Famously, Tellingly, Worryingly


Welcome to the American Conversation

I’ve been noticing for the past ten years how many speakers and writers have changed the syntax of words in ways that I don’t like.

The oldest examples are the ways that articles and prepositions have been disappearing:

You don’t graduate from high school anymore, you graduate high school

It’s not the prom anymore, it’s Prom.

will you go to prom with me

More recently, I have noticed that the word “fun” which used to be simply a noun, has also become an adjective:

We had a fun time.


(not to mention how “bottom line” has lost its article and become endemic)

The word “famous” which was used as an adjective, and then as a noun ( Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) and then as an adverb ( We got along famously) has now become an adjective:

Henry Ford famously said “History is bunk.”


Television and advertising are responsible for many of these, which have come into common usage. In my college students’ essays, I find

A revelation has become “the reveal”

A reward or lesson learned has become “the takeaway”


‘the” has been replaced with “that” ( She worked to achieve that desired weight)

Cause for Concern has become “concerning”

And so many participles have become adjectives by adding “ly” to the “ing” ending .

I could go on, but these are the first to come to mind.

The English Language is a living thing, and so it keeps changing. I guess I am an old grump, but these bother me.


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