The devolution of English language and slothful c.l.p behaviors exposed!

Rick Johnson rantingrickjohnson at
Wed Jan 25 15:14:43 EST 2012

On Jan 25, 11:26 am, K Richard Pixley <r... at> wrote:
> I disagree on all points.
> "Pretty" means "mostly".  The difference in meaning is significant.
> "I'm sure" is definitive.  "I'm pretty sure" leaves room for variation.

But "pretty" does not translate well as a quantifier, even though
that's exactly what you are doing when you use "pretty" to QUANTIFY
another word. Let's look at all the improper uses of "pretty" as a
quantifier in the month of September 2011...

py> lst = re.findall(r'pretty \w+', s, re.I)
py> lst.__len__()
py> set(lst)
set(['pretty cool', 'pretty quick', 'pretty nasty', 'Pretty easy',
'pretty useless', 'pretty logical', 'pretty rare', 'pretty sure',
'pretty straight', 'pretty optimistic', 'pretty unimportant', 'pretty
easy', 'pretty damn', 'Pretty much', 'pretty obvious', 'Pretty fast',
'pretty be', 'pretty good', 'pretty off', 'pretty inefficient',
'pretty bizarre', 'pretty minimal', 'pretty much', 'pretty cleanly',
'pretty natural', 'pretty mean', 'pretty acceptable', 'Pretty
immaterial', 'pretty common', 'pretty well'])

Wow, why i am not surprised! Let's pick one usage at random and try to
understand it. "I think XYZ is pretty easy." You don't even need
"pretty" to get your point across. You could simply say "I think XYZ
is easy". Furthermore, if you insist on QUANTIFYING a QUANTIFIER,
simply use any number of legal QUANTIFIERS. "I think XYZ is VERY easy"
or "I think XYZ is SOMEWHAT easy" or "I think XYZ is difficult".

Let's see which combination is most pervasive in this group:

py> d = dict([(lst.count(x),x) for x in setlst])
py> d[max(d)]
'pretty much'

So i suppose that "pretty much" sums it up folks.

> My dictionary lists "arduous" as the second, (of 17), definitions for
> "hard".

Again, like "pretty", this usage is a perversion of the word "hard".
Hard should ONLY be used to describe the tangible properties of a
physical object. You CANNOT use a tangible word to describe an
intangible action; like "work", or "task". Work can be difficult, and
tasks can be difficult, but there is NO way in heaven or earth that
work can be "hard", or "soft", or "squishy". Maybe an "object" you are
working ON can be hard, soft, or squishy -- but work, no way. You are
short circuiting intelligence when you use words in this manner.

In the general sense, I take no issue with words that carry more than
one meaning when used in different contexts. I DO however take issue
when words are used superfluously, or in a manner that is non
intelligent, or when people choose to use misleading words simply
because those words have less syllable than the proper word.

PS: Just like i suspected; not one single use of "pretty" was wielded
to describe the pleasurable attributes of a person, place, or thing.
Mind boggling!

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