~ special to The Chronicles ~
Comes Now the Cranky English Major
...with more observations on current language fads. I’d been holding this in for a while until I heard four talking heads say “nothingburger” twenty times in five minutes. This is apparently repeating a Republican’s response to Russian interference investigations.
Have you noticed that interviewers can no longer take “yes” for an answer? At least interviewees can’t answer “yes” anymore. Now it’s “absolutely,” or less often “exactly,” rarely “yes.” It’s as if they are empowered and aggrandized by speaking these facts.
Why is everything suddenly a “project?” No more jobs, tasks, chores or repairs. Home Depot and everyone else has what you need to complete your “project.”
When did pickup trucks become “professional grade?” What the hell does that mean?
Think I’m consuming too much media?
Now people are continually “getting ahead of their skis.” This seems to have started in the last few months. Will it last as long as “jumping the shark?”
Have you noticed that British speakers have abandoned the subjunctive tense? They brought it with them 400 years ago and left it behind. It’s still used in stock expressions such as “as it were,” a phrase that illustrates the utility of the tense. “As it was?” No, you are not referring to something that used to be.
Bill Murray’s character in the film “Scrooged” is with one of the ghosts eavesdropping on his brother’s Christmas gathering when his brother says, “If my brother was here.”
“No, James,” Murray observes, “If my brother were here. Subjunctive tense.”
British speakers would now say exactly what James said.
Finally, I haven’t noticed any new sports jargon, no new “leaving it all on the court” or “making plays in space.” But there’s one that’s been around for years and still has me talking back to the radio.
That’s when there’s two outs in the ninth and the announcer refers to the hitter for the team that’s behind as their “last hope.”
When he walks, extending the inning, what’s the next hitter? The afterlife?
When they say “down to their last out,” the ground is a little firmer, but was Yogi unable to teach them that “it ain’t over till it’s over”? If they tie the game they have an infinite number of outs left.
In the longest game to date, in 1920, between the Braves and Dodgers [then Brooklyn Robins] there were 30 innings with an additional 63 outs after the last out in the ninth. The game never actually ended, by the way. It was declared a tie.
Ellis is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved...