The mysterious disappearance of "of course" (along with "to be sure", "naturally", and a few others of that ilk).

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Apr 13 16:52:46 UTC 2013

Whenever I venture into an observation on modern language, the response is
generally that this phenomenon was new in the mid 19th century, and not
very interesting even then.  However, we Thompsons rarely learn from
experience, so here I go again.

I have been noticing more and more lately that the word "obviously" in
contexts where I think "of course" or something else would be more the mot
juste -- when the situation described is not "obvious" but rather part of
the ordinary course of things, natural, necessary, to be expected, &c.

I suppose that I am encountering this mostly from sports broadcasters, and
not much in print, but then I don't watch or listen to much on television
or radio except sports, and don't read much written in the 21st century
other than a couple of newspapers -- and posts to ADS-L, obviously.
(Ahem.)  But I am noticing it from a number of sports pundits, in baseball
and hockey.

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society -

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