Have you noticed the little word “yes” seems to be taking a back seat to the bigger word “absolutely”? This grandiose adverb has become rampant, especially in on-camera interviews.
“Did road conditions contribute to this accident?”
“Do you think the proposed tax hike targets the wealthy?”
Perhaps using four syllables instead of one makes the reply sound more confident and authoritative. Regardless, the increasingly routine use of “absolutely” has brought vogue status to this once vibrant word. It now joins the ranks of other tired words such as “passion,” “proactive,” “synergy,” and “solution.” (Find more vogue words here.) All are valid—but overuse has drained them of energy.
Here’s an idea for a skit on Saturday Night Live. Imagine a cocktail party where bobble-heads swig Absolut from vodka glasses. Moving around the room, we catch snippets of conversations.
“I absolutely love what you’ve done with your hair. It is your hair, isn’t it?”
“Absolutely. That is your face, isn’t it?”
“His new Jaguar is absolutely the bomb. Have you ever ridden in a Jag?”
“Absolutely. And I’ve ridden in lots of bombs.”
“I absolutely must get the recipe for this roulade. Isn’t it delicious?”
“Absolutely. Have you looked on the Bisquick box?”
Vogue words come to mind easily, because they pummel us in an endless barrage. But better choices are almost always available on second thought.
Is the result worth the extra effort?