In last week’s post, I wrote about the need to stop using the worn-out expression thinking outside the box and replace it with the fresh and more accurate term maxing the box.

Today I’d like to expand on that theme, adding more threadbare terms that should be buried or at least wheeled out only for brief cameos.

writers should not use over-used wordsSome of these I blogged about on my ingénue wordpress site, but are still annoying me. Others have made me clench my teeth more recently.

To help people remember how we used to write simply, I am accompanying each expression with an old-fashioned but clear alternative.

ROI: achieved results

Short for return on investment. Why can’t you just say you achieved a return or results? Why the alphabet soup?

Boot camp: intense learning

I’m still inundated with pitches for boot camps, some run by barking fitness trainers, but mostly intense learning sessions that don’t actually involve sweat and pain, though sometimes my brain gets tired. Enough.

Low-hanging fruit: easy pickings

This metaphor was fine—the first hundred times I heard it. Now it’s a low-hanging phrase for easy-thinking people.

Moment of truth: realization

What marketers call moments of truth are simply when people realize something. Too dramatic a description for an experience that’s only one step above the mundane. Unless you’re a hill billy.

Moving forward: we will

How about using the future tense instead of preceding the latest C-suite proclamation with this pretentiously grandiose phrase? The phrase is not only over-used, but can also be inaccurate if the future involves, as it so often does, staying in the same place or moving backwards.

Palpable: feel it

Although palpable can mean intense or obvious, this word came from medical science, like when the doctor says that tumor on your leg is palpable. Creeps me out.

Granularity: detailed

I keep thinking they’re talking about healthy bread, but then they get started about detailed designs or plans or something and I’m disappointed and hungry.

What expressions would you like to kill?

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Words that must die

63 thoughts on “Words that must die

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

  • September 14, 2010 at 8:27 pm
    Permalink

    How about any modifier for “unique,” such as “very unique” or “the most unique”?

    It’s either unique or it ain’t.

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  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
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    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm
    Permalink

    All great ones Barb.

    A word I see to often is “very”. And it’s often found nearby exclamation marks….both are used too much.

    Cyrus

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm
    Permalink

    “At the end of the day.” As I have started saying to others, “At the end of the day, it’s night.” As an alternative, maybe “ultimately,” or more likely, it’s not even necessary.

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 19, 2010 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    How about “utilize” and “diarize”? Awful, unnecessary words. I’m not even sure if you would find “diarize” in a dictionary. And as for “utilize” … what’s wrong with “use”?

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

  • September 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    Permalink

    Great examples, guys. I feel like I’ve opened a Pandora’s box. I keep reading and hearing expressions that should die. Worse still, I catch myself using them without thinking. Ouch!

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