Thursday, June 28, 2012

‘Delicious’: most over-used adjective

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” ― Harper Lee
With its Facebook status update on June 7, I Love Libraries shared this great quote. When re-posting it, I commented that this quote would be ideal on the in-box for community news submissions.

Submitted press releases frequently contain unnecessary and subjective adjectives. The most notorious and overused is “delicious” when promoting a meal. Whatever the occasion, formal dinner or barbecue, the meal is nearly always “delicious.”

As if the person preparing the meal would ever strive for any other kind, right?

Unfortunately for the submitters, their notion of “delicious” is a matter of personal opinion and the media are in the business of reporting just-the-facts.

On one memorable occasion, every single item on a club’s bill of fare was absolutely revolting to me, a person with food sensitivities. Billed as “delicious,” the menu consisted of cold, clammy, chunky textures that I absolutely would not eat.

But my reactions to food textures  are equally subjective -- so while “delicious” was cut from the text, it was NOT replaced by the adjectives that, if asked, I would have supplied to the meal: “revolting,” “vile,” “inedible.”

If a person has difficulty separating fact from subjective opinion, he or she would do well to heed Atticus’s advice and delete the adjectives. It’s an effective place to start.