When ‘No Problem’ is a Problem

When did we decide to answer a “thank you” with “no problem?” The appropriate response is “you’re welcome.” “No problem” has become the standard where “you’re welcome” used to be.

It grates on the nerves because “no problem” implies that you have had a problem in the past, but now it is no longer a problem; hence, the overused “no problem.” Then there is the Aussie “no worries,” which I personally like. There is also “it’s nothing,” or “please don’t mention it,” or “it was my pleasure.”

Saying “you’re welcome” sounds (to me, anyway) a more polite and genuine response to a thank you.” But this is how our language is going these days. Who would have ever thought phrases like “on fleek” would take hold?

And then there is my personal favorite, the WAY overused word that seems to describe everything: “awesome.” This word used to be used to describe something of great beauty and majesty, such as the hymn “How Great Thou Art” wherein the phrase is written: “Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hand hath made.”

But these days everything seems to be awesome. The strawberry smoothie you just tasted is awesome. The fact that you have changed your hairdo or makeup is awesome. The sun, moon and the stars are awesome. EVERYTHING is awesome.

When I was student teaching in my senior year at college, the word all kids used then was “mental.” Everything was mental; school, parents, music, food, etc. I thought I would lose my mind if I heard just one more “mental.”

Look, I don’t expect the English language to go back to Victorian times, but perhaps we could make a modest stand against the most irritating current words or phrases: “awesome,” “no problem,” and “like” peppered in every sentence.

We can but try, good sirs and ladies.



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