A new year once again draws near. For us grammarians and careful writers, the last 12 months have been another insightful and adventurous journey through the rules, styles, and techniques that help form concise and expressive American English.
Because each new year represents fresh resolve and beginnings, we thought we’d wrap up 2017 with new entries to our growing list of tired language we started this summer—Worn-Out Words and Phrases and Worn-Out Words and Phrases (Follow-up).
As loyalists to the written word, we aim to communicate with precision and originality. We also look to uphold the integrity of proper English usage. Language, like culture, passes through trends that invite new elements to shake up the norm. Some elements have the substance to last. Others become feeble and faded with use and warrant policing from those who can help put a stop to their loitering. Together, we can keep written English more vivid by weeding the stragglers out.
We welcome and appreciate feedback in helping to reinforce style and usage. The following entries into our worn-out words and phrases came from responses we received from our readers during the last few months.
|Original||Problem Beyond Overuse||Alternatives in Careful Writing|
|on a daily/weekly basis
|inaccurate idiom meaning in continuance||in the future, from here, from now on|
|incorrect usage as adverb||most important (adj), above all|
|I feel like (verb clause)||subjective insertion before a statement
(e.g., I feel like the book is too long)
|(strike as unnecessary)|
|“buzz” phrase pertaining to the public’s view of something through the media||bad perception, bad impression|
|ubiquitous (adj)||big-word-itis (a clinical condition)||all over, all around, everywhere|
|proactively (adv)||often redundant modification of an action in progress (e.g. proactively seeking)||(strike as unnecessary)|
|just (adv)||intrusive insertion of thought
(e.g., Why don’t we just go tomorrow?)
|(strike as unnecessary)|
|right? (interrogative)||highly catch-phrase in nature (meaning: Isn’t that true/correct? Isn’t that so?)||(strike as unnecessary)|
As always, we acknowledge some of these may remain common in speech, where they often reinforce comfort and a connection to what’s current. They also maintain a conversation’s natural flow, which doesn’t always provide the pauses for reflection and selection that writing affords.
On that note, let’s resolve to continue polishing English to a shine in 2018. By wiping away words and phrases that dull what should be vibrant writing, we can make the language an even brighter way to persuade, inform, and inspire.
Posted on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, at 9:33 am
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