Tag Archives: Antiques Roadshow

Really? Literally?


I admit it: I’m addicted to “The Antiques Roadshow,” both the British and the American versions. The other night, an American appraiser was so excited to be seeing an item that he, with uncontrolled excitement, practically shouted,“When I saw you come in with this, I literally was blown across the room!”

I can’t even remember what the item was because I was so fascinated by the image of him taking one look at the piece and then flying across the room, arms a-flappin, a look of amazement on his face. Did he actually fly across the room? Obviously not. Maybe he virtually flew. Or maybe he just got really excited and felt his heart pound. However he reacted, one thing is certain: he was not literally blown across the room. That would have meant it had really happened.

Incidentally, if you watch the show, you likely have noticed that almost every American who receives an good appraisal responds with, “Wow!” For years the Brits have been far more reserved, politely smiling and nodding or saying something along the lines of “Lovely.” Very understated. But recently I have noticed that Wow! has now made it to the British Isles although it is uttered, as you might expect, with great poise and restraint.


Filed under All things having to do with the English language

La-de-dah Language

Granted, my tolerance for substandard and iffy English is lower than most people’s, so bear with me.

Here is an example of a fancy-schmancy word that adds nothing to your message; this one you can throw away:

1. Gift—“My grandmother gifted me with her small gold locket.”  Why use “gifted” when we already have a perfectly good word that is understood in every instance?

The following words don’t need to be discarded, but remember to use alternatives every now and then.

2. Purchase—Realize a clear, everyday alternative exists.  As a fan of the “Antiques Roadshow,” I never, ever have heard anyone say they “bought” an object.

3. Prior to—Where, oh where, has “before” gone?  Again, “prior to” appears 97.2% of the time (my estimate).  It gets annoyingly repetitive.

4. Proceed—No one “goes” anywhere these days, but a whole lot of “proceeding” is taking place.  Is “go” too simple?  If you think so, tell me why. Do you think others might decide you are simple minded?  Will they think you are Einstein’s heir if you always “proceed”? 

5. Exit—I think it is perfectly fine to “leave” a building or a car or anything else you get out of. 


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Filed under All things having to do with the English language