I was reading the ads in the local paper – as the news is either sad or fake or both – and read one about an environmental report. It was basically boring, but the thing that intrigued me was it was the “final preliminary” version. Upon reflection on this phrase, I can now hardly contain myself waiting for the “preliminary final” version. When did the usage of the English language take a trip into the Twilight Zone?

Language should be precise and easily understood, although there has been much recent discussion of the complexity of “yes” or “no” in regard to consent. It’s not complex: no means NO! Words mean what they say, and people need to listen to what is being said.

The English language does change over time, with “lied” now becoming “misspoke” and negative being short for double-negatives. There have been many people who have invented their own words as needed, one example being Shakespeare and another more recently being President Trump. It will be interesting to see which of these wordsmiths make the greatest contribution to both the English language and the world in general. No hint needs to be given, surely!

Please simplify and clarify rather than obfuscate and confound, and maybe people will listen. In the meantime I will have to make do with the provisional interim environmental report.

“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” – Albert Einstein

Dennis Fitzgerald

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