Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm "completely" fed up

My drive to and from work each day gives me such fodder for this blog. During the last 10 days, there was a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China. These are horrible tragedies, but the reporting about them is sometimes a little overwrought.

The word that causes the most trouble in the reports from those on the scene (or "on the ground," as the reporters like to say) is "completely." The village is "completely empty." I maintain that there's no degree of empty; something is empty or it still has something (or someone) in it. "Completely" isn't necessary to make the point.

Same thing with "completely destroyed." If something is destroyed, it's gone. Kaput. Finished. No need to qualify it. And "complete devastation"? Devastation paints the picture all by itself.

Simplicity carries the day and also makes the reporting more interesting and effective.

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