Monday, October 18, 2004

Like, totally!

Last Christmas as I was getting a ride back to Belleville with a friend of mine, I heard something that struck me as odd. We were conversing about marks or something that's not significant at the time, and my friend said, "I definitely almost failed that exam." It was strange, I had never heard the word definitely used in a context such as that. In high school I was constandly hearing phrases such as "that was some definite spillage," but this was new. I thought nothing else of it until I returned to Redeemer in January, and Rach said "I definitely got that movie for Christmas two years ago!" You either get something for Christmas or you don't, how can you definitely get something for Christmas?
I heard the word used several more times before I went to England, and upon my return, it seemed as if everyone had jumped on the definitely bandwagon.

"We definitely have to go to the drive in this summer!"
"He definitely just ingored me!"
"I definitely had strawberries in my lunch."

When I was just starting to tire of the over-usage of it, I definitely started to use it myself. The more I heard it, the more I said it: it's a viscious cycle.
"Definitely" can be defined as without question and beyond doubt. Using that definition, the sentances above still make sense, but it seems like an unnecessary qualifier: "I without question and beyond all doubt had strawberries in my lunch." Really. I'm happy for you. I wasn't really questionning or doubting that you did.
Do you remember the days of "seriously" and "totally," and even "like"? Definitely perhaps sounds a bit more "refined" than seriously and totally, but it is employed exaclty the same way. "We seriously have to go to the drive-in this summer!" "He totally just ignored me!" We use these three words exactly the same way, even though they have quite different definitions: Really intending what is said; being in earnest, not jesting or deceiving; In a total manner; wholly; entirely.
Even the placement of the word as moved with the new usage of it: "we should definitley keep that recipe" to "we definitely should keep that recipe." Why the change?
Why do we feel so much that we have to qualify everything that we say? Can I not be trusted that when I say "I had strawberries in my lunch," I actually had strawberries in my lunch? Is it actually possible for our conversational language to exist without words such as that popping up all the time?
I definitely hope so, I'm seriously getting tired of saying and hearing these words, and I totally think that we need to think about the words that we use and the significance of each word to what we're saying.

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