Awesome, Dude: My Verbal Crutches

Everyone has linguistic crutches that they lean on to carry them through conversations, texts, writing, and everyday life.

I’m specifically aware of two that I overuse: “dude” and “awesome.”

Regarding the former, I don’t necessarily feel like “dude” is a bad thing. It’s a multi-purpose word, serving as both a slang pronoun and an exclamation. For instance:
“Hey, dude.” (slang pronoun)
“DUDE!” (exclamation, used upon witnessing something surprising, pleasing, or frightening)

It’s informal and congenial. I’m sticking with it.

As for “awesome,” I know I’ve got to trim down how frequently I speak and write it. Going by its formal definition, awesome means:

Very impressive or very difficult and perhaps rather frightening

I refer to a lot of things as awesome; when in reality, they’re just pretty cool:

  • Reuben sandwiches
  • The original Earth 1 / Earth 2 team-ups between the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America
  • Dogs

If I were to lean less on my “awesome” crutch, my vocabulary would most certainly improve. Using my boilerplate examples of awesomeness, see how much more interesting I become when I use different words:

  • “You know what? Reuben sandwiches are tasty delights.”
  • “Those JLA/JSA team-ups from the Silver Age of comics were really groundbreaking and exciting.”
  • “Dogs are loyal and loveable animals; I think they’re swell!”

I’m taking steps to correct myself. Now I’d ask the same of those who use “rad” to describe music.

Consider:

Rad (short for “radical”)- relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough

I love music, but based on that definition, very few bands in history were truly “rad.” Awesome, sure–just not rad.

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