Basically

I never really thought much about this word until last week. I was preparing what I was going to say at Open House, and as I practiced my “speech”, I realized that I said “basically” a lot. Everything was “Well, basically this….” and “We basically that…” My goodness! I couldn’t believe how much I said the word basically. So I decided that I was going to go through the whole night without saying that word. However, when practicing again…I found it hard to substitute any word…it’s a word that has infiltrated my vocabulary, much like the word “like” (as in, “I was all like, what are you doing?”…from Valley Girl 80s speak, maybe? I hear it a lot as well…)

So I went through that night, and caught myself saying “basically” twice. I kicked myself each time I said, causing a slight “hiccup” in my flow of words. I thought, gosh, I sound stupid.

Until I noticed it from people around me. Just last night on the news, I heard the word “basically” many times from people being interviewed. I watched a craft show and heard “basically” a lot, too. At a meeting today, I counted “basically” used eleven times. I didn’t realize how popular that word is!

So, of course, it drove me to look it up on the internet.

From Dictionary.com, it says:

ba·si·cal·ly P Pronunciation Key (bs-k-l, -kl)
adv.
In a basic way; fundamentally or essentially: Throughout the ordeal, he remained basically the same.
For the most part; chiefly: They basically do what they are supposed to.

basically

adv : at bottom or by one’s (or its) very nature; “He is basically dishonest”; “the argument was essentially a technical one”; “for all his bluster he is in essence a shy person” [syn: fundamentally, essentially, in essence, au fond]

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

I also found that there are people who dislike that word, since it’s overused (check out the comments).

“Actually the use of basically clearly drives us nuts” is an article that says people tend to use basically more when speaking than in writing, but yet, not like a filler, like “you know”.

It seems to have started in England, and now that I think about it…yes…my British love had used the word basically in nearly every sentence (along with the word literally, of course, pronounced in British as “litchry”). Think about it…can’t you just hear Hugh Grant stuttering over that word? Along with literally?

And it seems that, if you say it in the media, it will discount your credibility. Wow! You know how many people I’ve heard say that on the news?!?!

Well, okay, maybe they weren’t reporters…or maybe they were…I just hear it often. So much so that when it is spoken, I start giggling. Yet, I would’ve never noticed its overuse if I hadn’t been talking out loud to myself, practicing my speech. I caught myself, but I wonder how many other people don’t realize it…it just flows from their mouth naturally. Especially those darn British 😉

I wonder what other words I overuse…hmm…I guess reading my words will show me, I should use that WordCounter.com but it might not be a good reflection of what I actually say (I don’t think I type what I would normally say, but maybe I do…). But then again, if I find out what words I overuse, I’ll be so self-conscious of what I say that I probably wouldn’t say anything aloud at all! Which is not good in my occupation… hehehe.

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3 Comments

  1. Ryan Said:

    Interesting links! Now that I post recordings of my voice online, I’ve noticed that “certainly” is one of my most overused filler words.

  2. lia Said:

    Wow, I’m honored you stopped by! Thanks 🙂

    I wonder if it has to do with the line of work you’re in? I’ve been noticing that a lot of my colleagues are using “basically” a LOT…sending me into a fit of giggles 😛

    I don’t know, maybe we always feel we have to break things down to a “basic” level, so we use basically a lot. But I guess others will not use it as much. Do a lot of your colleagues use certainly as well? Once I got onto this “basically” kick, I find myself listening to others’ words a lot and seeing which words are used most often. I apparently am using “a lot” right now in this post, heh.

    I’m trying to think if I use “certainly” and I don’t think I use it? I might have to tape myself and listen! heehee 🙂

    But then again, when am I ever certain about anything? ;P

  3. lia Said:

    cute that you used “basically” twice yourself 😉

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2005/Oct/18/il/FP510180302.html


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