Sunday, February 25, 2024

“Enjoy”: an overused word


It’s just not “enjoyable”


In a five star hotel last week, a waitress followed the delivery of every course with the phrase: “Please enjoy.” My guest and I commented on it each time and today, on a show named Come Dine With Me, I noticed that a hostess included the word “enjoy” anytime she did anything. I felt like throwing something at the television every time she uttered a word to which she really did not attach any genuine meaning to.


Saatchi & Saatchi’s “Enjoy Responsibly.” advert for Renault

Coca Cola base their marketing primarily around the use of the word “enjoy” also and an advertising campaign for Renault by Saatchi & Saatchi focuses on responsible enjoyment. Frankly, though, it’s reached a point where this word has simply been used too often and too insincerely.


Of course we all wish to “enjoy” what we are doing, but please could the overuse of this word just cease? Everyone will find any experience vastly more enjoyable as a result.



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  1. This is an incorrect term used normally by uneducated Slavic or E. European waiting staff whose command of our language is extremely deficient. When being approached by these people one should reply: “Enjoy what?” Then educate them as to how to compose a real sentence in English. It is these immigrants who are now bastardising our mother tongue and encourage others to speak their irritating drivel!!! They are normally found in Gastro pubs which again is an abuse because gastro relates to the stomach and normally indicates an upset of some kind. The word of course, should be gastronomic! Other obvious misuses are “Free Gift” when of course a gift is already free. ‘Bare with me’, normally spoken by some irritating sales agent asking you to hold on. Your reply should be: “and where are we having this baby?” There are many more cheap words, (sorry I mean ‘inexpensive’ because cheap is a cheap word), misused – so beware!!!

    • Rex, Rex, Rex….
      On the subject of drivel, your diatribe (which, incidentally, teeters uncomfortably over the precipice of fascism) is sprinkled with grammatical and typographical errors, showing that perhaps you have not yet mustered a command of your own ‘mother tongue’.
      ‘Bare with me’ – perhaps I might ask ‘and why would I wish to be naked with you?’
      As for your taking to task the term ‘gastro pub’, this is what is known in our ‘mother tongue’ as an abbreviation. You yourself have used one; namely ‘E. European’.
      If you want everyone to speak in Dickensian English, I propose that you lead the way by writing in prose that would pass the scrutiny of even the most inattentive and unscrupulous schoolmaster.

  2. Ah, Mr Leyland, or should I call you King? The wonderfulness of the English language is its very flexibility and its ever changing nature. The language has changed significantly since Chaucer’s time – it changed significantly during both world wars – it is ever-changing. Unlike French, which is stuck in medieval times, English adopts words. phrases and usage from everyone – it is a democratic language, a true language of the people. The most important issue is whether what is said by the speaker is understood by the listener (or reader). When someone says “enjoy” to me, I know what they mean. It is no more irritating than “bon appetite” – but I guess you have no problem with that nonsensical phrase. Gwarn Rex and Matthew, stop being so fusty and get down wid der kids – as Bob Dylan sang in ’64 The times they are a-changing and you are being left behind…

    • Igo Hustay if I may be permitted, proves that one can play with words, spelling and the like, but end up with an onomatopoeic result! Although I partially agree with your comments about our ever changing language with neologisms popping up each day, it still does not permit us to be sloppy and uncaring about our existing grammar and usage. Once the adoption of a word or phrase is complete, that itself should be respected and so used correctly not just in slapdash or ignorant manner. ‘Enjoy’ on its own you well know is a complete nonsense, and it is used in this way by people who know no better. I trust that this would not be you, as you would place it in a sentence where it rightfully belongs. Please try and remember this and lets respect our mother tongue. Although we import many new or foreign words into our language we still export far more, as English is versatile and has so many unique words now adopted by many foreigners. By the way when “one lives to eat and not eats to live” wishing that person good digestion or enjoyment of any repast in any foreign or mother tongue is good manners and thoughtful and rather than “nonsensical”! I rest my case.

