There are thousands of words for writers to use in content they create, but there are some deemed useless or overused.
CNN reports that Lake Superior State University has devised a list of 13 words that should be banished from writing and speech. A list of compiled words submitted by individuals are reviewed by the university on an annual basis. They declare which words should be banished from their vocabulary.
The university’s website reveals that deciding which words should be banished is a tradition that was started by the late W. T. Rabe, former public relations director at Lake Superior State University. It’s a tradition now celebrating its 50th year.
There have been more than 800 entries over the years of words that should be banished from writing and speech.
— Standards Michigan (@StandardsUMich) January 10, 2016
According to LSSU, this year’s list is culled from nominations received mostly through the university’s website. Annoying words taken from everyday speech, writing, news, education, technology, advertising, politics, and more make up the roster. By the end of the year, a committee makes the final decision on which words should be eliminated.
What are some of the most useless and overused words and phrases that should be eliminated from your vocabulary?
Break the internet. Kim Kardashian’s cover on Paper magazine comes to mind on this one for many. Writers use this phrase repeatedly in headlines. The trendy term has worn out its welcome, according to Matthew Squires of Auburn, Michigan. “Meaning a post or video or whatever will have so much internet traffic that it will ‘break the internet,'” Squires says. “It’s being used for every headline and video. Ridiculous.”
Conversation. As Richard Frye from Marathon, Ontario, stated, “conversation” is used “to describe every form of verbal communication known to mankind. It has replaced ‘discussion,’ ‘debate,’ ‘chat,’ ‘discourse,’ ‘argument,’ ‘lecture,’ ‘talk’ … all of which can provide some context to the nature of the communication. Perhaps the users feel that it is a word that is least likely to offend people, but I consider it to be imprecise language that, over time, dumbs down the art of effective discourse.”
Giving me life. The phrase refers to anything that may excite a person, or something that causes one to laugh — and is overused in today’s discussions.
Manspreading. The word is used to describe male passengers on subways and buses who take up too much room by spreading their legs too wide — and don’t allow others to sit. “You’re just taking too much room on this train seat, be a little more polite,” explains Carrie Hansen of Caledonia, Michigan.
So, it seems LSSU is breaking the Internet with its 13 words / phrases that are banished for 2016. https://t.co/xJVsyBf0AJ
— Trust for Educators (@TIETalk) January 5, 2016
Physicality. This word is overused by sports broadcasters and writers. Dan Beitzel of Perrysburg, Ohio, said it’s hard to watch “anything on ESPN without someone using this term to attempt to describe an athlete or a contest.”
Presser. The word is a shorthand term for “press release” or “press conference.” It already has the definition of being a person or device that removes wrinkles. “Presser” is one word writers and news reporters should avoid because it’s an “industry buzzword [that] has slipped into usage in news reporting and now that they have started, they can’t seem to stop using it,” says Richard W. Varney of Akron, Ohio.
Price Point. This is used when one word would work. Kevin Carney of Chicago explains that “price point” could be replaced with “price” or “cost.” “It may be standard business-speak, but must it contaminate everyday speech?” Carney asks.
Problematic. Another useless word several have nominated as a word to eliminate. “Somewhere along the line, this word became a trendy replacement for ‘that is a problem,'” says Sharon Martin of Hagerstown, Maryland.
Secret Sauce. These two words are frequently used in business speech as well. John Beckett of Ann Arbor, Michigan, reveals that “secret sauce” is “usually used in a sentence explaining the ‘secret’ in excruciating public detail. Is this a metaphor for business success based on the fast food industry?”
So. This word is used differently than it was in 1999, according to word-watchers. Times have changed tremendously and the word “so” is overused to the point that several nominations for the word insist it be banished. Thomas H. Weiss from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, explains that this word is too often “used to begin a sentence, particularly in response to a question, this tiresome and grammatically incorrect replacement for ‘Like,’ or ‘Um,’ is even more irksome.”
Stakeholder. This word has gone from describing someone who has a “stake” in a situation for business to describing customers or others in business. Gwendolyn Barlow from Portland, Oregon, says, “Often used with ‘engagement.’ If someone is disengaged, they’re not really a stakeholder in the first place. LSSU, please engage your stakeholders by adding this pretentious jargon to your list.”
Vape. This is the act of smoking e-cigarettes. The term evidently earned a place on the list of 13 words to banish. One of those who nominated the word for the list hopes it goes “up in smoke.”
Walk it back. This statement is mostly uttered by politicians. It’s a way for them to retract a previous statement or take a different position than before. “It seems as if every politician who makes a statement has to ‘walk it back,’ meaning retract the statement, or explain it in laborious detail to the extent that the statement no longer has any validity or meaning once it has been ‘walked back,'” says Max Hill of Killeen, Texas.
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