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01 December 2008

What is a Plethora?

A couple of favorite movie dialogue snippets:

Jefe: I have put many beautiful pinatas in the storeroom, each of them filled with little suprises.
El Guapo: Many pinatas?
Jefe: Oh yes, many!
El Guapo: Would you say I have a plethora of pinatas?
Jefe: A what?
El Guapo: A "plethora."
Jefe: Oh yes, you have a plethora.
El Guapo: Jefe, what is a plethora?
Jefe: Why, El Guapo?
El Guapo: Well, you told me I have a plethora. And I just would like to know if you know what a "plethora" is. I would not like to think that a person would tell someone he has a plethora, and then find out that that person has no idea what it means to have a plethora.
Jefe: Forgive me, El Guapo. I know that I, Jefe, do not have your superior intellect and education. But could it be that once again, you are angry at something else, and are looking to take it out on me?

You may recognize that fantastic slice of comedic writing as being from 1986's ¡Three Amigos!. Now another bit, from the also-classic movie The Princess Bride (made a year later):

Vizzini: He didn't fall?! Inconveivable!!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Now, here are a few paraphrases of some Twitter chat from a young, hip, relevant church organization (I follow their Twitter feed -- Twitter is basically a way of broadcasting text messages or ones you type in your browser, to people who "follow" these occasional messages):

YHRCO: Spent the day at [insert church name] Church. They have an amazing staff!

YHRCO: Staying in a hotel in San Fran. The view from the window is amazing!

YHRCO: Just read [author like Andy Stanley]'s new book. It is amazing!

If I were a little less polite, I would Twitter back, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Or I might say something like, " thinks that 'amazing' means 'to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly.'"

Maybe even, "Please stop doing that. You're making me want to go pour salt in my eyes or something a little less painful than reading your Twitters."

I appreciate the majority of what this organization does in motivating young church leaders. But for the love of Pete, don't motivate them to do this! Being relevant (and maybe a faux-hawk type) doesn't mean you have to pepper your speech with words that don't mean what you wish they would mean.



Dean Lusk said...

If you have other examples, feel free to leave a comment. I did a Google search and found a large number of these sorts of misuses, but I didn't want to be really annoying in my post.

Leroy said...

Irregardless...[is that taking back what you just took back??]

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I hope that means what I think it does! :) Deanna

Leroy said...

"The fact of the matter is"...means "irregardless" of the "nugget of information" you are about to receive, you probably "could care less" [thanks for that reminder Dean].

Dean Lusk said...

Hey, while we're at it, am I wrong in thinking that people shouldn't say, "Just put your John Henry right there" when asking you to sign something? Shouldn't it be "John Hancock"?? Isn't he the one with the famous signature?

Saidin said...

Wow Dean, that was a really well written post!

Ninfa said...

I needed a good laugh this morning. That was great! In response to your comment on the John Henry Vs. John Hancock - it should be John Hancock. I am terrible about using words that don't mean what I think they mean. I was never good at spelling in school, and to make matters worse I was terrible at English. Being Married to the Son of an English College Professor he has done an Extreme Makeover in my speaking and writing habits. I still have him correcting me quite often but it isn't as bad as it used to be. I am probably one of those people that would drive you bonkers though if I didn't have Tony looking over my shoulder. ;o)

Greg said...

The one that gets me is the overuse of the word "awesome." It's thrown around way too liberally to the point that we have God being roughly compared to a nice car. I can't say that I've ever really been awed by a car, though.

The best part was when they shot the invisible man.

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