August 15, 2014

Realist or Realest: Which is correct?

First things first I’m…Tired of seeing the phrase “I’m the realist”. Over the past several months, the term “I’m the realist” has exploded in the urban and pop cultures. Even though rapper Iggy Azalea uses it in the first line of her top charting song “Fancy”, the phrase was popular even before the song exploded. In the 1990's Tupac had a song with the word 'realist' in the title. So what exactly does it mean? I suppose it may seem obvious, in the hip hop culture the phrase “being real” is a notable thing. “Being real” in the hip hop culture means being genuine and loyal to a person’s roots. A person who is real won’t allow superficial things to infiltrate their down to earth mentality. They won't allow the fame, money, notoriety change their honesty. It’s important to seem as down to earth as possible, especially in the hip hop scene. The audience must feel that you can relate to their daily life and will not hold back when it comes to honesty. This kind of mentality has transposed into the ordinary culture. Everyone wants to be considered as ‘real’, it’s a title, it’s an award, and it’s an accolade to be called ‘real’. Over time there’s even been competition to determine who’s the ‘realist’.


The phrase itself is not truly annoying, but the spelling is (at least for me). Is it ‘realist’ or ‘realest’? Well, when you think of words that end with the suffix –ist they usually contain root words that can be practiced such as Optometrist, Pharmacist, pessimist, optimist, Dentist, occultist, etc. All of these words contain root words that are things that can be done. You can do Optometry, Pharmacology, pessimism, optimism, Dentistry, and occultism.

With words that end with the suffix –est  they are usually words that are in comparison to something such as meanest, leanest, richest, sexiest, funniest, etc. The –est suffix gets the most of the root word. If you are the meanest, you are the meanest out of the mean, which means your level of mean is most it can be. Get it? 

Let’s look at the word ‘real’. Is it something that can be practiced? Well, technically you can practice Realism, which is a literary (and art) term that describes a literary (or art) movement. There are Realist writers and artists who wrote/created using Realism. There’s not just one ‘Realist’ so it’s impossible to refer to yourself as ‘the realist’ because there are many Realists. The suffix –est fits best when talking about being genuine, true, and loyal. Let's recap here. The correct word in terms of saying "I'm genuine" is actually REALEST.

So, why are people using the word ‘realist’? The word ‘realest’ is not actually a proper, grammatically correct so if you type it in a text message or on some kind of software that automatically corrects grammar and spelling, it will automatically change it to ‘realist’. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s really annoying when people use the wrong word repeatedly. Such as their, there, and they’re. It starts to catch on, spreads like a wildfire and everyone starts to use it wrong, even educated people. I think we should start paying closer attention to our words and how we use them. Don’t rely on programs to correct your words and grammar. Think about your own words, and don’t depend on technology, because as you can see even the most sophisticated systems can mess up. What if we take everything that technology says at face value? We need to think for ourselves and do our own research. Technology has made it easier for us to not use and our minds, we have become dependent on it and if we don’t have a thinking mind, where will that lead us? Computers and cell phones are NOT smarter than humans; we created it, after all.

18 comments:

  1. THANK YOU!!! I knew I wasn't the only one that felt this way! Thank you, for this amazingly written post, thank you!

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  2. so basically, the correct word should be - Realest ? is that what you are saying? i need a double confirmation from you. Thank you

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    1. "Realest" isn't a word. The closest thing we have in the English language is "most real".

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  3. Rowshawn, it should actually probably be "most real". "Realest" isn't really a word.

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  4. Rowshawn, it should actually probably be "most real". "Realest" isn't really a word.

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  5. A lot is written with no real answer.

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  6. THANK YOU‼️ I thought I was the only one. It was so irritating seeing it ALL the time, especially on social media.

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  7. And I quote

    "We need to think for ourselves and do our own research. Technology has made it easier for us to not use and our minds"

    .....

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Feels bruhhh >_< grammar nazi to my very core!

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  10. Realist - one who endorses the principles of the root, in this case reality, valid term, just like pragmatist. It is a term of comparison such as in a relationship, one party may be the realist, the other fantasist. The word is found in standard dictionaries and is well established.
    Realest is another modern invented word arising from pop culture and falls into the urban dictionary category. It is well known that some superlatives do not garner the -est suffix. This was one of them until pop culture suggested otherwise. Use it at your own peril.

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  11. You have advanced English Philology with this post.

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  12. Very well written article 5 stars

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  13. Thanks for this. I needed a good breakdown of this arguement, and thanks to you my day has been made. I typically get annoyed with grammar nazism, but this was very well thought out and informative. Thanks grammar genie.

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  14. Well said! I've been having this argument for so long! And you are absolutely right; improper use of a word does catch on and make even the most intelligent people use it. I think we should have more respect for words and how we use them. It's a harsh thought, but I feel that when we don't, we're breeding ignorance.

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