The photo above has nothing to do with today's post, but isn't Tuukka a majestic boy?
Last week's post got me thinking about the category of words and phrases I don't like, which got me thinking about "just." I first became aware that nothing good ever follows this four-letter word when we lived in the dorms. My telling a kid, "It's study hall, so you need to get off the phone," would be met with, "I'm just talking to my mother" or "I'm just finishing up" or "I'm just working out plans for my weekend" or "I'm just" any of a number of things that weren't doing what the student was supposed to be doing, namely not talking on the phone.
Justice (the concept, not the clothing store), on the other hand, I love. I'm a big fan of the idea that things should be fair. I like just rules and just plans.
However, I've noticed that any excuse that begins with, "I'm just" goes to places I don't believe in. I can think of several terms with "just" that leave me flat.
- just a little bit (when referring to dessert or anything I want more of)
- just us (when leaving people out)
- just in time (when I'm waiting for someone)
- just around the corner (when we can't predict the future)
- just because (when we have no real reason/excuse)
- just kidding (when someone's feelings get hurt)
- just deserts (when something bad happens to another person)
- just looking (when one's eyes wander inappropriately or when one doesn't buy something)
- just a minute (when someone's kept waiting)
- just my luck (when something bad happens)
- just what the doctor ordered (when the item in question isn't actually healthy)
- just one of those things (when we can't explain)
- just saying (when one's words are not nice or necessary)
- just as well (when it never is)
- just in case (when it might not be necessary)
- just married (well, this one seems okay now that marriage equality exists)
Overall, that's a lot of phrases that we'd be better off without. Think before the next time you start a sentence with, "I'm just" and ask yourself if what you're saying is an excuse for bad behavior. Is it? Just saying.
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