I’ve been listening to Judge Sonia Sotormayor‘s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. She’s basically okay — prudent, fair-minded, intelligent. Not anyone’s idea of a dazzling intellect but her heart’s in the right place and confirmation is a lock. But people who use the word “absolutely” as a way of trying to convey emphatic resolve and agreement are a problem to me. I think it’s a term that less-than-fully-honest people use to snow others with. Not maliciously but as a mild sidestep move.

When I hear “absolutely” my eyes narrow involuntarily and I start to pull back a bit. People in sales use it relentlessly in order to soothe and reassure, and in my judgment they deserve to be regarded askance for this. The world is divided into two camps — those who use this word and those who will use any word other than “absolutely” as a matter of honor. I prefer “emphatically”or “most certainly” or a simple “yes.”