    • Hugo: You would do well to learn to use capital letters and punctuation a little more sensibly. The times might be changing, but if standards slip, where will it end?

      • Precisely Gillian! There is a difference between modernism and downright sloppy standards. Perhaps “pride” and “self respect” are no longer acceptable to the modern users of English? If so that does not necessarily mean that we all have to follow in their bad habits. As you rightly say: “where will it end”?

    • Hugo – I think this might be the only sensible thing I’ve read on this comment stream. The ‘rules’ of language are a nonsense. Language evolves on the tongues of those who speak it, not in textbooks that try prescriptively to enforce regularity on the irregular, and regulation on that which cannot be regulated. Common usage drives the ‘rules’ of language, and not vice versa.

  3. “Enjoy” has been one of my personal bêtes noires for years and, rather than it being an Eastern European import, I believe it is an Americanism, which the Europeans have probably picked up after watching endless repeats of American TV shows. Anyway, the thing that gets my goat about it is that “Enjoy” is invariably delivered as a command; using the imperative mood to bark “Enjoy” at me while delivering my lunch in a restaurant is hugely irritating. It is as if I have no choice in the matter and have been ordered, irrespective of the quality of the grub, to “Enjoy” the bloody stuff! Far better for them to construct a proper sentence and express the hope that I might enjoy the food, leaving me with the flexibility to do otherwise if the chef is having an off day. As a riposte, rather than Hugo’s approach, I’ve taken to replying to the order to “Enjoy” with a simple “We’ll see….”
    So, rant over and spleen vented, I can now happily stroll down to my local where I will, indeed, enjoy a pint or two.

    • Andrew, I totally agree with your accurate comments and commend you for analysing its usage from a different and refreshing perspective. I never thought of it as a command, and so like you will now react accordingly when given this impertinent instruction. I would also add that perhaps the real culprits are the waiting staff’s trainers who should advise them as to the correct thing to say to the clients, such as: ‘please or I hope that you enjoy your lunch/dinner/supper’, and to only say it once and not keep returning to the table saying: “Is everything OK?” -whilst you are trying to have a conversation with your fellow diners, as it then easily becomes tedious and highly irritating!

  4. Yes well obviously Rex has gone a little too far. But lets not let this debate descend into cheap implications over racism or such like. As a teacher of English to foreign students, I find both extremes when it comes to misuse of ‘current’ English as spoken by the masses. First off, you get the student who has learnt from a book written in the 1930’s by Mary Poppins and they rather charmingly say things like “Oh do please excuse me” or “May I beg your pardon”. Then you also get those students who grew up watching Friends and say things like ‘Enjoy”‘. I can understand why Rex would be frustrated by this because it is like a guest re-wallpapering your home as he sees it and that is fair enough. I also agree with Lex and others who correctly (in my view) remind us that English is the UK’s greatest export and revenue earner because it is flexible and belongs to the world (a bit like Google).

  5. But now onto my main point…. I can’t stand it when people say “pop me on hold” or “pop my bag in the overhead luggage rack” – what is all the ‘popping’ thing? Some kind of insincere informality design to wrestle control from the business customer to a flight-attendant or call-centre worker who is most likely on day-release from the local nail varnish counter at Boots.
    Another irritating one is ‘..for me’ as in – “Can you fill this form in for me” by some junior clerk again trying to take control and belittle. Or much worse is a nurse saying to an older person (for whom we shoudl revere), “Will you take this tablet for me” – Why for you, how is that going to help me?

  6. As I have previously mentioned, one of my irritants is, (from the call centre), “bear with me” to which I reply: “where are we having this child?” By the way ‘tablet’ is northern whilst ‘pill’ is southern; and the same goes for a ‘tablet of soap’ rather than a ‘bar of soap’. All a bit colloquial but fun!! Lastly I have a very grand friend, well she thinks she’s grand, and she calls everybody a “poppet” so there you have it.

  7. Hmm… I think we have more than one Andrew in this discussion; either that or science has just encountered a new phenomena to add to sleep walking… “sleep typing”…. ^_^


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