Today’s children are unfortunately having their vocabularies emasculated by adults who should be more mindful. They resort to using a seemingly almost endless array of trite and hackneyed expressions that bare no resemblance to the usage that they should be conveying to the young.
The singer/songwriter, Joe South, in his successful recording of 1969, “Games People Play”, makes mention of people ‘Never saying what they mean now’.
In a somewhat different context, today, nothing could be closer to the truth.
I have spent a considerable time attempting to decipher what the users of some of these expressions might actually be attempting to convey, in terms of acceptable English.
check out (observe, investigate)
good to go (ready, prepared)
get-go (commencement, beginning)
hit town (reached, arrived)
hit the ground running ( commenced with purpose or haste)
listen up (concentrate, become silent)
blown away (astonished, amazed, exhilarated)
back-to-back/straight/in a row (successive, consecutive)
talk/run me through (explain, describe, elucidate)
down the track (henceforth, foreseeable future, forthcoming))
doing it tough (struggling, enduring)
up to speed (brief, inform, make knowledgeable)
run the tests (conduct)
only way to go (imperative, advisable, essential, acceptable)
won’t end well (ill fated, disastrous)
thinking this one (referring to, selecting, considering, contemplating)
step up to the plate (survive, manage, volunteer)
cut some slack (tolerate, be considerate)
tapped out/cracked (reached, ascended to, peaked)
made good (succeeded)
game-changer (pivotal, essential, vital)
doesn’t come cheap (is expensive, dear, costly)
measuring up (performing)
must-see (compulsory, imperative)
over the top (extravagant, outrageous, ostentatious)
heaps (numerous, many, extremely)
heaps tough (extremely difficult, demanding, challenging, enervating, exhausting)
all over the shop (haywire, erratic, uncontrollable, unpredictable)
above board (legitimate, legal, lawful, conscionable, just)
How come? (Why?)
go with (support, select, choose)
up and down (inconsistent, varied, vacillated)
get on board (join, combine, unite, partake of, assist, enrol, collaborate)
pick up (intensify, strengthen)
picking up (detecting, identifying)
level playing field (fairness, equality, parity)
a bunch of (an array, a display, numerous, a variety, a plethora, glut, abundance)
up front (forthright, frank, open, initially, a deposit, in advance)
run with it (accept, embrace, act expeditiously, be progressive, far-sighted, futuristic)
on the same page (in agreement, concur)
whistle-stop (fleeting, ephemeral)
messed up (confused, disillusioned, behaved mistakenly)
think outside the square/box (be creative, unconventional, imaginative)
the only way to go (prudent, sensible, obvious, desirable, logical, the only alternative)
pick up the ball and run with it (be determined, progressive, far-sighted, futuristic)
no-win situation (hopeless, undesirable, unenviable, imperfect situation; an impasse)
did a runner (fled, bolted, absconded)
jump on (access, board, enplane)
make it big (succeed, achieve, be successful, become renowned)
set the bar high (excel, raise the standard of significantly, aspire)
stand out from the crowd (be unlike, different, unique, display individuality)
go-to (dependable, reliable, knowledgeable, forthright)
up and running (operating, operational, effective)
anytime soon (shortly, in the foreseeable future)
Today’s children are having their vocabularies emasculated by adults, who should be more mindful, using a seemingly endless array of trite and hackneyed expressions that bare no or little resemblance to the usage that they should be seeking.
Australian children’s skills in writing are at a nadir. Is this any wonder when our adults continually bombard them with this drivel?!
Try and instill in your children a love of words from an early age. Begin with short words such as rue, coy…and encourage them to use them in their writings.
Coax them to learn a new word every week or fortnight. Introduce them to crossword puzzles.
Do not depend on their teachers to do this for you. Few will.