words: Rakhesh Martyn
The other day, I had a thought. During my six years in the UK, I’ve heard a lot of people use the phrase ‘same difference’ in conversation. Their use of this nonsensical two-word combination has annoyed me so much that I’ve gone and written about it.
The first time this abomination actually caught my attention was when these two plagued our lives with their horrifically artificial grins, downright incestuous on-stage chemistry and awful singing.
“It’s because of the fact that we’re related. We’re brother and sister. So we’re the same, but different!”
Sorry, what? There is no parallel universe in which that explanation makes sense. Yahoo! Answers gave me the following:
‘When someone says “SAME DIFFERENCE” they are acknowledging there is a DIFFERENCE between their point of view and someone else’s perspective. But, they dismiss that difference is of no consequence by saying it is the SAME.’
That’s just laziness, isn’t it?? UNCOOL. Somebody tried to convince me that it was a legitimate phrase by showing me its definition on Urban Dictionary of all things. Smooth. Let’s examine some of the examples given:
‘Bob: I love apples.
John: Don’t you mean oranges?
Bob: Same difference.’
No Bob, you mean apples! John, you should’ve paid attention. How are apples the same as oranges? If there’s a difference but it’s the same, from what are they both equally different? Shouldn’t there be some sort of constant frame of reference? Here’s another.
‘”Same difference” and “same thing” are not the same thing, but hey, same difference.”‘
Anybody with a good working knowledge of the English language should immediately be able to dismiss that as gibberish.
What has happened to the British? I grew up in a third-world Commonwealth country, learning English from people taught by the British themselves and working hard to get it right so I could hold my own when I moved to the United Kingdom (which I somehow always knew I would end up doing). When I got here, I quickly realised that the British had very little concern for the way they used their own language. This isn’t a sweeping statement, of course.
Phrases like ‘same difference’, which effectively mean nothing and are just cobbled together so some lazy sods can win an argument without trying, should be banned. I propose we introduce jail time for those that use it.
Actually, maybe that’s a bit harsh. How about community service? Same difference.
Got any meaningless yet commonly used expressions you wanna have a moan about?
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