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ACTUALLY SUPERFLUOUS

8 January, 2012

Somewhere not far behind beginning declarative utterances with “So …” comes beginning with “actually.”  The word is appropriate, of course, when making a statement to correct an error in fact or assumption made by one with whom one is speaking, but it’s grating when used to begin every declarative sentence.

When asked, for instance, what one does for a living, saying “Actually, I’m a teacher,” begs the question of what misunderstanding was being corrected … or is it just that the teacher doesn’t want to be thought a liar?

It is neither correction nor preemptive correction, it’s just another sheep factor language fad.

It seems to me how one says something is darned near equal in importance as what one says.  I do know that for me, at least, ‘actually’ lessens the perception of authority in the user.

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2 Comments
  1. Grammar nerds, question for you! We split infinitives now, yes? Am I remembering correctly that No Splitting is an outdated rule?

    • The problem is that it is getting to where there are no rules, and meaning is lost. Yes … the rule is considered outdated but it is simply hound dog lazy to split infinitives, not to mention that it sounds clumsy when spoken. Thanks for taking the time to highlight my repeated point that there is a sheep factor involved. If enough people ignore grammar it begins to go away, and that’s just plain damned sad.

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