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Clearly not

Watching the news on the BBC frequently in the last few months means that - strangely enough - I regularly see British politicians interviewed. And this has led me to an increasing dislike of the adverb "clearly".

Inevitably, it's used in situations such as "as I have clearly said".

Firstly, we are none of us best-placed to judge the clarity of our own language use to others.

Secondly, if you have to tell other people you were being clear, you're being condescending. It's telling them they're too stupid or inattentive to have realized on their own how effective your communication was.

Until now, I'd never realized how insulting nominal clarity could be.



Nov. 27th, 2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
The one that annoys me along these lines is "of course" used on Radio 4 to excess. "And here we have guest X who is, of course, famous for Y". Oh, of course, yes, it's obvious.

So why did you have to state it?

The effect is to either irritate because there was no need to explain if it was obvious, or to patronise because you're supposed to somehow have this information already and don't.