Saturday, October 22, 2005

Misused words

"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.

2 comments:

Percy said...

What makes you think that the Horlicks ad will be removed? It won't. Nobody will realise the mistake.

The latest buzzword (phrase) is breaking news. Every channel now uses a variation of this phrase.

Breaking News -- India 45/1.

I am reminded about the tag line for The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart): When news breaks, we fix it.

somal thakore said...

Hey I agree too....esp with the overused 'Breaking news"
This term started when they really wanted to catch the viewers with TV Sets on MUTE and just throwing a casual look.It also was followed by a real "Sentsational' piece of news. But look at this nowdays....

BREAKING NEWS
mallika sherawat quits "Alibaba 40 Chor'
OR
some other bullshit