Actually, ten years ago I would’ve said “like” and “you know”

If you caught the third airing of Book TV’s “Literary Blogs and Their Influence,” welcome. And please be aware that I have not yet begun talking about myself in the third person. The delightful Annie Reid takes over this site most Fridays, and the words about the white rabbit and whatnot are her handiwork.

Periodically I receive blunt criticism of my posts and stories from readers — one man observed that my nonfiction stories don’t work well because I’m “trying too hard to sound like myself” — but today marks the first time a reader has called me to task for a verbal tic, one I’ll proceed to obsess over until I replace it with something even more annoying.

Says a reader I’ll call Milton:

Just saw you on “Literary Blogs and Their Influence”. You will occasionally use the word “actually” in your articulation of a point. In my view, the apparent unconscious use of the word has the opposite effect of its intended use. The statement of which it is employed is usually more clear without it.

It annoys me when I see (hear) a literate person’s frequent use of it.

I am a practicing clinical psychologist (for 30 years)…. Why that damn word bothers me I have not figured out.


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