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Monday, January 14, 2008

Text Message of the Week

posted by on January 14 at 12:24 PM

From my friend Charlotte:

There’s no reason for anyone to ever say “merely.” People who decide to use that word are assholes. Y/N? Y/Y.

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So, that makes Charlotte an asshole for using the word in her text message? Or are some uses permissible? Do quotation marks make the difference?

Posted by I'm merely sayin' | January 14, 2008 12:30 PM

Well put "Asswhole"

Posted by apttitle | January 14, 2008 12:33 PM

That's merely your opinion.

No, you're right.

Posted by monkey | January 14, 2008 12:33 PM

It is merely a lust of the blood and a permission of
the will. Come, be a man. Drown thyself!

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 12:34 PM

OK, there goes Shakespeare, the asshole...

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,...

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | January 14, 2008 12:41 PM

Add to that the word 'simply'. If it was so simple I wouldn't have had to ask you. Dick.

Posted by Joe in DE | January 14, 2008 12:41 PM

The reason for saying "merely" is to provide the necessary linguistic context for jokes about meerkats.

Posted by lostboy | January 14, 2008 12:43 PM

I'd rather be an asshole than a word Nazi.

But then again, it was merely a text message. And it was merely from Charlotte.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 14, 2008 12:43 PM

Anyone who text messages is an asshole.

Posted by Merrily merely | January 14, 2008 12:50 PM


Merely some typos. There is war to think about.

And, merely working hard end neo fascism in America - soon we all hope.

Posted by Jack | January 14, 2008 12:53 PM

Agreed. I'd like to add "basically" to that. Not in every context, but definitely when it begins the answer to a question. It usually means "I don't know the answer, but I like talking."

Posted by Dougsf | January 14, 2008 12:54 PM

Shakespeare, yeah yeah. But YOU GUYS. Think about SAYING "merely" OUT LOUD in a conversation using your mouth!!! Think about it! Seriously, can you imagine?

Posted by Lindy | January 14, 2008 12:54 PM

O thing of prudent nation not merely in being seen but also even in being related worthy of being praised that they her by anticipation went seeing mother, that she by them suddenly to be about to be cherished had been begun she felt!

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 12:55 PM

Personally, I enjoy superfluous adverbs. They make all my friends sound like they think they are really insightful. I like to use them so I can sound really super duper smart and stuff. Basically, that is merely the only reason I would ever use them...simply.

Posted by maxine | January 14, 2008 12:59 PM

Acting is merely the art of keeping a large group of people from coughing.

Sir Ralph Richardson

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

Albert Einstein

Anyone who works is a fool. I don't work - I merely inflict myself upon the public.

Robert Morley

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.

Heinrich Heine

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 1:00 PM

The beauty of the English language is the sheer number of words that aren't strictly necessary. Why do we need the words excrement and feces and s**t? Because it adds color to our language.

As such, I disagree with people who would like to excise a word from our vocabulary. But if I HAD to pick a word to excise, it would be "utilize."

Posted by arduous | January 14, 2008 1:05 PM

I've always been troubled by the redundancy of *reiterate*.

Posted by kid icarus | January 14, 2008 1:18 PM


People who judge other people by the words they use are axxholes.


Posted by Will in Seattle | January 14, 2008 1:18 PM

"The courts are merely a ruse, if you will, for humanist, atheistic educators to beat up on Christians." - Pat Robertson

'Nuff said.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 14, 2008 1:19 PM

i think assholes use "y/n?" myself.

Posted by terry miller | January 14, 2008 1:34 PM

Though one good thing about using superfluous verbiage is that it doesn't render you fat or ugly; and that's a good thing if you wish to remain on the side of the lookist Nazis who dismiss you merely because because of that. "Merely" is also a good comparative as in when the bullet grazed TR's heart, he said: "Bully, merely a scratch."

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | January 14, 2008 1:38 PM

For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

Nelson Mandela

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.

Duke Ellington

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.

Edward R. Murrow

Art is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.

