Last Tuesday’s freestyle solution
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Word count: 72
Mean word length: 5.39
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Can I just go on a little non-grid-related bit of discourse here on modern language? This is a good place to talk about language, isn’t it?
I don’t know why people take issue with “No problem” in response to “Thank you”. Well, I do know why, actually… I’ve read the opinion pieces about it, and I remain frankly unconvinced. When you say “Thank you”, you mean, “I know it was a (however slight or significant) inconvenience and I appreciate your going out of your way to do me a favor.” And when the response comes “No problem”, it means “It was no problem”, as in “No, it was actually not an inconvenience and I was happy to help you.” It doesn’t mean, “Your request was problematic, but I dealt with it anyway.” The “problem” in “no problem” refers to the potential inconvenience that the requester was concerned about, not to the request itself.
This is typical in today’s culture of looking way too much into people’s words at the expense of their intentions. “No problem” has the same intention and conveys the same message as “You’re welcome”: “I was happy to do it for you.” It is a formula of politeness… nothing more. That “no problem” is an expression used mainly by the millennial generation and younger just makes this whole attitude seem like another petty way to complain needlessly about something else those annoying millennials do, another little sneering “this is why my generation is better than your generation” potshot.
I don’t care if someone replies to my “Thanks” with “You’re welcome”, “No problem”, “No worries”, “Sure”, “You got it”, “Don’t sweat it”, “Any time”… or even with a thumbs-up, a tongue click, a wink, or a smile and nod! Each one of those responses is a genuine acceptance of thanks. Complaining about how someone acknowledges your thanks smacks of being picky and — fancy the irony — ungrateful.
Language evolves. End of story. I thought that’s why we’re all here doing these puzzles, no?
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