Two of the multitude of overused, and often obscurely used, expressions of modern times are:
- The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread
- At the End of the Day
In the interests of better quality communication, let’s issue a “Breaking News” alert (since it doesn’t take much to qualify these days), and consider putting them out of our verbal misery.
Ponder their questionable, even feeble, characteristics of clarity:
THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD
- How much greater was it really that bread evolved from being merely a loaf to being a loaf in separate pieces? Wouldn’t it have been a natural thing to cut a bread loaf into smaller sections?
- Does anyone really know when the prevalence of sliced bread marked a turning point in civilization?
- How does one equate the importance of whatever is being measured in relation to sliced bread, or even as opposed to bread per say?
- What if the thing is not really a ‘thing’, but is in fact more intangible? Does it still qualify for comparison?
- Who gets to say the new ‘thing’ is the greatest, as opposed to merely greater?
AT THE END OF THE DAY
- Why is this expression so commonly used well before the end of the day?
- How does the speaker know the expression will still be valid in the context used when it does get to the end of the day?
- Why do we have to wait until the end of the day anyway? Wouldn’t the comment be valid now?
- What if the time frame is inaccurate? What if the related statement is valid at the end of the hour, but less so at the end of the day?
- What if the statement remains valid the next day, or week – does the expression need to be repeated?
There is so much to be considered when using such tangential expressions in everyday speak. One should use care, lest molehills be turned into mountains.