In The Atlantic Wire today (via Kashmir Hill), Jen Doll has an insightful and quite funny article about the use of "crutch words." Crutch words, she explains, are those expressions we pepper throughout our language as verbal pauses, and sometimes as written ones, to give us time to think, to accentuate our meaning (even when we do so mistakenly), or just because these are the words that have somehow lodged in our brains and come out on our tongues the most, for whatever reason. For example, Doll notes, Vice President Joe Biden used the word "literally" at least nine times in his speech at the Democratic National Convention last week. "Literally," however, is just one of many crutch words, and Doll walks through 13 others -- some of which I painfully recognize from my own writing and that of many of the law bloggers that I read: "Basically" -- I plead guilty to the use of this crutch word, and I think Doll nails it when she explains who uses this word and why: You like to cut to the chase, to synopsize, to bring things down to old bottom line of what's really, truly important ... So, basically, this...

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