“But “almost” is also a stringer, a filler. Two extra syllables, like blush after makeup, just that requisite fuzziness, like ambiguity in an instance of total candor.”
-André Aciman, writing in The New York Times, 9/15/12
Even though he can’t resist taking a peanut gallery potshot at Strunk and White, André Aciman does a good thing for all of us “almost”-abusers who need that spoonful of ambiguity more often than is healthy. Namely, he forces us to examine our compulsion.
It just makes writing a lot easier, taking that extra second to install an escape pod just in case anyone calls us out on the claim that would have been without “almost”:
- “No, no, the movie was almost as bad as Gigli!”
- “No, no! I was so mad I almost split the kitchen table in half with an axe!”