“That Sucks.”

It might come as a shock to you to learn that, by and large, I actually talk in real life in exactly the same way that I write upon this blog. Needless to say then, I don’t talk like a “normal person.”

Part of this is deliberate: English can be a beautiful language, with many lovely words* and eloquent constructs. The problem, though, is that if everyone is purely utilitarian in their use of the language, then true beauty of English will atrophe from lack of use. Thus, I make a point of speaking (and writing) in a beautiful way, even at the expense of concision, because I am ideologically motivated by my belief in the value of “uselessness.

Even so, there are times when I’m prepared to make accept terse, modern, utilitarian vocabulary. I am speaking, of course, about the phrase “that sucks.”

What a wonderful phrase! It’s so hard, so concise, and so damned useful! Slang comes and slang goes, but I can’t imagine that “sucks” will be fading from the vernacular any time soon. It fills a legitimate linguistic need. English benefits from having a quick and easy way to dismiss something. What else are you going to say? “That is posessed of inferior quality?”

No! It sucks! Sucks! Sucks! Sucks!

God, even writing it is so much fun!


*My alltime favourite word is “madrigal,” just for the record.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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One Response to “That Sucks.”

  1. Priyanka says:

    I don’t know if you’ve read my blog, but I pretty much write exactly as I speak, too. This includes the slightly sonorous pieces, as well as the more slap-dash cheeky ones. Only, unlike you, I didn’t choose this mode of talking and writing deliberately. It was how I learnt to speak. (I remember an English-speaking white South African actor once saying in an interview that upon moving to London, he discovered he spoke like the grandmothers of his more upper class colleagues, because colloquialisms from an evolving English didn’t reach his shores. This might have been true in my case too. Till our economy’s liberalisation in the late 1990s, we chewed the old colonila cud).

    I began picking up these dead handy phrases from the internet, but they absolutely never felt natural till I moved to the US and had an ‘immersion’ experience, as it were. Within the first winter, I was saying “bullshit”, “jerk!”, and “sucks”, although ‘ass’ and its derivatives still don’t come naturally to me. I was also saying “fuck off” instead of “bugger/sod off”, for instance, “guy” instead of “fellow” or “chap”, and “movie” instead of “film”. But the biggest diff was in style. I realised I’d begun to speak and write in sentences that to me were short, abrupt, and somewhat unsatisfying — and this was serving me better than my normal speech would. It took me a good few months after coming back to slip back into my old speech pattern. But when chatting with my American pals, I notice a distinct slipping into “Aw, that sucks! What a total jerk!” mode 🙂

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