"That book was amazing!", "That was the worst movie I’ve seen in my entire life!" and "It’s absolutely freezing outside!" What do those statements (or rather, exclamations) have in common (apart from exclamation marks)? Well, if you hear one of them, it’s quite likely to be a lie.
Have we simply let ourselves be berated, by pushy English teachers, into disposing of perfectly suitable words like ‘good’ and ‘nice’, or have we transitioned into a society that can’t do without extremes? I hark back to a time when some food was ‘not nice’, when I could say things like ‘I don’t like her very much’, and when not everything good was ‘brilliant’ and ‘awesome’.
"Why," you must be thinking, "is this grumpy misanthrope whingeing about something this inconsequential? Surely being more expressive is a good thing." Well it’s not and I’ll tell you why. At length.
Firstly, and most simply, because it’s all a lie. Sometimes experiences, tastes, smells and people are just ‘pleasant’ and all sorts of similar words now thought of as boring and inexpressive. They’re inexpressive, however, because they aren’t meant to express very much. They’re meant to express exactly what they imply. Something good, yes, but life-changing, no. And that’s acceptable.
Secondly, is a point far closer to my heart. With the resulting overuse of these very expressive words, they are slowly losing their ability to express what they should, leading to the development of a whole new vernacular: moron. There should be no need for ‘words’ like ‘fantabulous’ and ‘awesometude’. There isn’t.
So, I beseech you. Not everything needs to be at one end of a spectrum or another. You can use words like ‘good’, ‘nice’ and ‘ok’. You can even sometimes L instead of LOL. And that’s perfectly fine.