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You know you talk like a toddler, right?

A recent and deeply disturbing addition to the Word Salad Hall of Shame is the painfully frequent use of the word “right” pronounced in the earnest tone of a toddler in need of constant reassurance.

“I pooped in the big girl potty, right? so I can play with my Legos, right? and then we can go to Granny’s, right? and we can have hot dogs for dinner, right?” is an adorable, if exhausting, indication that a little one is learning how to win friends and influence those closest to her. Soon, she’ll leave the need for constant reassurance behind and make her way in the bigger world of classrooms and playgrounds.

Even a small dose of “right?” is anything but adorable in the mouths of politicians, pundits, and other professionals who get paid to persuade us that they know what they’re talking about.

It was bad enough when adults in positions of authority took to ending simple declarative sentences with a “right?” Now, they’re tacking it on to the end of each clause.

Many of the hackneyed expressions that make up the iceberg lettuce-base of Word Salad are used primarily by Valley Girls and Someone’s Ne’er Do Well Nephew that we aren’t listening to, anyway. By contrast, “right?” has metastasized to some really smart people at every point along the political spectrum.

We’d listen to them more if they weren’t in constant need of soothing, like the brilliant baby-man that Beck Bennett plays so brilliantly.

It’s a good time to buy teddy bears, right? and baby blankies, right? because we seem to be having an adult onset insecurity epidemic. Right?

 

Written By

Florence Beth Snyder is a Tallahassee-based lawyer and consultant.

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