This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Sunday Rest: wannabe. Word Not To Use Today.

Once, on a train from Budapest to Venice, I fell into conversation with a charming young Italian man called Beniamino.

What, he wanted to know, was the meaning of the English gonner, about which so many songs were sung?

It took a little while, but we worked it out in the end. He meant gonner as in I'm gonner sit right down and write myself a letter

Gonner = going to. 

Futuro, we said, in triumph. Futuro!

Which leads us, unfortunately, to wannabe. (You say it WONaBEE, with the WON to rhyme with ON, not SON.) 

Wannabe is basically an easy-to-say form of want to be.

This is a nasty word because it's inherently contemptuous. 

A wannabe is someone who has a dream and is hoping that someone else will make it come true. 

A wannabe has a high sense of entitlement but not nearly enough courage or discipline.

So. How do you distinguish between the wannabe and the up-and-coming singer/painter/estate agent?

Well, you could try asking them to prove their worth.

You never know, they might surpise you - and perhaps themselves, as well.

Word Not To Use Today: wannabe. 

Mind you, having said all that, it's rather a good song.

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