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A few years back, I developed the habit of inserting carefully chosen words into my speech in order to demand those within ear shot attend to the task of actually listening. I especially enjoy using commonly known but uncommonly used words when answering the harmless question, “How are you?” Faced with an unexpected response and a smile, people will almost always break from their non-thinking routine into a real human exchange. I like offering that to the people in my world and find that they seem to like it, too.
Here are 5 of my favorites.
The added bonus – when I tell people I am stellar, I often discover I am!
BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!
Let us continue...Turning, Spraining and Breaking Phrases
I love a well turned phrase or saying. Be it of colloquial origin or something crafted in context, clever phrases interest me.
My mother punctuates many of her statements with, “Don’t Ya Know?” It isn't intended so much as a question as a way of emphasizing a fact as she has stated it.
My grandmother is known for coining the phrase, in a moment of Southern Bell disgust second to none, “That just makes my ass want a cup of coffee.” I’m not sure how it means what it means, but there is no doubt what it means.
One of my colleagues often would say he was, “Frosted Flakes Great!” That one needs little explanation.
And, although I’m not sure of the origin in my own family mythology, somewhere I picked up the proclamation that one can be “Finer than frog hair split four ways.” Do frogs have hair?
Do you have any such turned, twisted or mangled phrases you can share? Feel free. Why it would be “gooder than snuff and not half as dusty,” I’m sure!
The theme of this website proclaims “A place for words….” I believe in the power of words, but not just the obvious power of words that hurt or console, I believe words are woven deeply into every fiber of our communication. Words, properly understood can reveal intent and affect outcomes. Even a small change in a phrase or word choice can have a powerful effect on our lives. Allow me to illustrate...
Take the word “but” for example. We use it often, “I understand that, but I think it’s deeper than that.” “I want to, but I’m too tired.” “Yes you did, but that’s not what I meant.” The power of the word ‘but’ is that it negates anything said before it. Someone said once, “’But’ is the great eraser. It erases the value of anything before it.”
It is my observation that there is no better fuel for an argument than a hefty and well placed “BUT!”
I find it very interesting to practice using another word than “but.” Try “and” for example. “And” is a good alternative it makes an acknowledging, respectful way to add another piece of information or perspective to a statement.
“I understand you feel that way, and I still want you to get it done.”
“Yes you did, and that isn’t what I meant.”
“I want to, and I’m too tired.”
Using “and” gives value to both statements and allow us to add information and often depth to a conversation in a nonthreatening fashion. We can acknowledge what someone has said and then add our perspective.
I’ve tried to eliminate the word “but” from my daily speech. It takes some practice and it seems worth the effort. Give it a try. Let me know what happens.
Just face it, obsequy is hard to spell and loads of fun to say!