Correct Use of ‘Obviously’ Not So Obvious

Via ViralPrints

Practically everyone makes this mistake. I used to make it myself, which may be why it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me.

We’re talking about where to put the word “obviously” in a sentence when you’re expressing disappointment. As press secretary for the Ohio Attorney General, I had many, many occasions to use this construction. Any time a court decision didn’t go our way? “We are obviously disappointed.”

You see this all the time in the news, often in stories involving justice and the courts, and especially in sports stories:

So what’s wrong with “obviously disappointed?” What you’re essentially saying is your disappointment is obvious. That you’re wailing on a street corner rending your garments and pulling out your hair.

The simple fix? Move “obviously” to the front: “Obviously, we’re disappointed.” Meaning, it should be plainly obvious since we fought so hard for victory that this slap in the face comes as a disappointment.

What is not so obvious is why this bugs me so much. It just does. We all have our peeves.

Leave a Reply