The Anti-Valentine: Seven Things Not to Say or Write on February 14

You’ve made it through 364 days without killing your relationship. Good for you! Now it’s Valentine’s Day – the day your Significant Other will scrutinize everything about you. Even your grammar.

If you can just get through February 14 without committing a major gaffe, you should be OK for another year. Here are seven costly word-related blunders to avoid on the day of luv:

  1. “Could potentially.” In this increasingly popular phrase, “potentially” is redundant because “could” indicates potential. So if you tell your sweetie, “You could potentially be The One,” you’re saying, “You could-could be The One.” Stop and think. Is “could-could” really what you want to say at this point in the relationship?
  2. “ATM machine.” The “M” stands for “machine,” so this is also redundant. Proper usage on your Valentine date: “Do you mind if I run to an ATM? Or can I just owe you for my half?”
  3. “Irregardless.” This is not a word. Don’t ever say, “Ohhhh, I love you irregardless of what you’re wearing!” Use “regardless” instead.
  4. The double-is. Ever noticed how people like to begin thoughts with “The thing is-is….” nowadays? Well, linguists project that if we don’t all knock it off, the triple-is will become Standard English by 2020. This Valentine’s Day, stick to a single is: “The thing is, I never technically broke it off with him.”
  5. “Koala bear.” A koala is technically not a bear. After having a gigantic stuffed koala delivered to your sweetie’s office during a meeting, don’t call and ask, “Did you get the koala bear?” You’ll look like a complete idiot.
  6. “Happy St. Valentine’s Day.” Don’t greet your dinner date with this remark. You’ll conjure up grisly images of a third-century martyr. Instead, call it Valentine’s Day like everyone else. Then, during dessert, casually start talking about Italy, and wonder aloud how many ancient saints must be buried along the Flaminian Way. The subject of St. Valentine will come up organically.
  7. Simple, heartfelt sentiments. Don’t even try to be concise today. Your lover will insist that you expand on your thoughts. Instead, spring for a store-bought card. The text will most likely cover every imaginable sentiment that a human being can feel for another human being, leaving no need for further explanation: “Valentine, there are times in everyone’s life at which we must stop and take stock of what is really important. And within the first few times I saw you, I knew you were the kind of person who I would consider to be an increasingly important part of the life I’ve been wanting to build. But there’s a part of me – a real and important part – that I’ve been holding back. And that part can be summarized with the following six points…”

Hey, good luck out there! Leave a comment below to let me know how it went on the big day.  Just be forewarned that I may use your comment as a pull quote in my upcoming white paper, “Tripping Off the Tongue – and Out the Door: Seven Ways Faulty Grammar Is Ruining Your Relationship.”

By Keven Smith