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The Library is Open: Language we don’t need

Language changes but sometimes for the worse. Here is a list of words and expressions we should scrap because they are either abused or misused:

Awesome. Space is awesome. The oceans are awesome. And the Grand Canyon is awesome. The fact that I floss everyday is not awesome although my dental hygiene says so.

Conversation. We don’t have the courage to say we want to debate an issue. Debate implies a frank, often uncomfortable exchange of opinions. And the goal may be to reach a decision. Instead we have “conversations” so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings. The result, inevitably, is that we aren’t honest and nothing changes.

I have conversation over coffee; I have debates about race, candidates and how to solve America’s problems.

Jaw dropping. When I see this in a headline, I don’t read the story. It always describes some celebrity appearance or action. It’s hyperbole about something and someone not important. I don’t care about famous persons’ private lives. I either enjoy their artistic accomplishments or creations or not. Either way they are not jaw dropping and certainly not awesome.

On the planet. Whatever happened to “in the world?” The United States is the most powerful military force in the world. Yes, let’s move “on the planet” to some other place in  the world.

Path to victory. I’m tired of hearing and reading whether candidate (NAME) has a path to victory.  I much prefer the old reliable (NAME) probably is going to win the nomination or isn’t.  It’s a simple, clean and more accurate path.

Presumptive. Another political term that is irritating. (NAME) is the presumptive Democrat/Republican presidential nominee. Let’s stick with “probable,” which we used in the past. It’s presumptuous to think presumptive is better.

Punch their ticket. Sports stories are filled with clichés most likely because  many of those who write the stories lack the intelligence and creativity to think or express themselves clearly. Harsh evaluation? Yes, but accurate.

“(TEAM) has punched their ticket to the NCAA Basketball Tournament/Super Bowl/World Series.”   I want to punch the person who uses this expression instead of “(TEAM) is going to…”

BTW more and more news organizations are wisely replacing people with robots (actually software programs) to write sports and financial stories. That move saves money and may improve the quality of the reports.

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully is an exception and we can rejoice in that.

Full Disclosure: I was a sports writer, color commentator and anchor before I grew up. It was fun but it’s not rocket science.

Resonate. We used to like things, people or places. No longer. Now they have to resonate with us. Resonate means to generate a loud or clear sound for a long time. The current use of resonate rather than “to please” certainly produces a loud annoying buzz in my brain.

Transition. Speaking of buzz, transition is an ugly buzzword for “changing/moving to or from.”   We should transition away from this annoying term.

I have no illusion that we will rid our language of these irritating words and expressions.  The people who use them want to show they are part of the “in-group,” even if that in-group is out of it.

To be continued.


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