Word Nerd: 5 words banished from the Queen’s English in 2018

8 Jan

Off with these words!

Every year since 1976, the Lake Superior State University publishes an annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness. Although the first list was inspired by the pet peeves of LSSU’s late public relations W.T. Rabe and his friends, the list is now culled from thousands of international nominations.

“We’ve drilled down, and unpacked tons of pre-owned words and phrases deemed impactful by hundreds of nominators during 2017,” said an LSSU spokesperson. “Let that sink in.”

From 2018’s list of 14 words, we’ve chosen 5. These are words/phrases we can eschew because they are either clunky, cliché, or both. Try to avoid them, if you can, because “let us ask you” is that the way you want to talk? It’s probably the least “impactful” way.

1) Unpack – We can imagine the lure of the term initially – likening concepts, positions, and all carriers of meaning to suitcases. But, overuse has marred the charm. Use analyze, consider, and assess instead. Gives your language a touch of gravitas.

2) Tons – Technically, this means approximately 1000 kilograms. But now, dispersed through the language as it is – tons could refer to quantities of sunshine or work or friends. Rather a vague way to qualify things. Why not use lots instead?

3) Fake News – Any news broadcast with an intent to spread misinformation is fake news. However, the term is now used liberally to brand any story that a reader disagrees with.

4) Hot Water Heater – Unless there’s a specific kind of heater only for hot water, isn’t the term water heater just fine?

5) Covfefe – The list says this, “An impulsive typo, born into a 140-character universe, somehow missed by the autocorrect feature.”

And while the entire Twitterverse as well as the Interwebs have had a long and loud laugh about it, we think it’s now a bit tired. We’re sure the President will oblige us shortly.

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