should know, I overuse it constantly and am thus constantly going back over my writing searching for the word just and usually removing it. Sometimes you need to say “I just had breakfast,” because you finished moments ago. But usually, “I had breakfast” will suffice. You most certainly don’t need the just in, “we just watched a movie last night.” Also unnecessary in, “I’ll just have coffee.” Or more common example, “I just want to talk to you about it.” 

Here’s another one: really. What’s the difference between “I like that song” and “I really like that song.” Not enough to justify the really. You can use really to modify something if you’ve been challenged. If someone says that you must be kidding about like a TV show you are well within your grammatical rights to say, “I really like it.” But really doesn’t work as a modifier. It really doesn’t.

People from the UK often modify things with quite. (Truth be told some Americans do as well but not to as great a degree.) “I quite enjoyed our dinner.” “He’s quite an amusing chap.” It’s essentially no different than really, except it sounds much classier. But a word sounding classy is no excuse for overusing it. 

Another word our British friends use more often than Yanks is “indeed.” It too is often superfluous but again classy sounding. I have no problem with “thank you very much indeed.” It’s an emphasis. It means you’re not giving a perfunctory thank you or being polite, it means you are genuinely grateful. That’s okay in my book. Still, indeed can be done to death. Indeed it can.

At the beginning of one of the sentences in the last paragraph (guess which one) I originally had the word, “actually.” It was not needed and actually rarely is. At least relative to how often you see it. To wit: “Actually, we’re going to meet in room four today.” What the hell is the “actually” doing in this sentence? I actually don’t know.  

It’s akin to “some” as in, “I’m going out to get some lunch.” Why is the “some” there? Of course getting lunch is better than “grabbing” it, which people do with increasingly frequency these days. But I’m not going to go on my eighty-seventh tirade about the word grab, at least not today. I was talking about some. “I’m going to meet some friends tonight.” By saying “some” are you assuring us that you are not seeing all of your friends? It’s perfectly okay to say, “I’m going to meet friends tonight.” Maybe when you meet them you’ll have “some dinner.” Dinner is sufficient.

People use extra words in the same way that they say, “uh” “um” “ya know” and other types of verbal extras. The worst is people who append statements with, “ya know what I mean?” Listen, pal, if I don’t know what you mean I’ll be sure to say, “I don’t know what you mean.” Otherwise you can assume I’m good.

This is Lily James. Because she's cute.
As I write this it is a few minutes after four on a Saturday afternoon. It’s been an interesting day. A trip to see my oldest nephew and youngest niece to give them copies of my novel started things off. My niece did the cover art for the book and my nephew was my fishing consultant, so they got freebies. They live in different units of the same duplex with their spouses and children. I thus — with the wife — was afforded the opportunity to see five children and two spouses as well. The young ‘uns range in age from two to seven-and-a-half. Fun ages. Except for the drives there and back it was a nice trip. (I could have written really nice — but I didn’t.)

After coming home for a bit, the missus dropped me at the University of California, Berkeley Optometry Clinic where I picked out a pair of reading glasses. That was easy. For reasons I can’t fathom they love to tell you how much money your insurance saved you. 

Our next trip (yup, three) was to mail back a couple of DVDs to Netflix and pick a book being held for me at the library. The book will be used for research purposes as I continue work on my next novel (it’s years away, so check back).

The day accomplished a lot but it’s been in fits and starts and I was a bit out of sorts and not altogether happy because it is too hot for my liking. What was I to do? Write, of course.

And you’ve now read the fruits of that writing. Congrats!

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