Saturday, November 15, 2008

Simply Use Your Words

In May, Your Humble Scribe posted about a Funky Little Ol' List that's been hanging in her classroom for Eons. The Yuck List contains dozens of words & phrases that students overuse in their writing.

If you'd like to know why Mrs. Scribe is Ranting about Diction again, please see Tara R. over at If Mom Says OK. She & The Scribe, along with thousands of others, are committed this month (yes, we should be committed) to blogging every day with this NaBloPoMo Janx.

After 7 months in the Blogosphere, and sitting thru 2.5 hours of parent conferences this week (more on that Mind-Numbing Exercise later), Mrs. Scribe Feels the Need to critique what she calls the Inflation Quotient in our language. No, Your Intrepid Scribe is not blameless; it's just that she notices this Inflation--really Stagflation--more often. Commentary Provided for Free.
  1. Definitely. Nothing is definite. Ever. Nobody can ever spell this adverb, either.
  2. Constantly. Same thing. What's constant about it?
  3. Individual basis, Daily basis. Is there also a Group basis? A Weekly basis? Huh?
  4. Near future. Same kinda deal. Is there a Far future, then?
  5. At this point in time. What about in any other point in time?
  6. Hopefully. Probably one of the most misused adverbs of All Time. Never start a sentence with "hopefully." Incorrect: "Hopefully, she'll get the job." Correct: "She waited hopefully for the call about the job."
  7. Impacted. Teeth become impacted. Actions & Events aren't...ever. It's OK, though for them to be affected.
  8. Opportunity. What a stupid word! What about "chance"? Does one "take a chance" or "take an opportunity"?
  9. Utilize. Sounds pretty clinical. What's wrong with the lovely, short, non-pompous word, "use"?
  10. In terms of. Regarding. Due to the fact that. In today's society. The majority of. What about "about," "because," "here," "most"?

Writer, Editor & Teacher William Zinsser wrote a great book that all involved in This Writing Janx should own. Zinsser's On Writing Well is Your Humble Scribe's Bible, of the professional sort. Zinsser preaches Simplicity, but Grace. "Writing is thinking on paper," Zinsser says. So, if you are Pompous & Inflated on paper, just think about how you appear to those around you.


Sean Hogan said...

Where is "Gay?"

and "Britney Spears????"

Tara R. said...

Busted... most of my grammar gaffs are on that list.

Brenda Jean said...

I don't think any of mine are on that list. it because I don't use words that large? BAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Columbia Lily said...

I'm guilty of some of those...Blushing in shame....

Susie said...

I use some of it seems that my attempt to sound smarter is doing the opposite? I don't know if I agree with this post. Oh well. I mean, I think utilize is ok.

MRMacrum said...

In today's society at this point in time the sad state of language is definitely something we should be concerned about. Hopefully in the near future people on an individual basis will take stock (one of my favorites)of how their over use of some words and phrases have impacted the overall quality of American prose. Unfortunately to date (another favorite)the majority of writing wannabes do not take the opportunity to utilize all of the wonderful tools available to create writing that is both clear and concise. In terms of the overall effect of poor composition on the overall quality in general, one could say(again another favorite)that while we may write poorly, at least we R not riting in Aolese yet. Thank God for small favors.

I looked at the list and I am guilty of at least a couple of them. Opportunity comes to mind. It is very easy to fall back on tried and true phrases when trying to convey ideas. I am working on it.

HappyChyck said...

Oh, I know I'm guilty, too. It's humility.


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