Actually, it's hard completing actual sentence
By LARRY WOODY
Every year there’s a tiresome phrase or over-worked catch-word that worms its way into our cultural dialogue.
It’s usage has actually become so common-place that it can actually drive you nuts. (See? Even I’m actually doing it now.)
It’s not just over-used in everyday conversation; even TV newsmen and commentators can’t manage to complete a sentence without using “actually.”
I don’t actually know why everybody started using ‘actually’ in every sentence, and I actually don’t give an actual hoot -- except that, actually, it’s irritating.
Back in the Dark Ages when I was in journalism school we were taught to avoid littering our missives with such deadwood verbiage, but apparently (actually?) that’s not the case nowadays.
One my grumpy old professors delighted in taking a red-grease pencil to my literary submissions and striking out all extraneous words.
When I’d get my papers back, they would look like they had been dipped in red ink. More words were X-ed out than were left in.
Professor Grump also detested cliches, even in weather reports. How come, he wondered, we never heard of golfers using hail-sized golf balls?
It was painful to see my purple prose drawn and quartered like a turkey at Thanksgiving -- I’ll bet he wouldn’t have slashed Keats’ feature on coed bikini beach volleyball like that -- but after I cooled off I had to admit the stuff read much better. Well, shorter, anyway.
That’s what’s wrong with journalism today. We need more grumpy old professors armed with red grease pencils.
Back in the old days, if someone had dared turn in a paper liberally sprinkled with useless, trifling words like “actually,” my old professor would have melted down an entire box of red grease pencils X-ing them out. I actually believe that.
I realize that, compared to famine and pestilence and the designated-hitter rule, the over-use of “actually” is not that big a deal at the window of the world’s Complaint Department.
But that still doesn’t keep it from actually driving me nuts.