There is a message that I need to get out to the world: We are destroying the beauty of written English.
I'm not talking about using impact
as a verb. I don't care about that. I mean, festoon
was a noun for two centuries before it became a verb. I'm pretty happy with a lot of nouns that have become verbs. Language evolves.
I don't care about business jargon or self-help talk, either. And I won't even get into using literal
. I'm talking about something more insidious.
Let me explain before I identify the problem. Two words, in particular, stick in my craw because I hear them all the time: historical and inspirational.
These two words have nearly replaced historic
in popular culture, and pop culture is where we get used to using words. Once we grow accustomed to their use in everyday use, the devolution of the written language begins.
You may not think these words are too bad or a sign of the decline of English, but they clutter the language
with extra letters, sounds, and syllables that writers don't need when they seek clarity.
Is one suffix not enough? Do more syllables make people feel smarter?
I know historical and inspirational are actual words
, but epidemical
is supposedly a word, too. We never use it because it's an adjective, just like epidemic
. So when something becomes widespread