Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lazy, stupid misuse of great words #2: countless

I've already done one of these for the word "countless", but the lazy, stupid abuse of this wonderful word seems to be popping up a lot these days... or maybe I am just noticing it, for some reason.

A few days ago, shortly after I'd posted about how much I enjoy National Public Radio, I was driving in my truck and heard a music review on NPR about some musician -- I think he was a Brazilian in his seventies -- and the reviewer was enthusing about how this musician had "recorded countless albums".


"Countless albums"?

It's such a mind-bogglingly stupid misuse of "countless" that it makes my head hurt.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that the musician in question is seventy-five years old. Let's also posit that he is an amazing prodigy who has recorded ten albums per year since he was twenty years old (obviously a ludicrous number, but bear with me). That's ten albums per year over the course of fifty-five years. Basic arithmetic gives us, then, a total of five hundred and fifty albums. I can count that high... can't you? Five hundred and fifty is so staggeringly, brain-bendingly not even close to "countless" that it takes my breath away.

There is no way -- not even REMOTELY -- that this musician, or any other, could have "recorded countless albums". -- PL

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