A Perfect Rant

Written By: catherinewells | Categorized In: Writing and Publishing

If you hang around writer-types for any length of time, you will eventually be treated to a rant on the decline of the English language.  We rant about everything from poor grammar to worse punctuation to loss and/or cheapening of vocabulary.  This is my contribution to the latter category.

Why is everything these days “perfect”?  I know what perfect means, and somehow, I don’t think it applies to my order in a restaurant.  Why is my order “perfect”?  What would make it imperfect?  Omitting the fries?  Ordering the wrong beverage?  And who is the server to tell me if my order is perfect or not?  Do they know who I am, or what I want or need?  Why are an evening’s plans “perfect”?  Could there be no better plans?  Does that make every evening that goes according to the plan a perfect evening?

“Perfect” has come to mean something other than “without flaw or defect.”  It has come to mean “appropriate” or “I approve” or even “that makes sense to me.”  Really?  So what do we say when we mean something is without flaw or defect?  Flawless?  (I swear, if a restaurant server tells me my order is flawless, I’m likely to get up and leave.)  What, now, is a perfect copy?  One that is an exact copy of the original?  Or simply one that’s appropriate to the situation?

We did the same thing to “awesome” back in the…80s?  It no longer means something that fills you with awe, it just means something you like.  We’ve taken the depth and the richness right out of it.  Diminished it.  Let’s go back to an adjective that is appropriate to the depth of feeling we have for things like plans to see a movie or an order for a cheeseburger.  Those things are not perfect.

They’re groovy.


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