The “Awesome” English Language

AwesomeIf I hear that something or someone is “awesome,” it’ll be time to turn my hearing aids off.  “Awesome” is if the moon would fall to the earth, anything less is “okay” or “good.”

“Pretty nice” doesn’t say much and the adjective describes appearance and not the experience as does “awfully nice.”  If your “thank you card” contains those words I’d question the writer’s sincerity.

“To be honest with you” as the beginning of a sentence tends to question all your conversations with that speaker.  “Finally, the truth?”  This leads to someone declaring the “absolute truth” about this or that.  “Truth,” I believe stands on its own without any modifiers.  As a priest I often think it’s overkill to say, “Almighty God” as though we don’t know who God is.

My hallway response to, “How are you today?” is the same, “Great.”  It keeps our walking  passed each other in sync.  It I was truly great than I’d be more productive in my job or have a better job.  “Truly,” as I just abused it, is another example.  Can great be made greater by adding “truly?”

One online site stated that a two-year old knows 300 words compared to the twelve-year old who knows the same 3,000 words he/she will use for a lifetime.  Whatever happened to learn a new word each day and use it in a conversation that same day and it’ll be yours for life?

The “if” word, small as it is, protects both its speaker and cleverly calms its listener.  “‘If'” I offended you is never an apology.  “No admittance but I appreciate the effort,” is its result.  How about Nixon’s team and their use of “at this point in time” instead of saying, “now” or “then.”

In the above paragraph I used “never” as though it’s the end of all endings.  A young person told me that he “never…” and I said back to him, “just wait.”  Young people should be forbidden to use the word “never” in their short, un-lived lives.

These days we seem to want to be emphatic in whatever topic we throw out for conversation.  “Awesome” and “unreal” makes my mind wander away from their comments.  If the vacation you completed was “unreal” then we’re all in trouble.

My favorite disarming comment is, “You look great today, for a woman your age.”  Tht’s when I walk a little faster down the hallway.



About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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1 Response to The “Awesome” English Language

  1. Mary Delgado says:

    Cute and true….truly true….


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