47. Overused and abused expressions that make little or no sense:
I have always admired the command of the language enjoyed by our founding fathers. They obviously placed immense importance on the value of their words. Just one example are the words of our first President, George Washington: “There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” How I wish my mind was capable of such eloquent prose. While my literary abilities are substandard by any measure I found the devolution of Americaneze quite disgusting. One rather recent habit is the use of the word “So” to begin a sentence. A couple of items that have been around for decades are the use of the words “you know” and “like”. Example: “I was, like, blown away at the concert last night, you know.” “I’m not sure if what you are telling me is true but I will find out.” We accept the meaning of the words “find out” in this context but……!! In the same vein we often attempt to “figure it out”. How often do we intend to “fix it” or to organize our “stuff”. I “will be there “on the dot”. I think your opinion is “spot on”. That car can “turn on a dime” I am “pretty sure” (or “sure alone as in “Are you sure”?). How about ending sentences in a dangling preposition? Where are you from”. Or the habit of ending a sentence with the word “then”, especially after the word “ok”. You “get” the idea!