When did everything become ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’? I blame the Americans

NB: Well spoke. I feel the same way about the use of ‘fuck‘ and ‘fucking‘ as force multipliers in speech, not to mention ‘shit‘ as in ‘get your shit together‘, etc etc. And as for ‘narrative‘ as a substitute for every verbal enunciation, including ‘version‘, ‘story‘, ‘account‘, ‘description‘, the less said the better. We can leave ‘discourse‘ alone, it has attained stratospheric heights. As has ‘like‘ as a surrogate comma or semi-colon, and even as a means of taking a breath. Does anyone say ‘spoke to’, ‘wrote to’, ‘asked’, ‘consulted’, etc., any more? Why is everyone always ‘reaching out‘, and ‘sharing‘? What glutinous treacle! What cringe-making rubbish! Shit! DS

Adrian Chiles

Amazing!” she said, as I handed her a tin of cat food. This was the young woman who looks after my neighbour’s cat when he’s away. I was running an errand. It’s nice to be appreciated, but the routine handing over of a tin of cat food is not, in anyone’s book, amazing. What if I’d bought half a dozen tins of cat food? How much more amazing would that have been? Or a dozen tins, a cat bed, a scratching post, and £500 in cash? “Amazing!” wouldn’t cut it; I suppose an “absolutely” would have had to go in front of it. If I threw in some high-end cat treats, I suppose that would necessitate doubling up the adverbs, with a “completely” or some such.

Where is language going? Once upon a time there would have been a “thanks” or “thank you” for the cat food. Bigger gestures might elicit a “thank you very much” and, on special occasions, a “thank you very much indeed” might have been wheeled out. Now the game’s gone, I tell you. We go straight to “amazing”. Or “awesome”. In both cases, as usual, I think we’re on safe ground blaming the Americans. They too, surely, are behind “thank you so much”. It’s now used so often that the “so much” adds nothing; it’s just a standard thank you…


Vagueness: the linguistic virus in spoken language in the late 20th century