10 Words Or Expressions Not To Live By In 2018

If you’re looking for compelling and clear writing, we’ve got it.

- Listen to and read the “Been There” stories.

- Take a look at how we simply explained the “chained” consumer price index and its importance.

- Hear from and see the people in Puerto Rico who are still waiting for help.

We could continue.

But instead, we’ll move on to what you’ve come to expect from the Standards & Practices editor — nagging.

Here are 10 words or expressions we could do without next year:

- “Literally.” Don’t ask for more time or space for your story if it has “throwaway intensifiers” like that.

- “Actually.” Be careful with that word. It can sound as if you’re casting judgment.

- “Virtually.” There’s disagreement about whether that’s a good synonym for “nearly.” Webster’s New World says it means “in effect” or “for all practical purposes.”

  • Side note: Notice the “ly” endings in the first three entries? They remind us that in the vast majority of cases, adverbs ending with “ly” should be killed … ruthlessly.

- “Vast majority.” Oh yeah, as has been noted before, you’re probably wrong – or at least unclear – if you say “in the vast majority of cases.” Be precise, please. Is it “two-thirds?” Maybe “three-fourths?” Or “nine out of 10?”

- “Accident.” The train derailed. The plane crashed. The cars collided. The ship sank. You get the idea. “Accident” can sound soft and insensitive when used to describe something terrible.

- “Some say” (and its cousin “many say”). Be more specific, please.  Those expressions can make it sound like you don’t know for sure how many people are saying something.

- “Refute.” You probably mean “rebut.”

- “Data … is” (and “media … is”). No, they “are.” Those are plurals.

- “So” at the start of a sentence. Three years after we first brought this up, it’s still bugging many listeners.

- “Anxious.” Korva is eager to spike this “Memmo.” She’s not anxious about doing it.

Scroll back through the “Memmos” archives if you’re interested in seeing other notes about words we can live without.

(“Memmos;” Dec. 27, 2017)

December 27, 2017

Comments are closed.