Become fashionable (in a negative sense)

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everybody,

I heard about another terrorist attack, now in Sweden, and I'd like to say that it's becoming common for a terrorist to run over people with cars or trucks around the world. I came up with "it's becoming fashionable for terrorists to run over people with trucks". I would like to say it to criticize such terrorist attacks with this option, I mean, it's said in disapproval of the act.

My question: Does "become fashionable" sound natural/correct in this case?

Thank you in advance!
 
  • Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    You could certainly pick a better word if you want to imply that you disapprove. "Fashionable" (in this sense) just means that is becoming more popular or common. No implication is made about whether it's desirable or not.
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you all very much.

    In Brazilian Portuguese, the direct translation to "fashionable" works both literally and figuratively (to say you approve or disapprove of something). But in English I had the impression "fashionable" was only used in positive contexts to mean that something good is popular (liked by many).

    Now according to The Newt's answer "fashionable" works like its Brazilian Portuguese equivalent.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    The only way the phrase could work in a disapproving manner is for it to be read as a sarcastic statement. That is to say, using "fashionable" to describe mass-murder is such an outrageous statement, that it could only be sarcastic. I don't have much confidence in people's ability to detect sarcasm, so I think a better word is needed.

    In the meantime, I'll stick with my belief that "fashionable" means "popular", but it doesn't necessarily mean "good".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, fashionable can be used in a negative context as a criticism.

    "It seems to have become fashionable to <insert stupid thing>." (Said with disdain.)

    "It seems to have become fashionable to speak with poor grammar."
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you all very much.

    Kentix, could I make the phrase shorter and say just (while watching news on TV, for example) in a negative context: "Oh, it seems to have become fashionable!". Without anything else on the sentence?

    Thank you in advance!
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Yes, fashionable can be used in a negative context as a criticism.

    "It seems to have become fashionable to <insert stupid thing>." (Said with disdain.)

    "It seems to have become fashionable to speak with poor grammar."
    Again, the context that these things are "undesirable" is separate from the word "fashionable". In the first example, the phrase is said ironically, with disdain. How can this be expressed with the written word? In the second example, the word "poor" provides the context.
     

    Xavier da Silva

    Senior Member
    Thank you.

    Scott AM, do you think "become common" is an option?

    It's becoming common for terrorists to run over people with trucks. What's the world coming to?
    [News on TV]: Another terrorist attack in Sweden. Viewer: Oh, It's becoming common! How can they do that?

    Thank you in advance!
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I think that it works with the understanding that "becoming fashionable" is meant in a snide manner.
    It certainly works for me as an expression intended as sarcasm, which I think, in BE, is how most people would take it.

    I will say though, that, anyone who had suffered the loss of loved ones in a terrorist attack might well regard it as being in bad taste and possibly be offended by it.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thank you.

    Scott AM, do you think "become common" is an option?

    It's becoming common for terrorists to run over people with trucks. What's the world coming to?
    [News on TV]: Another terrorist attack in Sweden. Viewer: Oh, It's becoming common! How can they do that?

    Thank you in advance!
    I think it's correct, grammatically. Once you add the statements afterwards, as you propose, then you adequately convey your disgust.
     

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I agree with kentix and other posters above that "fashionable" can be and often is used with a negative connotation. This use calls attention to the fact that what is fashionable now will probably soon be out of fashion. It also suggests that people who follow fashion are superficial.

    There can be fashions in clothing, in house decor, in child-rearing practices, in ideas about food and nutrition, in social customs, in philosophy...
     
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