Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lolly actually does get her adverbs here.

This is actually a post.

In case you were actually questioning it.

Actually, what I'm writing about is the word "actually" and how we actually overuse it.

Though, I don't typically overuse it.  I try to use it appropriately.  Everyone else actually uses the word "actually" way too much.

And it's actually driving me bonkers.

Overusing "actually" is quickly becoming tops on my list of grammatical pet peeves.  It's not yet overtaken the loose/lose confusion that people can't seem to relieve themselves of, but it's actually fast on it's heels.  I think using hashtags in a non-Twitter format is also grammatically atrocious and quickly becoming a scourge in our written communications.

Let's explore the definition of actually, shall we?

1. In fact; in reality: That tree is actually a fir, not a pine.
2. Used to express wonder, surprise, or incredulity: I actually won the lottery!

When used properly, "actually" is actually an adequate descriptive!  When used improperly, the overemphasis actually makes your speech underwhelming.

Take, for example, the cooking segment I watch on a daily news program.  The chef was preparing a chicken salad sandwich with tomatoes on artisan bread.  It looked tasty and I might have copied the recipe, except when he cut it on the diagonal and presented it to the camera, he said, "This will actually make an excellent dinner!"

"Will it?" I asked him, annoyed, through the screen, "Will it really?"

The TV chef left me with two ways to think of his sandwich.  That it really is chicken salad and that it actually would be something a person could eat, or, that he's surprised that he could actually prepare a meal at all.  Either way, at least it wasn't egg salad, because while it's delicious, it stinks up your fridge if you have any leftover.

What I'm getting at here is that we all should try to say exactly what we actually mean and filling up our speech with hyperbole is a bad habit.

So stop it, ya looser.


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