Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Tuesday Tip on A Phrase Pet Peeve(Or Maybe It's Just me)

I came across a line today that went something like this:

"Each of us has, as a person, vast potential."

Ack. Why do writers (and speakers) feel the need to qualify that "us"? As if as a person, we have tons of potential, but maybe, as a cat ( to use a for instance), things might be different.

Admit it. You've heard that phrase "as a person" used all the time and maybe you never thought about it. But when I hear "as a person," and the Beneficent Mr. Hall is around, I turn to him and say, "The poor extraterrestrials are feeling left out now."

"As a person." It's one of those phrases that's unnecessary. So please, just keep it simple: "Each of us has vast potential." I guarantee we'll know you're talking about humans.

(Unless you're writing sci-fi. And then it's perfectly acceptable to say, "Each of us has, as one-eyed purple people eaters, vast potential.")