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Sort of...

Those who are or claim to be experts on something or another, and who because of their expertise receive air time on local radio and televisions programs, should note the following tips.

Use "clearly," only to clarify something your audience wouldn't think is clear in the first place. I heard a Vermont politician say, "The snow is clearly melting-clearly spring is on its way." Hey, Mr. Politician you're not on satellite radio-you're on local radio and you're talking to Vermonters. Vermonters who know that snow melting in March is a forerunner to spring. Your expert observation is clearly wasted expertise. (Take clearly out of the last sentence and see if it's missed.)

My hunch is we over use clearly because we've heard fancy talking heads on big-time media use it; you think using it makes you sound smart which legitimizes the amount of air time you've been allowed. Smart is knowing that the fewer times you use clearly the more space will be open to use pertinent words. CNN's John King and U.S. Gen. Petraues seldom him-haw around with unneeded language.

I heard a woman politician say, "It's sort-of going to be, a sort-of, grand celebration of our heritage."

I wondered-was it going to be grand or sort-of grand because I'll arrange my day around grand; I'll pay $25 to go see grand, I'll trudge around a waterfront on a sweltering hot afternoon to watch grand. I'm just not so sure I can get my gander up for sort-of grand.

Mrs. Politician, why not give the celebration its due? It's not going to sort-of grand-its going to be grand, dang it!

If you weigh 350 pounds, you aren't sort-of 350 pounds, you're 350 pounds. If you are 5'2" tall and weigh 350 pounds, you aren't so heavy-you're sort-of going to die, you're going to die. None of us are sort-of going die.

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