Quite Frankly

As a wannabe writer, my Facebook feed is loaded with other writers and wannabe writers, and language and words is a common topic of conversation. I have one friend in particular, someone I know irl btw, who has made it his mission to track the usage of certain phrases, i.e. how frequently they appeared in print 20 years ago, 10 years ago, just this week. Trendy words and phrases. Sometimes he seems a bit paranoid, treating a perfectly intelligible phrase as language pollution when in reality it’s just trending slang, but sometime he hits the old nail right square on its proverbial head.
Yesterday’s pet peeve was ‘quite frankly,’ of which he said “‘quite frankly’ is the new ‘If I do say so myself.'” True. Actually, there are a whole bunch of words and phrases that serve the same purpose, which is to announce the sentence you are about to say (or write) in a way that convinces the listener (or reader) that you aren’t bullshitting. Actually, actually is one, and I know it’s one I overuse. Honestly, truly, really, I’m not lying, Lemme tell ya, You know, the list goes on and on. When I was studying journalism back at El Camino Community College, Mrs. Combs always told us “If you’re writing an editorial and stuck for an opening, type “I think that….” and then when you’ve finished writing go back and cross out the “I think that…”
Good advice. These are just filler words and they do not make the words that follow them any more frank, or honest, or true. I’m not going to go on a crusade, it’s not a misspelling or a grammatical mistake. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have a better blog topic.

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