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  • JOHN WORSLEY SIMPSON

“Earlier” and a few other nonsense words








One of the most irritating words in common use is “earlier.” It’s a junk word that almost always adds nothing but seven useless letters to a sentence. “The raid, which was carried out earlier this month…” Well, of course it was carried out “earlier”: it couldn’t occur later, could it? Unless the writer was some kind of seer. A millisecond ago is earlier, a day ago is earlier, a week ago is earlier…”The raid, which was carried out this month…”




Another interjection that drives me batty, and seems to be gaining in use, is: “more importantly.” The phrase should be “more important.” It’s adjectival, not adverbial. It implies the words” “what is…is” as in, “What is more important is that he won the election.” If one says, “More importantly, he won the election,” it’s saying he won the election “importantly,” in an important manner, since the adverb has to grope around until it finds a verb to modify. So, “More important, he won the election.”

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