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BLOG :: aim

Just ended an IM conversation by saying I had a question "real quick" and, once the question was answered, responding with "sweet."

Immediately afterward, I opened up The Pacer, Parkview Gardens' monthly newsletter, and noticed a column called "Curmudgeon Corner"—and strangely enough, found that the topic concerned none other than the two aforementioned phrases.

"Listen up, whippersnappers," writes the anonymous columnist.

"Young people, I'm not against all your linguistic innovations. For instance, 'sweet' strikes me as a plausible replacement for 'cool,' though I suspect cool will make a comeback. One of your expressions, however, really gets on my nerves.

"It's the adverbial phrase 'real quick,' which is used in asking permission, as in, 'I just want to use your computer real quick.' This is an underhanded way of putting on the pressure. It suggests that the request is so modest you really have to grant it. There's a further suggestion that the speaker is in a hurry, so you should come up with that yes right away.

"In my opinion, 'real quick' does not represent an advance on the words it is replacing—words like 'please' and 'may I.'

"Still, I haven't attained total curmudgeonhood yet, because I can remember being young and asking permission brusquely—I can also remember an occasion when I made an old person angry, and how surprised I was.

"So here's the explanation that I would have benefited from back then. If you have to ask permission, it's counterproductive to do so in a way that annoys the person you're hoping will grant it. Drop that obnoxious 'real quick' from your vocabulary."

I done been told!

10:14 pm, June 16, 2009 :: aim

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