I’m persuaded we need to come up with some more “amazing” descriptive adjectives. As I glance at various newsfeeds during the course of my week, I’ve noticed more and more news outlets utilizing the same big adjectives to get our attention, hoping we’ll click on — and perhaps even read — the content they have on display. The basic template (with some variables) goes a bit like this:
The Intro: Take a look / Check out / Click on / Read about this / You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t learn about …
Insert Amazing Adjective: amazing, awesome, breathtaking, incredible, mind-boggling, shocking, unbelievable …
Insert Subject: inspiring person (or people) / evil and scary people / dumb people (fails) / cool new tech and science / weird or funny video / inspiring pets …
So, if you want to build an attention-getting headline, it could look like this: “You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t check out this amazing Tibetan monk and his incredible three-legged cat sing their rendition of The White Stripes’ hit “Seven Nation Army” or something like that. All right, that tag went a little long, but you get the general idea.
Problem is, every time I see “amazing, incredible, shocking” or similar adjectives directing me toward “amazing” content these days, I tend to ignore it.
“Amazing” and all of its cousins have been done to death. If a dog startled by its own fart and an 80-year-old blind man finishing a marathon in record time are both “amazing” events, I just don’t have much of a feel (or respect) for the word anymore.
So, whoever is responsible for adjectives in the English language (do they meet in a cabal somewhere?) needs to come up with an entire new batch of attention-grabbing adjectives. If they’re in a hurry, or short on ideas, they could mix and match some of the old ones until inspirations hits. How about: awcredible, breathstunning, mind-staggering, spectawesome or remarkomenal?
Well, it might take a little more work than that. Regardless, I think we need a few more subs for some our most overworked adjectives. They deserve a breather on the linguistic sidelines for a while. And when they do finally head back into the grammar game, we might actually be excited to see them for a change. That really would be amazing.
Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.