The everchanging English Language

The English language is constantly changing over time. New words come into existence and meanings of words and phrases change. There are thousands of words and phrases in English we can use, but sadly, most people have a very limited vocabulary and misuse existing words

In this article I draw your attention to some recent English usage/mis-usage trends which intrigue me as well as annoy me for a variety of reasons. Here they are in alphabetical order.

all good

Do you need my help with that project? All good. It’s finished now.

This can mean “I don’t need your help” or “it is not a problem now”. What happened to sentences such as “I am alright now” or “Everything is fine”.


For some reason, people started saying “anyways” instead of “anyway”. I am not sure why but the Oxford Dictionary says it is a non-standard form of anyway. Who decided to add the unnecessary letter? I am told it is used a lot on the East coast of the USA, especially New Yorkers so I am sure it came to Australian shores through the medium of television or movies.

Anyways – I will move on to the next word.


Basically is an adverb that is used when you are giving your opinion or stating what is important about a situation. For example, he basically just sits there and does nothing all day. Unfortunately basically gets added to sentences as a filler word without any consideration of how it adds meaning to a sentence.

dropped / to drop/ dropping

Our new release drops next Monday.
Blackpink’s dropped their new video today.

This is a new way of saying “released” or “published”. I can imagine videos or the latest version of products falling from the sky. I am not sure what is wrong with using words like released, published or launched. Maybe dropped is a word created by language hipsters?

fewer / less

These two quantifiers continue to confuse the masses because of a lack of understanding of countable and uncountable nouns. You can tell if a noun is countable by seeing if it makes sense to use a number in front. One apple ,two apples. Yes! Apple is a countable noun. Fewer refers to countable nouns. There are fewer biscuits in the jar compared to this morning. Some countable nouns have a different plural form – child/children, person/people.

Less refers to uncountable nouns and treated as a singular noun. There is less milk in this glass compared to your glass. There is less noise in this room.

The Eight Items or Less sign in the supermarket checkout area should really be Eight Items or Fewer. Somehow I think we are stuck with the fact that the distinction between fewer and less is disappearing.


The real meaning of literally is to emphasise that a word or phrase has the true (the literal) meaning instead of a metaphorical meaning. For example, we say that it is raining cats and dogs to mean that it is raining heavily. If they are many cats and dogs falling from the sky I can say that it is literally raining cats and dogs.

Now it seems that literally is being used to add emphasis which is just downright confusing. Oxford dictionary says it is an informal way of adding emphasis while not being literally true. That seems really stupd to me! Look at this example: I was literally blown away by the response I got. That should mean the person was physically moved by a blast of air.

Misuse of literally is my pet hate.

my bad

This phrase became popular about 10 years ago when I think it got popularised in a TV show. It means “I made a mistake”. I refuse to say my bad and will continue to use sentences like “I’m sorry about that” or “I was wrong”.

personal / personally

Personal is an adjective that means your own, or not belonging to or connected with anyone else. For example, this novel is written from personal experience (in contrast to information gained from research). I need my own personal space (in contrast to space for other people such as family members).

Sometimes personal creeps into a sentence where it is not required. Maybe the speaker wants to add emphasis, for example, “My personal favourite is ……”. Personal doesn’t add anything to this sentence.

My personal opinion sounds a bit strange because the opinion belongs to you therefore it is personal, unless you are distinguishing your personal opinion from your professional opinion?


Smashing a goal means to achieve a goal. Smashing your sales targets means achieving your targets, not physically destroying them. I am not sure what is wrong with words like achieving or completing. Does achievement have to be accompanied with the violence of smashing things?


I got leftover food from the party, so that is dinner sorted! Sorted is a new trendy word related to “sorted out” and means completed, solved or organized. The Oxford Dictionary says this is informal British English. Don’t worry. We’ll soon have this sorted.

What is a word or phrase you have noticed recently or annoys you? Please leave a comment.


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