I read a blog today by Pernille Ripp in which she encased the word “just” in quotes. I appreciated the quotes as she was (in my mind) pointing out that preceding a job title with the word diminishes the job and by association, the person holding the job. In the comments section following the blog, a person then referred to herself as “just a classroom teacher”. (I wonder if she has seen Taylor Mali read his poem about What a Teacher Makes. )
Too many times I have heard the word used in technology training sessions prefacing a direction such as “You just click on the link.” and followed by “It’s just that easy.” The connotation is that the action is simple and that the person should see it clearly. I find that the first time I do almost anything it’s JUST not that simple.
I just gave up and looked up the word in the dictionary and found that the meaning of “merely” is actually number 12 out of 14 possible meanings. The first ten meanings listed have to do with principle, being right, and being exact. Maybe “just” isn’t as bad as I thought but it sure has become a trigger word for me.
Do you have any trigger words? What words make you tense up and not see quite straight? I just want to know.