In case you all are wondering about the pic on the left, it was one of the first that came up on a photo search for “cat biting shoe” on a site I use.  For whatever reason, not one pic on the first page of that search had an actual cat biting a shoe, oddly enough.  This was cute, though, so I decided to post it as a nice alternative.

On to the actual topic, which is the word “seriously”.  A couple of weeks ago I read a blog post someone wrote about clichés that should not be used in writing.  The word “seriously” came up on their list and for whatever reason this bothered me.  It has lingered in my mind ever since as the person (whose blog I can’t even remember anymore since I subscribe to several dozen) ranted for some time on this one word and how much they hated it.  So I’ve been monitoring how often it is used for both TV and books.  Just last Thursday on Vampire Diaries I heard Caroline use it (she actually says it a lot).  Today I was watching a re-run of House and he said it.  Does this make the word bad to use in a book?  In my opinion, NO!

Do we honestly have to cut out every single common word used in the English language so as to avoid an overused term?  How many people really do have a problem seeing and/or hearing this word?  Now, I am willing to concede using it too much in narrative might be over the top, but using once or twice in a novel for dialog shouldn’t be a problem.  That is how people talk and dialog should be true to life (within reason since some slang makes speech impossible to keep up with).  Some of you may be wondering if “seriously” is in anything I wrote?  No, it isn’t, to be honest.  I ran a search and checked, but I do use it in real life.  Therefore, it is only natural that situations may arise in the future where it would fit in my storylines.

This has led me to title my blog post the way I did and show my loyalty to the word.  Yes, it is technically an adverb, which gives it an extra grammar no-no, but I don’t care.  I’ve got my own pet peeves in writing, but I don’t expect everyone else in the world to avoid them to please me.  Sorry if this bothers anyone, but I hope you’ll understand there are some things that we have to get off our chests when it doesn’t seem to be going away on its own.

Now, here is your chance.  Is there a grammar rule you like to break or cliché word/phrase you like to use that makes you a rebel?  Go ahead, admit it, I won’t judge you.

~ by Suzie on February 22, 2012.

18 Responses to “Seriously?”

  1. I hate (is that too strong a word?) those grammar police who insist that “I couldn’t care less” is incorrect because it’s a double negative. I’ve heard “I could care less” touted as a substitute – and no! No! NO! It doesn’t mean the same thing.
    To me, “I could care less” means … well … what it says. “I don’t care for (whatever), but I COULD care less!”
    “I couldn’t care less” … It’s a contraction for “I could NOT care less” which to me means that there is absolutely no way I could have less feeling for the subject at hand.
    OK … head bowed, I humbly step off my soap box …

    • It’s funny you should bring that one up, PL. I had a history professor that went on for thirty minutes about that phrase and how wrong it was. Drove me crazy because, like you, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Makes perfect sense to me. The english language evolves over time. We can’t always stick with archaic and stiffling words/phrases and writers shouldn’t be judged for using something that is common for the times. If people say it often in real life, then it should be acceptable in dialog.

      Glad you had a chance to get that off your chest. Break out the soap boxes!!!

      • Something else that bothers me, Susan – and I see it used often – is a sentence to the effect …
        Coming into the room, a fire burned in the hearth to her left.
        That makes it sound as though it’s the fire coming into the room.

        The correct phrasing is …
        As she came into the room, she noticed a fire in the hearth …

        • Yeah, that does sound off, PL. I admit I might have wrote it as “Coming into the room, she saw a fire burning.” Yet I would not use the first example.

  2. One that always has bothered me is when people say they will try and do something. Well if you know you’re gonna do it, why try first. If you’re not sure you can do something you say you will try TO do it.

  3. Really?

  4. I’ve used “pretty” a lot in my writing. “That was pretty stupid.” While I think it lends to that natural voice you talked about, Susan, I do use the Find tool in Word to cut down on how often it pops up. “Really” is also on my list.

    • I find myself using pretty and really once in awhile too. It is best to keep those to a minimum. In dialog, though, they would be natural to speech so they don’t have to be completely cut out like some people might imply.

  5. You know, I guess I’m not that wigged out about it. I mean seriously, come on! As if, right? Can’t a fella just, you know, have the freedom to express himself (or herself) with liberal doses of colloquial banter? Geez! It’s pretty obvious, really, that we all use dumb expressions in our everyday speech. I mean, oh my gosh!! RIGHT? And I couldn’t care less about a prof who was careless with the fact that his students could care less.

  6. LOL, Jelowder!
    And … Susan … I have to tell you that – while the photo has nothing to do with cats or shoes – it’s insanely adorable!

    • I thought it was too cute not to put up as well, PL. Sometimes if you can’t find a pic that fits the topic, things like cute animals works good as an alternative! That had been my intent anyway.

  7. Cute can trump pretty much anything, Susan.

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