November 25th, 2012

Fishy Circumstances

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.