W. Somerset Maugham

If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.

Victor Hugo

OK. I swear, I'll stop now.

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 1:42 PM

Bah, humbug. Merely is a great word for humorous understatement. Like, "while the opening band was unbearable, the headliner was merely atrocious." Or "The first time I got married it was a living hell, but the second time was merely unpleasant."

Posted by also | January 14, 2008 2:00 PM

I vote "literally." Terribly misused.

Posted by Gloria | January 14, 2008 2:12 PM

I'm with you Gloria @24, and I would also like to nominate "actually" because, what...if you don't say "actually" in front of every verb I'm going to think you are speaking about "virtual" events, or that you've made everything up in your head (e.g. "Whitesnake actually showed up and they actually had mullets!")?

Posted by Mittens Schrodinger | January 14, 2008 2:28 PM

All this discussion has left me merely moist.

Posted by Spoogie | January 14, 2008 2:33 PM

betcha charlotte can't verbally describe anything without using "like"

Posted by misrule | January 14, 2008 2:55 PM


Posted by Lindy | January 14, 2008 3:05 PM

Not only have I actually used "merely" in casual conversation, I think I've occasionally used "albeit" as well. Behold! I am Douchebag, hear me drone ...

Posted by tsm | January 14, 2008 3:36 PM

I'd prefer that we educate people about not using "suddenly" in narration. It always takes the suddenness away from whatever follows.

Posted by Gitai | January 14, 2008 3:46 PM

Lindy's friend is right. The only way "merely" doesn't sound pedantic and/or pretentious is if it's used in an ironic way.

Posted by Ryan | January 14, 2008 4:53 PM

'merely' is a polite way of conveying condescension. it is a rather nasty, snotty word. and i love it.

Posted by pretentious | January 14, 2008 5:39 PM

@7 I sense danger ; naw, that's merely bric-a-brac.

"Text message of the week"? I believe it is merely Monday, might this be a bit premature.

But sersly who say merely in txt msg, , lolz bai.

Posted by Epimetheus | January 14, 2008 7:08 PM

I think those who wish to eliminate certain words from the English language are part of a Republican plot to make Newspeak this country's official language.

And @9 beat me to what I was going to say, word for word, by about nine hours.

Which reminds me, what are all of you doing on the Slog, especially one on this subject, during working hours on a Monday? Am I the only one here who is actually doing my job?

Posted by RainMan | January 14, 2008 9:50 PM

Merely should only be used sparingly. There are much worse linguistic crimes. What needs to be obliterated from all written and verbal communication is the phrase, "not to mention"--followed, of course, by the writer/speaker MENTIONING THE VERY THING THAT IS NOT TO BE MENTIONED, OBLIVIOUS TO HIS/HER IDIOTIC CONTRADICTION.

Posted by deb occle | January 14, 2008 10:55 PM

People who send texts like that are "merely" pretentious twats desperate for others to see them as intelligent.Lame.

Posted by Homie | January 15, 2008 8:00 AM

Ouch! This pretentious twat offers (in the spirit of mitigation): I didn't think that text would be made public, and Lindy knows me well enough to know that "y/n? y/y" means I wasn't entirely serious. I sent that while surrounded by wine-drunk, early 20s law students talking at me about whether they think a "classical education" is a "valuable investment" or "merely" a blah blah blah... not exactly Shakespeare. Please to be cutting me some slack!

Posted by Charlotte | January 15, 2008 10:21 AM

merely merely merely merely
life is but a dream

...sorry what were we talking about?

Posted by erika | January 15, 2008 2:43 PM

Uh, erika, that's merrily.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 15, 2008 5:53 PM

I'll use whatever fucking words I cunting well want to.

Posted by Greg | January 17, 2008 3:15 PM

be less than it had been the year before. Many who had been bred in the whoever possesses it requires that it should be employed but having no

Posted by James | January 24, 2008 1:39 PM

aewdsa saf wefrasf adsf sdaf

Posted by Jessica | January 28, 2008 2:42 AM

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