It’s the time of year when we give things up.
Chocolate. Carbs. Booze. Things we generally enjoy. Things that we look forward to after a long, cold January day when we’ve forgotten what our homes look like in daylight. But things we vow to do without in some attempt at ‘self-improvement’.
I’m advocating giving up words.
Obviously not all of them. Clearly, that’d present a bit of a problem. I’m only suggesting giving up a select few. Empty words. Clichés. Pointless jargon I’d quite happily throw out with the Christmas tree.
The list could be long. Very long. So I’ve kept it to some recent additions to our vocab. Meaningless buzzwords that, quite frankly, never should have surfaced.
Here are some of the words I won’t be welcoming in 2016:
Say what you like, OED: this is not a word. It’s simply become one due to misuse and poor substitution.
I was working in a marketing agency when impactful – allegedly – became a word. I was instructed all too often that the client wanted to see ‘impactful’ copy. The brief may as well have told me to ‘write what the hell you want, because we have no idea what the purpose of this copy is’. There’s no direction. It’s meaningless.
After years of eliminating ‘impactful’ from any copy I edited or proofread, someone in Dictionary Land decided that it was being so frequently used that it may as well, actually, become a word.
I defy it to this day.
Why have we coined this phrase specifically for women? There’s no ‘Manpreneur’. No ‘Dadprenuer’. No ‘Don’t-have-children-but-launched-a-businessprenuer’.
It completely belittles many women who have launched successful businesses through talent, hard-work and determination, and just so happen to have children.
Newly-coined words to devalue women? Come on. Surely we can do better than that.
Are you a 19 year old boy? If so, carry on using this word. If not, please find a more appropriate alternative that doesn’t make you sound like you’re still on a ‘Gap Yah’. (If you were, that’s fine, and I really admire you. There’s no way I’d have spent six months in a tent – or even six minutes for that matter. But it’s over now. And so is the word ‘banter’.)
OK, I’m cheating: ‘Touch Base’ is two words. Two words of vomit-inducing jargon.
I thought ‘Touch Base’ was a stage in a playground game of rounders. (Not that I got to that, mind. You needed to actually hit the ball, and then run: two things I never quite mastered.) However, I’ve since heard ‘Touch Base’ uttered by a certain type of office professional. You know the kind.
If you’ve ever ‘touched base’ with someone (and yes, I mean figuratively…more on that later), and this involved anything other than a quick catch up on the progress of a project, then please keep that to yourself.
Sorry, I’m cheating again.
My view on this is simple: what other type of planning can you possibly be doing?
An utterly pointless addition of a word, making a hideous phrase.
And two words I’d like to banish the misuse of:
You feel sick. You feel nauseous, right? Wrong. You actually feel nauseated.
In fact, if you’re nauseous, you possess a quality that may make someone else vomit. Lovely.
OK, I get it: common usage has made the two words – arguably – interchangeable. Yet, technically, there’s still a wrong and a right. And the misuse makes me nauseated.
‘I’m literally dying for a cuppa’. Really? Then we should probably get you to the doctor.
You’re ‘figuratively’ dying for a cuppa. Or just dying for a cuppa. Let’s keep our phrases concise and our statements factual.
Looking for jargon-free copy in 2016? Drop me a line 🙂