January 02, 2005

Let's Throw Another Log on the Fire

WE HAVE LEARNED, via the always excellent Dean's World, that Lake Superior State University has once again issued its list of words and phrases which ought be banished to the deepest pit in Linguistic Hell. These include "sales event," "enemy combatant," "safe and effective," "I approved this message" and "blog."

That last item, we submit, is proof that people at Lake Superior State University are very clever. But we also have our own suggestions for inclusion on this year's Banished Words list:

* UTILIZE -- Attention, American businessmen: using the word "utilize" makes you look like an idiot. The correct word, as you might have guessed, is "use." Use it instead of "utilize," which sounds like an euphemism for shady practices down at the gas company.

* ENHANCE -- Throw this word onto the ashheap of your word-processing dictionary, and you'll improve your writing.

* TELEVISION EVENT -- We have mixed feelings about throwing this one onto the fire, because the phrase "television event" is a clear sign we really wouldn't want to watch the program described as such. Still, we suggest using clearer language to describe such programming, such as "crap."

* RISKY SCHEME -- Scheme is a perfectly good word. It means "plan."

* SEE OUR AD IN ... -- What, we have to look at another advertisement to see what you couldn't put in the one we're watching now? Why don't you just give us a frickin' Web site we can check out?

* INNER DEMONS -- What, as opposed to the openly-visible hellspawn? You're sick. You need help. Deal with it.

* CREATIVE ACCOUNTING -- Look, it's according to GAAP or it ain't. If the latter holds, perhaps other words such as "fraudulent" and "jailworthy" might apply.

* FEATURING -- in the chain-restaurant sense of the term, which is to sex up an Uninspiring Chicken Dish through listing mediocre ingredients used in making it. They're not JUST chicken fajitas, they're chicken fajitas FEATURING Jack Daniel's(R) Old-Tyme Moonshine and Cough Remedy(TM)!

* PARTNERING -- If you've hired a consultancy firm, just come out and say you've hired a consultancy firm.

Blech. Now we feel nauseous.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at January 2, 2005 07:39 AM | TrackBack

Yeah, those are pretty bad ones. I try to avoid anything similar in both my writing and speech.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at January 3, 2005 11:55 AM