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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Interesting

I almost always use the word "interesting" when it isn't. It is a negative word, always followed by a "but." It merely softens the objection that is coming. I've seen many professors use it this way when a student says something wrong or extremely limited, or interesting in a kind of off-topic way.

4 comments:

Vance Maverick said...

It's a very weak term of praise. What would the substantiation of it look like? If one can actually give more detail about the way in which the thing interests you, then you can write something more, well, interesting.

Vance Maverick said...

Meant to add that because it's weak, for Gricean reasons, using it rather than something more committal is telling.

clarissasblog.com said...

Today I caught myself repeating "interesting" 4 times in a row at a tea store. This was my way of signalling to the saleswoman that she was boring me to death but she didn't get my meaning.

Andrew Shields said...

In linguistic terms, it's just conversational filler, or a marker, as Clarissa suggested, that has nothing to do with something actually being interesting. In speech, then, it serves its purposes.

In expository writing, it is useless. It's even worse than "it's striking" as a cheap way to make a transition.