Five Adjectives You Should Be Using, Instead of “Amazing”
I’m a lover of language. At least, I’m a lover of the one language over which I currently hold command (I do want to learn another one but, y’know, one thing leads to another and then I’m asleep and it’s June and… look, I just don’t have time for Spanish right now, ok?).
Therefore, as someone who always makes an effort to utilize a semblance of correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation, I try to keep it all fresh, all the time. Now, while I am a huge fan of the NBA’s “Where Amazing Happens” campaign, the adjective in question is the most overused of the decade. Everything is amazing, now, I’m told. Every new song is amazing. Every season finale of every television show is amazing. Every beverage being sold at Starbucks is amazing. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Sometimes “amazing” literally means that something is historic and unprecedented and other times, it is being used as a synonym for “hilarious” – the word is universally used and overused and used again. At this point, how can anyone be amazed at anything, anymore? If you’re amazed all the time, then that means everything is dually not amazing. On top of that, it’s just lazy and uninteresting when you use the same go-to adjective as everyone else. And you don’t want to be lazy and uninteresting, do you? (Just say no.)
So, in order to help you get going on the path of becoming an accomplished wordsmith, I’m going to give you the five adjectives you should be using, instead of amazing…
Really, if the mere knowledge of the existence of something forces you to talk or write about that something… that something is remarkable. It fits best in settings centered on great achievements in science and art, I’ve noticed. Both that stem cell breakthrough that may cure blindness and Banksy are pretty remarkable despite being completely different, inherently. Basically, imagine saying this word in a British accent, with a pipe in your mouth, while wearing a lab coat and you’ll know where and when it best fits.
Probably the “softest” word on this list, ‘splendid’ is best utilized in only a few certain situations – generally those that directly affect you yet occur outside your control. You won free stuff at a raffle? Splendid. Your jerk of a co-worker was stranded in the parking lot with a flat tire after bragging about his car, all day? Splendid. AMC is running GHOSTBUSTERS and GHOSTBUSTERS II back-to-back tonight in high def? Splendid. It’s pretty simple.
I would rank this higher but I am not because I remain unsure what it truly means to be astounded and I’d rather be too cautious than too confident. As such, this word is a real specialist – it doesn’t apply to everyday situations as well as it should. No matter how many games I watch, I still think that Lebron James is astounding. That new carpet that I claimed I loved? It’s nice and all but I was not nor will I ever be overwhelmed with surprise when I see it so, by definition, it cannot be defined as “astounding.” Understand?
I love any adjective from which a noun can be derived and “phenom” is a great (and dually underused) word. Additionally, ‘phenomenal’ is a real jack of all trades – it can be used for every sort of situation. A person, a movie, a meal, an object, and a moment can all be phenomenal; that sort of blanket language-compatibility is very unique.
This one, as the #1 suggests, is my absolute favorite. As indicated above, some adjectives have a bit of a “genre” attached to them, in terms of where and when they work best (example: you can say “STAR TREK was righteous” but that word really won’t fly when used to describe your mom’s homemade pound cake). There are no restrictions on ‘marvelous’. No, sir. It’s fun to shout with your hands in the air, it’s nice to say in a semi-serious tone in the middle of a dinner party conversation, and it’s perfect for when you’re talking about video games with your contemporaries. Further, it’s not a word a lot of people under 50 use in conversation which means it’s distinctive but its panache is not so great that the word will confuse anyone else. A marvelous word, it is.