Log in
Thistles & Roses

These ones are only, like, words


“Only” “Like” “Anyways”
“These ones” “Awesome” “What’s a good number for you?”

This column is meant to be an observation of how our language is used and evolves. The above words and phrases are just a few examples of how words have morphed over periods of time. 

Language is supposed to be a means of communicating. But I find the changes that occur are very curious. And maybe some evolutions of expression are not creating better communication.

“Only” is a word that has been used and misused over time. The late columnist, James Kilpatrick, wrote an annual column about “only” and its misplacement among phrases.

A current example is the phrase in Liberty Mutual Commercials that “You only pay for what you need.”

It would be more accurate to say “You pay for only what you need.” 

To paraphrase one of Kilpatrick’s examples, he cited the following phrases, showing that the placement of “only” can change the meaning;

“Jim only ate chocolate.” “ Jim ate only chocolate.” 

In the first phrase, Jim could eat, melt, dislike, or do anything that he wanted with chocolate but he only ate chocolate. 

 In the second phrase, Jim may want to eat a variety of foods, but he ate only chocolate.“

“Like” has become a meaningless connecting word. It seems to have overtaken “you know,” you know.

Some people use “like” multiple times in the same sentence. Just stop and listen to others and yourself when you hear “like” too much. It will, like, drive you, like, crazy! It is like, insane like!

“Anyways” and “These ones” are really strange evolutions of speech. One can say that something would have happened anyway. Now often people say it would have happened anyways. We really don’t need to add the “s” to anyway, anyways.

“These ones” is pretty easy to simplify. Just say “these.” Nothing is added by “ones.”

“Awesome.” When I think of something awesome, I think of when I saw my wife coming down the church aisle to marry me. I think of being present when my two sons were born. Those were awesome events for me.

When a waiter asks me what I want to order and I ask for a hamburger and fries, and he replies “awesome!” I think it’s good or okay to order a hamburger, but I don’t find it awesome. It’s just a hamburger and no matter how good it is, it is never going to be awesome.

I think “awesome” is a mandatory term for teachers, especially elementary school teachers.

But I give all teachers a pass on their use of awesome. Teachers, those who enter that most noble and underpaid and often under appreciated of professions, are truly awesome at the highest level of the meaning of awesome — full of awe! Teachers can say awesome as much as they want.

Now, “What’s a good number for you?” should be obvious. — Why would I give you a bad one?


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here