SYNTAX CHALLENGE


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Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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Putting aside the subject of the dumbing down of our culture or the trivializing of everything (Paris Hilton; Anna Nicole Smith; etc.) for a moment, yesterday we had a news story about the addition of some words to the Merriam-Webster college dictionary. One of the words, "ginormous", blends gigantic and enormous together into a new official addition to our lexicon that the linguistic experts say will stick around and will be used by professional writers in mainstream publications; it, they say, has staying power.

I was just musing about when ginormous would fit when gigantic or enormous wouldn't. Why would I use ginormous in any way other than slang, like the work humongous?

Plus, I can't see Dick Nourse leaning over and saying, "Why, that's a ginormous fire Deenie", or Brian Williams leading off the NBC News with, "The President has a ginormous problem with Congress over the Iraq war."

There were about 100 new words added....like "smackdown", "Bollywood" and "Sudoku." Those words are already used as common lingo...and are easier to fit into casual usage.

Will I be taken seriously if I suddenly start using words in stories or interaction with Amanda that have been slang or unknown?

It could be a ginormous problem.

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Grant Nielsen

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