Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is it big or simply nasty??

Dear Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry and all the speechwriters and communications professionals in or around Capito(a)l Hill and the White House:

At some point or the other you will need to come to terms with the meaning of word 'Enormity'.

You continue to use the word out of context, most popularly when you refer to the 'enormity of the task.' We know of course that you are trying to say it is a big task, as in enormous. But when you refer to the enormity of the task what you are saying, as an example: "The outrageous, improper, and immoral job of rescuing the world economy. Now, while we know that the road to the world's economic ruin was doubtless created by people who may be described as outrageous, improper, vicious and immoral, the term 'enormity' is not the word to sue when describing what it will take to solve the problem. What find instead is the the enormous task we face when it comes to teaching politicians to speak plain English rather than attempting to grandstand at every opportunity and making idiots of themselves by using English which sounds great but which is balderdash.

Mr Obama used the word often in his acceptance speeches and Mr Kerry used it just morning when addressing Congress at Hilary Clinton's Secretary of State hearing. Tut-tut.

Main Entry:
Inflected Form(s):
plural enor·mi·ties
15th century
1: an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act
2: the quality or state of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous ; especially : great wickedness
3: the quality or state of being huge : immensity
4: a quality of momentous importance or impact
usage Enormity, some people insist, is improperly used to denote large size. They insist on enormousness for this meaning, and would limit enormity to the meaning “great wickedness.” Those who urge such a limitation may not recognize the subtlety with which enormity is actually used. It regularly denotes a considerable departure from the expected or normal . When used to denote large size, either literal or figurative, it usually suggests something so large as to seem overwhelming and may even be used to suggest both great size and deviation from morality . It can also emphasize the momentousness of what has happened or of its consequences .

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