Objectionable corners of the English language
2 phrases that thoroughly get my lexicographical hackles / heckles / feckles / schmeckles up (ignoring for a minute my favourite dead horse, the word “sorry”), are the following:
“Deeply”: the problem with rampantly overenthusing or overgravatising things is that when you go to actually express what you’re feeling you suddenly feel like you’re not quite giving it the credit it deserves. For example, the word “awesome”., defined as “inspiring awe or admiration or wonder”… when your travel agent asks “Do you want a window or aisle seat?”, and you indicate your preference, there’s a chance he/she may acknowledge your response with “OK, awesome”. Perhaps it is genuine wonder & admiration that somebody’s given them a clear & decisive answer, but more than likely it’ll be because that’s a word that everybody else uses to show enthusiasm, and they’ve merely applied a word with a dramatically inaccurate calibration. This sort of thing happens all the time – see also “iconic”.
Another way that a word loses currency with the public is when it’s used by a large company as a placatory measure which actually carries no weight. My specific example here is from when I used to catch the Silverlink train from Kensal Rise to Camden Town, and you would routinely have the disembodied-voice-on-the-pole “The next train from X to Y will be delayed by approximately Z minutes. Silverlink apologises for this late running and any inconvenience it may cause you.”, where Z reached its ridiculous maximum observed value of 77 over Christmas, which is bewildering for a train that’s meant to arrive every 15. The devalued word here is “apologises”, because it’s clear that all they’re doing is acknowledging that their service sucks without going so far as to doing anything about it, either by undertaking to fix it in future, or to offer you alternative solutions to remedy their fuckup.
One of the ways that people in the UK seem to have found to get around this is to demonstrate one’s seriousness by applying the modifier “deeply” – it’s a great word, because (especially in the context of seriousness) it sounds like you’re reaching even further, and it can be said in a deeper tone of voice which buys extra significance! Win! Trouble is, it sounds ridiculous when overapplied… but corporations and soforth have to apply it in order to give the impression that they actually mean their pre-recorded apologies (for example).
(this is just old-fashioned whining, incidentally – I’m not presently offering a solution)
“Due to”: again, here’s one that has a train-related context. When someone gives a reason for a particular thing happening (or, equally often, not happening), my rage-gauge shoots up to 15 when they apply the subordinating conjunction “due to”. The reason it disturbs me so much is that to me it appears to imply an abdication of responsibility for whatever is being discussed by placing the effecting clause into a passive tense.
A train example is “The airport express will be running a reduced service due to strike action at the station” – this is offering strike action as a justification, which implicitly says “and we don’t intend to do anything to offer our customers a workaround or alternate option, even though they’ve paid for our advertised service, which solely exists to get people from the station to the airport”.
Actually, I guess that’s exactly what a subordinating conjunction is really…
Well, this is going well.