This doesn’t pertain to movies, but since a blog involves writing, I thought this was appropriate.Â Â I started reading a book called The Accidents of Style by Charles Harrington Elster.Â It is informative, engaging, and hilarious.Â I’m going to share a couple of examples, so that you all can see what the book is like.
ACCIDENT 58: Avoid the hackneyed but hey
The interjection but hey is a trendy and vapid locution much favored by protÃ©gÃ©s of the What’s-Up-Dude School of Insipid Writing.Â These ‘casualistas’ think that readers want a writer to sound like a regular Joe, so they are enamored of whatever verbal tic makes their writing seem more like speech, especially the most lifeless, laid-back speech.Â The worst literary sin you can commit, they believe, is to make your writing read like writing–in other words, something you actually thought about and revised before unleashing upon the world.
But hey, maybe I’m going too far with this whole but hey thing.Â I mean, do you have issues with what I’m saying or are you down with it?Â If you’re chill, that’s cool, and if you’re not…well, then be that way.Â Whatever.
You catch my drift?
But hey is a kind of vacuous shrug that reckless casualistas put in a sentence to signal that an attempt at humor or a smart-alecky remark is on the way: “[The movie] seems to function outside of logic, cohesive plot structure and the laws of gravity, but hey–this being the fourth film in the street-racing series, such niceties have long since been tossed out the window” (Dallas Morning News); ” ‘I hate that show,’ says Jessie, before departing via Suburban back uptown to her red-velvet-wallpapered home. But hey, at least she has parents to go home to” (The New York Times). Â Use the but but eschew the hey.
ACCIDENT 79: Don’t use in my humble opinion
As far as I know, I’ve used in my humble opinion only once in all my published writing, and I regret it. Â This phrase–abbreviated to IMHO in that particular trimmed-down, puffed-up brand of English known as Blogosphere Blowhardese–is wordy, pretentious, and hackneyed. Â It draws unnecessary attention to itself, and if the humility it conveys could be converted to a liquid, it might barely fill a bottle cap. Â Use I think or some other more concise and direct phrasing instead.
Those are two examples of some 300 in the book. Â It’s quite an entertaining and enlightening read.