Kill These Words & Phrases Part 3

“Put a unique spin on this, throw it out there so it can grow legs, get some traction and go viral.  I want a footprint!”

I woke in a cold sweat.

Words and phrases that should be killed are sprouting faster than zombies in a George A.Romero film.   They’re more persistent than sallow vampires in the twilight.  I can’t stop thinking about them though some say I’m anal (props to Freud for that evergreen).  Others have likened our kind to being word police, but I consider us mavericks.  No, wait.  The paunchy maverick slid back to the Senate  and unleashed The Rogue.

Yikes!  I step back from that since the first definition of “rogue” in is “a dishonest, knavish person; a scoundrel.”  Hmm.  Well, I guess it’s safe to call yourself a rogue if you know your audience never uses a dictionary.

Actually, I’m just a guy who loves the language, respects the creative use of it and dislikes lazy use of language, especially among “educated” professionals.  I’m just giving you a heads-up that.

Really, I’m being totally transparent.

The phrase making the sales rep rounds is “reaching out.”  Several, from different parts of the country have used that on me, always beginning, “Dennis, I’d like to reach out and see how our company can help you.”

Well, friend, it’s like this:  if I’m drowning, I really want you to reach out and help me.  However, if your goal is to fill inventory, get the manager off your back and boost your commission, a simple media kit will do.  If it looks like your station is a good fit, I’ll reach out to you.

And then you know what we’ll do?  We’ll have a conversation!

Actually I’ve heard this in higher ed more than in the media.  It usually begins with a problem (masked as “a challenge”) between two people or parties who disagree (have “different goals”) and the path to a solution is to have one of these conversations.  Conversation implies civility which means you can’t raise your voice or even let your face get red from rising blood pressure.

“Conversations” are bland, mishmashes of buzzwords that suffocate our ancient instincts to reach out and kill the opponent.

Hey,  I’m just sayin’. . . .


( I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers.  I’m thinking of setting up a separate page with all three posts and everyone’s contributions.  So please send me the words and phrases that drive you nuts.)

Note:  Thanks to the guys over at Target x  who picked up on our shared love of language and continued the, umm, conversation.


3 responses to “Kill These Words & Phrases Part 3

  1. Here’s a great phrase that makes me cringe, “Let’s download this afternoon.” Implying that we should “get together and talk about something”. Corporate jargon is annoying and completely misguided. I’m starting a revolution!

  2. This is a very interesting question. Just saw some newspapers writting about it in

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