If I hear an awards show red-carpet doyenne say “Your gown is amazing” one more time, I think I will puke on my tray-table. How about “terrific” or “magnificent” or “stunning”? How about getting a thesaurus?
Your vocabulary is probably better than the average reality-show star, but if, you know, you are addicted to “amazing,” or find yourself, like, OK, wanting to, like, break some of your, uhm, bad speech habits, this post is for you.
Maybe you think you have no annoying speech habits. Put that to the test by asking friendly folks you live, work or hang out with if that is true. Try to choose a mix of generations and backgrounds. Even if everyone in your circle thinks “go” is a synonym for “say,” that won’t help you avoid judicial scowls when you use that expression in oral argument.
Ask a friend to alert you when you say the offending term, assuming the setting is appropriate.
A colleague of mine agreed to raise a hand whenever he heard me say “OK,” which is my favorite filler. I did the same when he said, “Y’know.” I recently read about someone who effected this cure with a finger snap every time the other person used “like” as a filler.
Rehab for Your Writing Addictions
Your addiction may manifest in your writing, too. Curing word addiction in writing is easier, because you can take more time and revise word choices. George Gershwin probably didn’t need a thesaurus when he penned the lyrics “’S wonderful! ‘S marvelous!” But you should use one anytime you see the same word popping up all over your writing. Also, look for synonyms when you repeatedly see trite expressions like “amazing,” which have lost their punch due to overuse. An actual thesaurus, rather than just the thesaurus tool in your word processing program, will provide the widest range of synonyms.
Browsing the thesaurus today may help you speak and write better tomorrow.
Now I just need to find a cure for my awards show addiction.
Theda C. “Teddy” Snyder mediates workers’ compensation cases throughout California. An attorney since 1977, she has practiced in a variety of settings and is a frequent speaker and author on topics impacting settlement and the business of law. She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. Based in Los Angeles, Teddy can be found at www.WCMediator.com.
Illustration © ImageZoo.