I could not have expressed it half so well.Two words I can live without, when they fall together: expressed that , where that introduces a subordinate clause. I am surprised to see that Garner’s Modern American Usage makes no mention of expressed that , an awkward construction that turns up again and again in the context of “school.” Try a Google search for the likely phrasing. Or consider these sentences from an imaginary board meeting:
Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey
Through France and Italy (1768)
Ms. Krabappel expressed that she has concerns about the textbook. Principal Skinner expressed that he caught Bart Simpson cheating.In each sentence, said that would do the job. But for speakers and writers of educationese, expressed that has a clear advantage: more letters, more syllables. (Yes, Latinate v. Germanic.) Perhaps expressed also serves to invest whatever was said with a claim to sincerity and truth: she didn’t just say that she was concerned; she expressed that , &c.
One might express approval, bewilderment, concern, doubt, eagerness, fear, glee — in each case, an it, a plain old direct object, follows the verb, with the speaker or writer representing a feeling or point of view in words. The oddness of express that becomes more obvious when one uses it in the present tense:
Ms. Krabappel expresses that she has concerns about the textbook. Principal Skinner expresses that he caught Bart Simpson cheating.Google search returns far fewer results for the present-tense construction. Hmm.
For say that to replace express that in the world of education would require a larger rethinking of what to value in speaking and writing. If it’s to be plainness and clarity, say that wins.
The evil twin of expressed that : It is felt that , which erases human agency. By whom? By whom?
More words I can live without
Bluesy , craft , &c.
Delve , -flecked , &c.
Three words never to use in a poem