RE: Words That Are Often Misused

Subject: RE: Words That Are Often Misused
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>, Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
Date: Mon, 28 May 2012 15:14:24 -0400



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Chung
>
> I was thinking more about his disgust at the misuse of "ironic" to
> mean "coincidence" (ever since the Alanis Song). "Her death wasn't
> ironic, it was tragic. If her death somehow made you feel good, then
> THAT would be ironic."

And really, since when did every unfortunate or painful thing
become "tragic"?

See? THAT is loss of utility in the language. You can no longer
properly write that some event is tragic. No one will understand
you. They will 100% of the time assume that you mean merely that
the event was uncomplicatedly sad or unfortunate. The old meaning
of "tragic" and "tragedy" (as a professor of theater or literature
might mean it) is mostly lost.

If you wanted to convey the meaning, you'd need to quote the paragraph
of definition from a good dictionary, rather than use the word
itself.

Even a professor of theater or literature, reading your sentence
with "tragic" or "tragedy" would assume that you intended the
dumbed-down meaning, since that's what 99% of writers mean these
days. The modern users think the dumbed-down meaning of "tragic"
conveys more heft or sounds more impressive than "sad" or
"unfortunate" or "premature". Which is odd, since such shallowness
usually assumes that it's the physically bigger word, or the word
with an additional syllable, that makes the writer sound more impressive.

> And never use whom-anything unless referring to who as an object. The
> writers got that one wrong.

Bless you, my son. :-)


- k




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References:
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Peter Neilson
RE: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Ron Hearn
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: B.J. Smith
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Tony Chung
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: B.J. Smith
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Tony Chung
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Lauren
Re: Words That Are Often Misused: From: Tony Chung

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