Eight perfectly good words ruined by the internet

By Ruth Hartnoll
This is literally the best article you will read EVER in the history of time, and it will make your day that bit more epic. By reading this post you are basically guaranteeing that your day will be the best one this week, if not this year.

Think I’m being hyperbolic? Are my superlative adjectives are out of control? You’re right.

Those sentences are the product of the internet as we know it. No adjective is free from adverb and no sentence is free from, like, fillers.

Some great words have been used and abused by the online community – and we all know why it’s happened. Having an engaging title can give you more clicks, elicit emotion in your reader, and, let’s face facts, just be more interesting.

But what words have we overused to the point of nausea? What words make us feel basically, like, the sickest person ever? We’ve gathered the top eight worst offenders for you to enjoy. If you, like, like them then maybe you could like our post? Enough.

1. Awesome

Actual meaning: Extremely impressive or daunting, to inspire awe.

Internet meaning: Used to describe unimpressive things to make them seem awe-inspiring i.e. “Check out this awesome video about telecoms.” (Hint: there’s no such thing.)

Worst offenders: Buzzfeed, Bored Panda.

2. Epic

Actual meaning: Heroic or grand in scale or character, originally referring to ancient epic poems such as The Odyssey by Homer.

Internet meaning: Impressive or remarkable – actually closer to awesome in definition. i.e. “How to make epic brand content that Yuccies will love.” Unless the brand is going on an epic journey across a desert while writing a long poem about it then the content is not epic.

Worst offenders: Contently, Bored Panda, Buzzfeed, Mashable and all the poor imitations of every single one thereafter.

3. Ever

Actual meaning: At any time, at all times; always.

Internet meaning: Close to its original meaning, but overused until all things are referencing all time, ever. Some things do just happen in that moment and don’t need to relate to the whole of history.

Worst offenders: Anyone who has carried out a marketing campaign, ever.

4. Need

Actual meaning: You require something because it is very important or essential – not something that is desirable.

Internet meaning: Desirable, not essential. In a time where almost anything can be had, we “˜need’ a lot of things. You need to read about these bloggers, you need to try this organic granola recipe, you need to stop dieting for this one crazy reason. You need to stop using the word need.

Worst offenders: All bloggers.

5. Insanely

Actual meaning: Extremely foolish or irrational.

Internet meaning: Outrageous or stupid, actually closer to mind-boggling, i.e. “Seven insanely clever things you do with yarn (with pictures!)“

Worst offenders: Buzzfeed and all click-bait sites within their stratosphere.

6. Great

Actual meaning: An extent, amount or intensity that is considerably above average.

Internet meaning: Actually close to its original meaning, but overused until everyone is great, thus making nobody great as everyone is the average. So, to be truly great in this context, you’d have to be greater than great or The Greatest, all of which is much too superlative for me.

Worst offenders: Buzzfeed, Bored Panda, et al.

7. Basically

Actual meaning: In the most essential respects, fundamentally.

Internet meaning: The crux of the matter. Overused slang used by “˜the young people’ that begins every sentence to qualify anything they say – kind of like literally but, basically, it’s better.

Worst offenders: Everyone born after 1988 – including myself.

8. Literally

Actual meaning: In a literal manner or sense, to speak exactly.

Internet meaning: Again, used in everyday speak to describe something that happened or is going to happen figuratively, not literally. You didn’t literally die because you saw Taylor Swift, you figuratively did.

Worst offenders: Same as before, particularly those born after 1990.

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Tecmark Author Ruth Hartnoll

About the Author

Ruth Hartnoll: Content Coordinator

An experienced writer, poet and blogger, Ruth joined Tecmark in March 2015 and works from our Liverpool office delivering content strategies for a range of SME clients.

Visit Ruth's Page
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