In these unprecedented times, it is important to not lose our heads; we must remain calm and steadfast in the face of adversity in these unprecedented times, joining together
First, but not foremost: “the virus”. It is not the virus, it is not even the coronavirus. It is a coronavirus, called SARS-
More importantly, however, the time of the unprecedented use of “unprecedented times” must come to an end. Not because the times themselves are overly precedented, but rather that the phrase itself has already become an overused, trite, vapid banality of a hackneyed cliché. Crack open a thesaurus, people! The times, they are bizarre, extraordinary, remarkable, singular, unparalleled, and possibly even unrivaled in living memory. And, if one is willing to go the extra mile, perhaps the times themselves could be recast as an age, an era, this moment, or simply the present.
In this extraordinary era, it is important to not lose our heads; we must remain calm and steadfast in the face of adversity in this unparalleled moment, joining together
— while maintaining the appropriate social distance in these bizarre times — for the common good. However, unless our age becomes even more singular and some virus mutates one of your loved ones into a flesh- eating zombie, or the virus itself grows to the size of a beachball and begins chasing you through your garden, there is no excuse for wildly inaccurate speech, even in this remarkable age.
The improvement to the text is unrivaled in living memory! That is not to say that the text is good, by any means. However, it is infinitely5 better.
Don’t panic! Keep your cool. Work together, but keep your distance. JUST STOP SAYING WE ARE IN UN-BLOODY-PRECEDENTED TIMES!!! AAAARRRGRGGHHHH!6
1 The Biology Interns have assured the Editorial Board that this is extremely unlikely. On the other hand, these are Biology Interns who could only find indentured servitude at a linguistics journal. Your allophones may vary.
2 Despite the poor example set by various politicians.
3 It is also not the “China virus”7 or “Wuhan virus” despite the very precedented toponymy in disease and pathogen names
4 The SpecGram Legal Interns note that this proclamation comprises8 neither linguo-
5 The Mathematics Interns have narrowed it down to a factor between ℵ0 and ℵω. Did you really expect10 more from Math Interns who could only find indentured servitude at a linguistics journal.11 Your sociolect may vary.
6 After a liberal hosing down with the linguo-
7 And it is certainly not the “Gyna virus”
8 Is this an “acceptable” use of comprise? Does anyone even know anymore.12
9 You can, in fact, use either/or and neither/
10 Honestly, did you understand the constraint “between ℵ0 and ℵω” well enough to actually expect anything? Would it kill you to crack open a math book? Not even a real math book; anything by Ian Stewart13 would likely do.
11, 12 Admittedly, the lack of question mark in these cases is debatable. However, there is a growing trend toward statements in the form of a question14 being written without question marks when they are, pragmatically,15 not actual questions.
13 Ian Stewart:mathematics::Steven Pinker:linguistics.16
14 Alex Trebek was unavailable for comment on his potential culpability.
15 Yes, yes, I railed against such a pragmatic out above. The Editor-
16 In a good way