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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.



Sep. 3rd, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
We had a physical chemistry tutor at Kingston poly who was fond of the word. We invented a game; on the 18th time he said it in any lesson we would all put up our hands and ask why it was obvious.

We'd done the statistics in the first four weeks and decided we were reasonably likely to do it most lessons unless he modified his behaviour.

He never did.