Hurts, doesn't it? My ears surely do, after I spent a whole afternoon in the presence of a girl who said this word a minimum of five times per minute. Don't get me wrong, I did hate her already before I realized her vocabulary was limited to that word, but her constant repetition made my dislike grow to the desire of beheading her with my spoon. It's like a freaking artillery of shit coming out of someone's mouth, like they don't have anything to say so they place this empty word in to fill in a few more seconds of speech. "Oh no, what I've got to say is too short, let me throw a few 'basically's in it to make people give attention to me for a second more LOLOLO." Grow the fuck up.
There are a few meaningless, placeholder words in the English language and the word "basically" is certainly on the top of that list. And this is coming from someone whose first language isn't even English to begin with. Words like that don't add anything to what someone has to say, and sure as shit don't make one's argument more reliable. It may even take credit away from it, as it pisses the listeners off. Case you don't believe me, here's a quick example. Let's start with a proposition about Half Life, taken from here:
"Valve's début title blends action and adventure with award-winning technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players must think to survive. Also includes an exciting multiplayer mode that allows you to play against friends and enemies around the world."Let's paraphrase it, and add a few placeholders to it:
"Valve's game basically blends action and adventure with some ballin' technology to basically create a pretty realistic world where basically, you need to think to survive. Also includes an pretty good multiplayer mode that basically allows you to play against with people around the world."Length is around the same, and so is the message it tries to deliver. The difference? The latter makes you sound like a complete douche, while the original doesn't. There is a reason behind the choice of words, believe me or not. The word "basically" does not add anything to the content, regardless of how much you try. Here's another example, the opening paragraph of this post, in "Adult's writing" form:
The title of this post means that the people who say "basically" are uneducated and ignorant, because that word doesn't mean anything.Can you say "straight to the point?" This is how ANY kind of writing should be done. No placeholding, no empty modifiers, no bullshitting side details. The content shoved fair and square in your face. It's writing done by douchebag key pushers that plague forums and blogs with shit that takes long to read and does not prove anything, except for making people angry and willing to flame each other.
Among the word "basically" there are also other most useless words in English. These words are employed by the same douchebags, in attempt to sound a little more reliable in their arguments, even though the truth is that they can achieve it by not saying them. I'm talking about words like "many," "lot," "majority," "few," "some" and chicken-shit passive voice usage.
The reason why I didn't write an article on these words is that unlike "basically," these words can have a decent use as long as the user knows how to phrase them. Let's suppose that someone wants to convert netbook users to use the iPad instead. He or she might say:
"iOS is the operating system for iPad. And it lets you see and do everything just by touching the screen."
So far so good? Not strong enough, let's try to make it so it sounds like everybody endorses it!
iOS is the operating system for iPad. Many think it's the next generation of OS. And it lets you see and do everything just by touching the screen. Few things in the world are capable of doing that.A keen eye is able to identify the vague and meaningless claims burrowed within, but a wandering eye will just read it and regard it as the truth. And even then it's easy to debunk, just take a look at the things that can be interacted with through touch:
- Non-iPad tablets
- Non-smartphone Cell Phones
- Commercial Airplane entertainment
- Information counters in fancy shopping malls
- Touchscreen computer monitors
- All kinds of buttons
November 2011 by K. Zimmermann