My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

AIBU?

To ask if you know when the word 'just' crept into our language? For a novel

15 replies

Marlboroughlights1 · 30/09/2018 07:50

My novel is set in the fifties. I'm editing at the moment and I realise I use the word 'just' a lot. It feels quite a modern/recent word. Am I wrong?

OP posts:
Report
babswindsor · 30/09/2018 07:56

I would have thought the word itself is not the issue, it might be the usage of it. e.g. ;it just kept happening' seems a newish way of using it
'just a moment' is an older way.
I have to say that I've read a few newly written novels lately with real howlers, and I wondered why the writers hadn't done their homework. In the end I figured that they actually didn't care and weren't targeting my age group particularly.

Report
Cornettoninja · 30/09/2018 07:56

Well it caught my interest and google says 1660’s so not recent no.

Sounds to me like you need to expand your vocabulary a bit and use some synonyms/adjust your phrasing if you’re finding you over use a word.

Report
Ifailed · 30/09/2018 07:58

apparently it's origins are from Latin: late Middle English: via Old French from Latin justus, from jus ‘law, right’.

here's it's use over time:

books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=7&case_insensitive=on&content=just&direct_url=t4%3B%2Cjust%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bjust%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BJust%3B%2Cc0

Report
MissusGeneHunt · 30/09/2018 08:00

May depend on context. 'just a minute' in terms of 'wait', may be different than 'the court's decision was just' as in 'decided well and correctly'. Worth looking both up, and there's probably more, but it's too damn early.... Smile

Report
IfyouseeRitaMoreno · 30/09/2018 08:04

Sounds to me like you need to expand your vocabulary a bit and use some synonyms/adjust your phrasing if you’re finding you over use a word.

I’m sure OP realises that 🙄

I remember hearing “like” (used in its modern colloquial context) by Clare Danes in My So Called Life in the mid 90s. I had a mini rant at the time but now I see it has its value.

Report
AlecTrevelyan006 · 30/09/2018 08:06

Use of the word ‘just’ has increased because people (mainly women) use it to soften their requests for information or action.

Report
AlecTrevelyan006 · 30/09/2018 08:10
Report
IfyouseeRitaMoreno · 30/09/2018 08:10

So true.

Report
Ariela · 30/09/2018 08:12

Pop 'origin of the word just' in Google for the answer.

Report
Cornettoninja · 30/09/2018 08:16

I’m sure OP realises that 🙄

Well thanks for the needless sneer.

Report
Marlboroughlights1 · 30/09/2018 08:30

Thanks all, that's really helpful. Yes, I'm aware of repetitive language etc - not my first published novel - but it's 'just' this word I wanted help with. But you've let me to some interesting links, so thanks very much.

OP posts:
Report
ushuaiamonamour · 30/09/2018 09:34

Use of it might depend on region, class, age of the speaker. That it was known in 17th century doesn't mean that it was used then as it is now. Get a copy of the complete OED; it's invaluable for words' usages over the centuries and can be got in a 2-volume edition.

Report
lljkk · 30/09/2018 09:44

"Quite" would have been used a lot in 1950s.
Read Christie & Enid Blyton, I think. Watch British films made about 1954.

Report
QuaterMiss · 30/09/2018 10:00

I was hoping, OP that you might be asking about its use by women as an apology for doing pretty much anything. (Which was brought to my attention by Cosmopolitan - possibly pre-1980. I’ve been very conscious of it ever since and try never to say “I’m just ...”)

On another note, in Home Front (R4) this week someone used the phrase ‘no-one died’ - to indicate that a situation wasn’t worthy of the fuss being made about it. I have no idea when or how it originated with that meaning, but it certainly sounded odd for 1918.

Report
StripySocksAndDocs · 30/09/2018 10:14

I think I'd agree with you OP. I expect 'just' has been in language for a while. But regarding it's contextual usage I would feel that if I were reading a book from the 1950s something along the lines of, "I've only just eaten dinner" to be "I ate my dinner not long ago".

Report
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.