I love this time of the year, when lists of the most overused, hated and hackneyed words abound.
Lake Superior State University published its “2011 List of Banished Words,” all 14 of them, at http://www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php
Richard Nordquist of About.com has amassed “200 Words and Expressions that Tick You Off” at http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/200expressions.htm.
Russell Working, a Ragan contributor (with a great last name), listed “Hackneyed Phrases and Verbal Atrocities Communicators Hate” at http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/42625.aspx#idc-cover.
I have decided to join the fray and highlight a few words that push me into edit mode.
It seems everything is a “solution.” Saying that something is a “solution” implies that it solves a problem although rarely is a problem even mentioned. I think many people use the word “solution” because they don’t know what the product actually does. Maybe they think if they’re really vague someone else will figure it out.
2. The phrase “you have requested us to….”
Why not just use “asked” instead of the wordy, convoluted “have requested”?
3. “Its” when it should be “it’s.”
Or, for that matter, any misuse of the poor apostrophe, the most misunderstood and maligned punctuation mark.
4. “Next generation.”
Would it be possible to create something that was “pre-generation”?
5. “Cutting edge” anything.
Other than describing a knife, what is a “cutting edge” anyway? Sounds lethal.
6. “Moving forward.”
It is extremely unlikely that anybody would be moving backward (or at least that they would be bragging about it).
Used when the word “designed” or “developed” is clearer and more understandable.
I’m sure I will add to this list. What words do you love to hate? I would love to hear from you.
More articles on writing, public relations and words in general are available at http://www.CommunicationsPlus.net/WritingArticles.html, http://www.CommunicationsPlus.PRArticles.html, and http://www.CommunicationsPlus.net/FunWithEnglish.html.