I have just admitted defeat

For many months, I have taken particular issue with people using the phrase ‘over exaggerate’. It seems to have crept up on the vocabulary and now appears in almost every single lesson, to which I have occasionally snapped back with “you can’t over-exaggerate, it’s meaningless!”

However, after a tense phone conversation with Joshua and Fabio where I remained defiant – and then scuttled online to do some research – I have retreated. Because I have discovered that whilst over-exaggerate is still a stupid phrase, it’s actually no worse than many others I myself (I myself? What is that??) use on an almost-daily basis. Rise up? Totally unnecessary? Absolutely essential? The toxin required to cleanse my language of these poisons would no doubt do far greater harm to many innocent by-standing phrases, and so I have decided to let it rest. Over-exaggerate away.

In other news, it has been very hot and now it’s slightly less hot but still rather hot.

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11 Comments on :
I have just admitted defeat

  1. Roger Self says:

    I’m not sure that a toxin would remove a poison. In fact aren’t all toxins poisons and all poisons toxins?


  2. Lucy says:

    You told me to, so:

    Aren’t you thinking of antidote, not toxin?
    Isn’t a toxin the same thing as a poison?

  3. Red Dalek says:

    ^^ Now I can agree with this. Yes, antidote.

    (Although… deal with the devil scenario… one kind of poison required to defeat another? No? I’ll just leave…)

  4. Alex Newman says:

    over exagerate is different
    exagerating is something everyone does, and when you OD (american word?) on that, then you over exagerate

  5. Haha, most of those *really* bug me too. More language debauchery: I managed to confuse a certain ‘gangster’ whilst trying to explain superlatives, he didn’t seem to grasp that "very gay" simply doesn’t mean anything. Ah well.

  6. Red Dalek says:

    But Alex – exaggerate simply means to ‘overstate’ (dictionary.com). You can’t over-overstate. Where’s the boundary between overstating and over-overstating?

    If you can over-exaggerate it means you could also under-exaggerate, of course. That means you’d be under-overstating. But you’d still be overstating. I think. See where the problem lies?

    OD is fine though, just means overdose

  7. Nic says:

    OK, Dom, but as a journalist you have to exagerate some parts of a story. Just to get the important bits across. You’re exagerating then, and you’re EXPECTED to. But if you take it too far, and over-exagerate (libel someone?) that’s the line. It’s all a matter of society – when are you being offensive? When is it "too much"? There’s lots of things and you should know: there’s no *answer* in English, is there?

  8. Katie Self says:

    I myself think that you should rise up to the challenge. This comment is totally unnecessary but the post is absolutely essential. To be honest, your over exaggerating.

    P.S. Your too pedantic

  9. Red Dalek says:

    I certainly know what the meaning of ‘over exaggerate’ would be, Nic, it’s way it’s expressed I object to. For example, you can be stretched and over-stretched: which have clearly different meanings. But to be over-over-stretched is just prefix fetish… you might say ‘over-stretched to the brink of despair’, or something, to indicate ‘going even further’ if you wanted to.

    And it devalues the original word too… if I say ‘exaggerate’ now people will ignore it as not being up to the level that ‘over-exaggerate’ is.

    (Grr – Katie – ‘over-exaggerate’ is one thing but confusing your and you’re is quite another and absolutely unacceptable )

  10. Nic says:

    Well you’re clearly just being an arse and will never agree Dom Just don’t use it and get on with it.

    I must say, it’s not a phrase I ever use anyway, so I wouldn’t be too bothered if I never heard it ever again. Spot the irony?

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