If one of your 2010 goals is weight loss you’ve probably been thinking about the effort required to achieve results. There’s no need to break a sweat to lose flabby, too common words from your vocabulary. This task is made easy by consulting the 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness compiled by Lake Superior State University.
This Michigan educational institution receives thousands of nominations before compiling results for release on New Year’s Day. It’s no surprise that “shovel ready”, “Tweet” and “APP” made the most recent cut. Do we really have to repeatedly reference “stimulus,” “toxic assets,” and anything “too big to fail” “in these economic times?” The wordsmiths also profess distaste for made up combinations, identifying “bromance” and “chillaxin” as prime offenders.
Some entries have made repeat appearances based on continued overuse. Popular culture, politics and world events undoubtedly shape our language so it’s interesting when offenders span decades. Awesome was highlighted in 1984 and again in 2007.
Some of my own selections are among the chosen, but there are a few I would like to add. When businesses begin to forecast widespread growth I hope they don’t find it necessary to “ramp up.” I use ramps to exit and enter highways and when I lived in Western New York parking lots were called ramps.
It would be nice to meet fewer people who describe their occupation as “in transition.” This would prove refreshing on many levels; as an indication of a drop in the unemployment rate and a direct acknowledgment of job seeking status. “In transition” seems indecisive to me, it sounds like code language from a script, not the natural inclination of the speaker. If I learn up front that a person is weighing multiple career options and don’t have to fish for information we are more likely to have a productive conversation.
You can use this knowledge to correct communications during a “teachable moment” (but please avoid the preachy announcement) or avoid recently minted cliches in your own speech and writing and encourage others to do the same. The reduction in verbal clutter should be refreshing.