A grumble

I’m in ‘grumpy old man’ mode, and feel like a rant. And the thing I’d like to take issue with is . . . the word ‘issue’. Time was when people would write or speak of ‘subjects’, ‘topics’, ‘matters’, ‘faults’, ‘questions’, ‘problems’, ‘difficulties’ and so on. Now, every bloody thing – whether it’s a software defect or a political crisis – is an ‘issue’. It’s a perfectly good word, of course; but why impoverish the language when there are so many alternatives?

While on language – why can’t people say ‘yes’ any more? Nine times out of ten it’s ‘absolutely!’ – which takes four times as long to say and is quite unnecessary.

Also, why has the verb ‘to say’ fallen into disuse? It’s all “and he goes . . .” or “and I’m like . . .”, neither of which seems to make any sense to me. Not that anyone is going to care what I think – or ‘go’.

A final conundrum. Can anyone tell me why Clark Gable, speaking his last line in “Gone with the Wind” (“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”) stressed the word ‘give’ instead of the ‘damn’?

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1 Response to “A grumble”


  1. 1 Joan Butler July 22, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I’m as pedantic as are you in the matter of language but I have to make allowances in the matter of ‘absolutely’. It’s only the most recent in the ever-changing need for superlatives that are necessary to imply total agreement. Precisely. Utterly. Totally. Definitely. These have fallen into lesser use but no doubt will return when Absolutely has run its course. Am I right? Verily.


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