How often do you hear or read something like this: "Actually, he had a good season playing for the team." While this may be heard in response to a specific suggestion he did not have a good playing season, actually it is often used with no such necessity.
There is not a more useless phrase in our language than "that being said." That being said, I will use it in this sentence. See how unnecessary it is? And yet, we hear it and see it in publications frequently. The writer makes a point, and having made the point, introduces a countervailing one. "That being said, there is no proof that extraterrestrials ever visited Graceland." How about simply "there is no proof that extraterrestrials ever visited Graceland," the end?
Younger folks bedevil us with "like" and "you know" until our eyeballs roll back in our head. Like, I do know - like - I really do, actually - you know - know. Oh, how well I know.
In other words, phrases such as "in other words" do not add anything to a sentence except bulk and distraction. In other words, do not use such connective language. It is unneeded.
I firmly believe such phrases are rooted in the requirement students have for papers or answers of a certain length. Who hasn't written something for class and discovered he or she needed to stretch the answer just a few more words? In other words, that being said, there is actually a real need to place those phrases and words within a paper.
Even phrases which have some utility can become trite and overused in the wrong hands. If someone is correctly pointing out the flaws in your argument, they are not making ad hominem attacks. If they say it ad nauseam, that can make you want to form an ad hoc committee to admonish offenders.
For the love of everything good, please do not use a word you do not know how to spell. We have spell check everywhere. It can tell you instantly that "per se" is actually a word, but "persay" is not. I do not like misspelled words, particularly when misused, per se.
Now comes the obligatory "when I was growing up" part. When I was growing up, language mattered. Teachers wanted us to learn it and we did learn it. Our teachers failed us if we did not learn it.
Thank you, Mrs. Chastain. Thank you, Mrs. Wooten. Thank you, Mrs. Irish. Thank you, Mrs. Williams. Thank you, Mrs. Seago. Thank you five English teachers from grades eight through twelve for teaching me something useful about our language.
© 2013, Jim “Pappy” Moore,
All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. email@example.com