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No Love, Actually

By the title you might think this is going to be a posting about Valentine's Day, but actually you would be mistaken. It is actually more of a drinking game post. Unless you're actually impossibly stupid, you noticed the section this was actually in and actually figured out the topic. I'm calling for the death of a word: actually.

I use the word myself, so it's not an earnest assassination. When used sparingly and properly, it's actually a pretty nice word. In the last year, though, I've noticed it being used increasingly as a filler word instead of with the meaning “in reality” or “surprisingly”. It's become the pseudo-intellectual's “like”. The white-bread version of “ya know what I'm sayin'?” The hipster-friendly update of “...not!”

My latest run in with this verbal vomit was when listening to a story on a recent podcast of Quirks & Quarks. Be prepared to have a lot of alcohol handy, because I counted 24 uses of actually in that brief interview. Quirks & Quarks also gets the Actual Award for Contradictory Confirmation for an older story where we hear this exchange:

Q: Were you surprised by the findings?
A: We were, actually.

I don't mean to pick just on them or their guests, but they're a science show, so I expect a bit more from that crowd. It would almost be understandable by comparison to point back to Emma Roberts on The Tonight Show as she burns through actually more than 10 times in 4 minutes.

Unfortunately, I don't think actually is going to die any time soon. So grab some booze and actually join the party. If you have any other examples of actually being abused, please add them to the comments.