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Make Believe Language

March 5, 2021

Most of us use and pretend to understand our "Make Believe Language.” Many of the words and phrases wafted about in our speech are virtually meaningless, contradictory, and uninformative. This writer refers to them as “bad words” (and phrases) and herein highlights a very few.

Take the word “every” which is almost never used in its literal sense. One suggests that “every day” a company works hard to deliver quality. But we ignore the fact that the company is closed on Sunday, holidays, during hurricanes, etc. Another comments that “the city skyline literally changed overnight” —something that is preposterous hyperbole. Others comment that “everyone” does or believes something. But there is no way that some 7 billion plus people agree or do anything the very same way. Yogi Berra had a knack for illustrating the “silliness” with comments such as “Nobody goes there any more: It's just too crowded.”

Another word that is essentially abused and misused 100% of the time is the notion of "INFINITE” suggesting that a certain improvement is infinitely better than a prior technique. (But if Avogadro's number of 6.02 x 10231 is not infinite, essentially nothing that we compare on earth comes anywhere close.) Better to employ the word “innumerable” for very many.

News people incessantly sport the word “exact and “exactly” as when reminding an audience that the next person will explain “exactly” what happened (hardly realizing that one might describe virtually any phenomenon with millions of details and at hundreds of levels of abstraction. Similarly, one boasts that he will tell you “all about something hardly realizing that one can generate more than a million truthful statements about any one person let alone fully describing an event in less than a month i.e from historical, geographical, philosophical, physical, social, chemical and/or artistic point of view.