"Sheer" has got to be one of the most misused words. I saw the Web site of a five-star resort yesterday that said "for sheer romance" you could step onto their private beach. What is "sheer romance"? People in love wearing sheer clothes?
This is one of those favourite words to throw into brochures, ad copy and Web sites along with opulent, best, guaranteed, unique, once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable and others--words with such enormous weight that they end up conveying nothing.
At least these words are merely boasting about things that cannot be measured--the best, the ultimate--but what about using words with correct meanings?
In the Junior Horlicks ad on TV these days, a mother fondly calls her child a "busybody"--she means that he's always busy! A busybody is an over-curious person, someone who pokes his nose into other people's affairs. Now the ad cannot be corrected because it revolves around this word; it has to be scrapped--how many crores of rupees down the drain, just because one wrong meaning?
When will people learn the significance of language? I'm not talking about you. If you're reading this, you're probably someone who cares about language; unfortunately, this will never be read by those who do need to read it.