Some words are annoying because they’re overused. Some words are annoying because they’re too pop culture. Some words are annoying because they’re inarticulate. A few very special words are like getting three lemons in the slot machine with no payoff–annoying because they’re all three. That’s certainly the case with the word unbelievable and its especially annoying pseudo-word, un-freaking-believable.
For me, it’s more the inarticulate nature of the word and its overuse that are the biggest problems. As I mentioned a couple of days ago (It Was Like a Nightmare or Something), the only way to communicate effectively is to be articulate, and statements similar to It was unbelievable or I couldn’t believe it or That was un-freaking-believable–did you believe that? do absolutely nothing to describe whatever allegedly shocking event apparently happened. (I can’t be certain that it happened since no one seems to believe it.) This is not to mention that much of the shock has faded over the couple of hundred times it was said just in the last week.
By the way, saying, unnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnbelievable, isn’t any better.
Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever