I’m frequently reminded of the power of words. Especially small words added to other small words.
Consider the difference between two states of being reflected in a conversation a while back with this crotchety old guy in his 80s whom I’ve known for years. I was telling him about a mutual friend who happened to be ill. I said that the individual in question was “Not well.”
The crotchety old guy’s response:
Is he “not well,” or “not well at all”?
“At all.” Two little words adding a dire new dimension.
They can also add emphasis. Hear the difference:
- If you need me for anything, please call.
- If you need me for anything at all, please call.
Nice little quirk of language.