Since 1974, Lake Superior State University has been publishing a list of words that it thinks should be banished from use during the upcoming year. 2018’s list, which is officially titled List of Words Banished From the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness came out earlier this week and it includes some words that you probably use.
When was the last time you said “tons?” How about “Let me ask you this?” Or what about “fake news.” Well, we have to admit we used that one yesterday.
Here’s Lake Superior’s full list of words they want banned — and the reasons the word or phrase was included:
Unpack: Misused word for analyze, consider, assess. Concepts or positions are not packed, so they don’t need to be unpacked.
Tons: Refers to an exaggerated quantity, as in tons of sunshine or tons of work. “Lots” would surely suffice.
Dish: As in to dish out the latest rumor on someone. Let’s go back to “talks about” and leave dishes in the cupboard.
Pre-owned: What is so disgraceful about owning a used car now and then?
Onboarding/Offboarding: Creature from the HR Lagoon. We used to have hiring, training and orientation. Now we need to have an “onboarding” process. Firings, quitting and retirements are streamlined into “offboarding.”
Nothingburger: Says nothing that “nothing” doesn’t already. I’ll take a quarter pound of something in mine.
Let That Sink In: One could say shocking, profound or important. Let that sink in.
Let Me Ask You This: Wholly unnecessary statement. Just ask the question already.
Impactful: A frivolous word groping for something “effective” or “influential.”
Covfefe: An impulsive typo, born into a 140-character universe, somehow missed by the autocorrect feature.
Drill Down: Instead of expanding on a statement, we “drill down on it.”
Fake News: Once upon a time stories could be empirically disproved. Now “fake news” is any story you disagree with.
Hot Water Heater: Hot water does not need to be heated. “Water heater” or “hot water maker” will keep us out of hot water.
Gig Economy: Gigs are for musicians and stand-up comedians. Now expanded to imply a sense of freedom and a lifestyle that rejects tradition in a changing economic culture. Runs a risk of sharecropping.
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