Just Isa Dangerous Word

An excellent MusicTheory professor of mine corrected anyone in the class who used the word "just" or "only" in a context like this:

"That chord is just an elaboration on the tonic chord for this piece."

The person saying this has often limited their options for analysis of a musical piece, by slipping in an often unconsidered one-word evaluation of the importance of that elaboration. Say it again like so:

"That chord is an elaboration on the tonic chord for this piece."

Suddenly, we are not confined to any artificial limit on how important this elaborating chord might be to the composition as a whole. We are free to put forth analyses where this chord is very important, perhaps even the stroke of brilliance that ties the piece together, while still being an elaboration on another chord.

In the same way, in software engineering, beware of sentences like "that object is just a database access controller." If you remove the "just", you may find that the solution to your problem is hiding behind it.

-- DavidSaff

I've always said the same thing about the word "simply", particulary when it's used in a product's marketing literature, documentation, or FAQ. "Simply" says, "Yes, we know it's a real pain, but here's a workaround to the bad design that's causing this problem in the first place." For example: "Q: I'm having trouble using program Foo. It crashes at startup with the error "<obscure error here>". A: Simply download the source code, as well as the following fifteen libraries, and compile your own binary, then apply the following kernel patch and rebuild your kernel."
People with the "oh, you just..." mentality never understand why it takes a long time to do things.
Argh! How do I fix that title? It's not just a typo!
See also: CouldYouJust, AlarmBellPhrase

CompareTo?. AlwaysAndNever

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