Tuesday, June 19, 2007

LangAlert: "At the End of the Day"



Note: Anne has pointed out that "LingAlert" doesn't really makes sense without the "u" after the "g" (for LinguAlert). So I'm switching to LangAlert (and I've edited the logo based on one of the comments below).

Just as "on the same wavelength" has been usurped by "on the same page" over the last five years or so, I've noticed that "when all is said and done" has now been almost completely replaced by "at the end of the day." I'm sure you've heard it:

"That's a great point, Bill, but the reality of it is this: At the end of the day, do the American people want more money in their pockets or less?"

As with most of these lingoverthrows, mere logic fails to explain it. "At the end the day" is not a more efficient phrase. It has the same number of syllables as "when all is said and done." I think the real reason for its rise is that it's folksier and paints a prettier picture.

I go back to the day at West Publishing when I heard an executive pronounce, "Over the next three months, we will be sunsetting this product line." Doesn't that take you back to the cabin up north, the loons cooing, the August magenta sun gently dipping behind the aspens, below the cool indigo waters...

Until you realize you're out of a job?

10 comments:

Stephen Dashboard said...

"Sunsetting"? What would "sunspotting" be? Or how about, "We'll be clambaking this project." You silly humans with your clicks and whistles...

The Wordman said...

it's always sunset somewhere here at West... and how appropriate, the confluence of our name and what we do to projects headed for the big roundup in the sky.

a propos your langalert:

Life, Liberty, and Politicians' Maddening Way With Words -- The infuriating blandness of political speech.

(http://www.slate.com/id/2168646/nav/tap3/)

reading this, I begin to realize why Hillary does very little for me as a candidate (to say nothing of most of the other jokers behind their podiums)

Anonymous said...

Re: "Lang" alert....isn't that going to confuse fans of Johnny, Fritz, Jessica and Ted?

Bellamy Grant said...

Thanks for that article, Wordman. It's true, of course. But as with the increasing ineptitude of the news media, I can't decide which is the cause and which is the effect. Politicians use this language because you have to to be "unattackable." The minute you say something precise, the opposition pounces and you're out of the race. That means "the people" are really to blame, because we say we want candor and precision, and then in the end, we let negative ads and push polling work on us.

Anonymous said...

Re: EOD...and what about all those poor people sitting home alone in the dark waiting for THE "end of days"? It's gotta be like fingernails on the chalkboard for them.

Bellamy Grant said...

In light of one of the comments, you'll see that I've created a new "LangAlert" logo.

Stephen Dashboard said...

At least two of your Langs are "Langes," I think. I'm sorry, but it's the editor in me.

Bellamy Grant said...

Yeah, I know. But I couldn't leave Jessica and Isaac out.

The Wordman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Wordman said...

where are the Falangistas?
http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/
article-9033613/Falange

Eu não falo o fascista...