I’m guilty. I just did something I’ve argued against for years. And it’s not the first time – I’ll just get that out in the open right now.

I just used the word “awesome” in reference to an on-time pizza delivery. Yes, I had two very hungry nine-year-old boys to feed, and an empty refrigerator to boot. But was it “awesome”? Really?

Words of significance used to be reserved for momentous occasions. When did that change? When did awesome, phenomenal and outstanding become words we toss into the air casually when referring to hot pizza, a waived library fee or a short line at the grocery?

I’m not sure why, as a culture, we’ve slipped into this pattern of assigning meaningful words to meaningless events. As for me, I think I’ve simply become lazy. How much easier is it to thank the pizza delivery guy with “awesome” than to search for just the right phrase to express my gratitude?

As a writer, it’s important for me to stay connected to words and the best way to use them. As you create your content and client communications, it’s critical for you as well. I have two favorite resources that I use (and now I’m planning to use them more often):

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online
The Word of the Day emails remind me of the almost infinite possibilities out there in the big world of words. Today’s word, for instance, is “adumbrate”, meaning “to foreshadow vaguely.” I love that! I probably won’t use it in a resume or article – but I love knowing that it’s out there. Actually, perhaps I should say that I take great satisfaction in knowing it. Either way, it’s good stuff.

The Grammar Doctors
I look forward to every tweet from @grammardocs. Each one reminds me of something I should already know. It’s a painless (dare I say fun?) way to help me mind my p’s and q’s.