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Fun English

February 01, 2008

Banished!

Lake Superior State University, Michigan has issued its annual extreme List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness every New Year's Day since 1976. Below is the complete list for 2003, chosen from a record 3,000 nominations, with edited comments by nominators.

Politics and the media

MATERIAL BREACH
Suggests an obstetrical complication that pulls a physician off the golf course. Sounds like contract lawyer-speak rather than the world-worn parlance of war planners and diplomats. At one time, UN resolutions were violated. Violators were held in contempt. How long until treaties are ripped up in the presence of attorneys?

MUST-SEE TV
Must find remote. Assumes herd mentality over program taste.

UNTIMELY DEATH
Balky attempt to make some deaths more tragic than others. Has anyone yet died a timely death?

BLACK ICE
From the weather and news reports. Ice is ice. Watch your step.

ON THE GROUND
Media hip-speak and frivolous dramatization. Especially annoying during the presidential election recount, but still shows up in major news stories. Where else would you be?

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
In danger of becoming a push-button buzzword. Any weapon, used effectively, does a lot of destruction. Over-used, over-wrought.

MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT
Nominated for over-use since the 2000 election. Generally used instead of "don't underestimate" or "understand".

HOMELAND SECURITY
A new and improved buzzword. What happened to the Department of Defense?

Business/industry/marketing/technology

EXTREME
Extreme sports, extreme cars, extreme soft drinks. Razors aren't extreme. Neither are deodorants or cheeseburgers. Enough is enough.

NOW, MORE THAN EVER
Over-used since the September 11th attacks. A precious way of saying, "Now that we've had a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, we have a duty to recognize the important things in life." Seems to be the recent darling of advertisers and politicians. Whats next? Now, more than ever, Americans need 50% more raisins in their cereal?

BRANDING
This word, once properly associated with marking livestock to prove ownership, has been co-opted by the MBA crowd and now seems to refer to any activity that supports a company's desire to clearly define its products and/or services. Cant we just say Promotions and PR?

Miscellaneous

HAVING SAID THAT and THAT SAID
Annoying, useless filler. It seems like the intellectual form of "ya know".

PEEL-AND-EAT SHRIMP
Do they think that, if the name did not contain instructions, we would peel-and-throw-on-floor?

CHALLENGE
No one has problems anymore, they only face challenges. But challenges only have to be met. Problems require solutions!

ITS A GOOD THING
Banished for over-use. The question is: good for whom? For example, insider trading may be a good thing, but only if one does not get caught. Then it is a bad thing.

AS PER
As per a conversation I had with a co-worker and as per common decency to your fellow human beings, please substitute "according to". If I hear as per ever again, I will need to take some asperin.

REVERSE DISCRIMINATION
Discrimination is discrimination, regardless of who is being discriminated against.

Sports

THERE IS NO SCORE
It is inaccurate and misleading. There IS a score. It is 0-0.

GOT GAME
Used by sportscasters trying to be hip: He's got game tonight! They mean he's playing well.

MENTAL MISTAKE
Used often in the sporting world. What mistake is not mental?

Tautology and other circumambages

____ IN COLOR
As opposed to green in size. Lends an empty air of precision.

UNDISCLOSED, SECRET LOCATION
Redundant stacking of adjectives often used to describe Vice President Cheney's whereabouts. If it's a secret, it's pretty undisclosed, and if it's undisclosed, it's a secret.



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