The Waving Flag: Call Me Old Fashioned ...

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Call Me Old Fashioned ...

As I get older I find things preying on my mind. Sometimes they make me feel old, sometimes they make me feel sad and sometimes they make me angry.

What I'm about to highlight are mainly all three.  Read the grumbling that follows at your own risk.

Game & Gaming
This is a verb (a "doing" word) that has become increasingly common amongst wargamers.

Now I admit that I play games, mainly tabletop wargames, but I have never considered myself a "gamer" or part of the "gaming hobby" neither do I "game" regularly.  I do consider myself a player of wargames but I would never replace the verb play with game.  It just sounds odd to me.

On a deeper note I can't help thinking that game is used as a verb in a deliberate attempt to avoid the use of play with its many connotations of childlike play and so seem more grown up.  It's almost as if people don't want to say they play with toy soldiers.  We all know that's what our "normal" friends and partners think.

During my education I was taught that if you can cross out part of a sentence and it still makes sense then you should do so.  The ever increasing use of "so" to start a sentence is both superfluous and irritating.  "So, today I gamed Imperial Assault" is the same as "Today I played Imperial Assault".

Again on a deeper note I feel this usage has become increasingly common because it gives people a  pause during which they a can work out what to say, or write, next and because it can be used to add gravitas to their writing, question or statement.  It doesn't.

Interrogative Statements. Right?
With speech we all use inflections to emphasise points as well as encourage others to contribute to the conversation.  Famously, Australians and Valley Girls do this as a matter of national and personal style respectively.

It gets a bit difficult when the inflection is used mid-sentence and when it is used to turn a statement into a question.  Face to face you can usually work out if they have simply paused, are telling you something or are indeed asking you a question.

Where things go wrong is when this trend spills over into the written word. Instead of posing a succinct question I increasingly see people write statements and then twist them by ending with a question mark or a second, one word sentence like "Right?".  For example "Patton was better than Monty?" or "Patton was better than Monty.  Right?".

Is this example a statement, a question, an invitation to contribute or a challenge daring you to disagree?  It's difficult to tell. If it's a question why not phrase the question clearly: "Was Patton better than Monty?".  Fewer words, more direct and you know it's a question from the first word.

To me this usage just seems lazy.  Writing down exactly what you would say is not always the best.  Written clarity and respecting the reader usually requires a bit more effort.  Crucially when such sentences form the title of a forum or blog post I know the quality of the writing therein will be equally low and seldom worth the effort.

Add Your Own
That's enough from me for now.  Thanks for reading this far. I feel much better.  Do mention your pet peeves in the comments.  It might make you feel better too.


Simon said...

The words amazing and awesome, now make me shudder.

Vexillia said...

It used to annoy me too but now I don't even "hear" these words any more.

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