Some people say “I love it” when they mean “I really like it.” It’s really fascinating to me how things like this come about in the English language. We’ve adopted so many foreign phrases, invented so many strange colloquialisms, and broke so many “rules” of conjugation and pluralization--how do we follow it all?

But how love lost some of its color and got applied to animals, plants, cars and coffee is what I really would like to know. As harmless as it might seem, applying a uniquely human term to inanimate objects and animals may have some repercussions.

On the one hand ennobling a Hershey’s bar by saying how much we love it does no harm to anyone. Of course, it’s often the symptom on one’s addiction to the cult of self-gratification. On the other hand, stretching the meaning of love (selfless sacrifice) and applying it to things that we just like (a lot) might lead to problems.

By using “love” as a synonym for like, could we be heading toward treating people like Hershey’s bars, ice cream, fast cars, and whatever else we have a use for or find pleasure in? Could a cheapening of a word make its original meaning less valuable? I imagine this might go beyond a concept—especially in a society in which people and relationships are like fashions.

I think the problem may be that sometimes language shapes our attitudes and behaviors in ways we don’t understand. Perhaps it’s best we save our most precious and endearing terms for the most precious and important things. Then we don’t have to worry about distinguishing “I love my dog” from “I love my God”


One Response so far.

  1. Interesting thoughts..

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