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News & views

‘Just’ meaningless

[7 Oct 2013] Journalists the world over seem to love the phoney shock value of ‘just’. Here’s an example from this morning’s Vancouver Sun, published in the city where your correspondent is gathering his wits for the forthcoming Plain Language Association InterNational conference, which starts Thursday:

‘She [Felicia Bartolomeo] was just 16 when 19-year-old Ryan [her brother] was shot in the head in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower on Oct. 19, 2007.’

How old should she have been? Can’t we be left to work out for ourselves whether she’s too old or too young to have endured this traumatic event?

We’ve mentioned this meaningless ‘just’ before:  

And no doubt we’ll mention it again.

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