Lake Superior State University in Michigan released its annual list of 14 words/phrases that should be banished from our lexicon citing redundancy and overuse. Or perhaps some of these choice vocabulary words make us sound just plain dumb (refudiate…really, Mrs. Palin, really? in her defense, she said Shakespeare made up his own words. ha.).
The university began this project in 1976 and now receives 1,000 nominations each year.
Without further ado…
The American people had an a-ha moment during the mid-term elections after Googling the back story on mama grizzlies. The real wow factor was while the candidates decided to man up and refudiate the opposing party, it was an epic fail when, truth be told, they were BFFs, living life to the fullest. I’m just sayin’.
Yes, I am guilty too. Sometimes I get stuck on words or phrases like a fly on honey. (Why a fly and not a bee? I don’t know.) Teaching teenagers has varnished my vocabulary. Yes, of course, I’ll blame it on them. I can’t even count the number of times something is epic or a fail or even worse, an epic fail. And as mentioned in a previous post, the a-ha moment is a staple term in education.
While teaching AP style to my students, we often discuss the importance of word choice. The goal is to get the point across to the reader in the clearest, most concise manner. So we do a few exercises in which we eliminate unnecessary words…a free gift (a gift is free), completely destroyed (well, if it’s destroyed, there is not much left…) and so on. With that in mind, I got a kick out of these nominations for back story, the American people and live life to the fullest.
“[Back story] should be on the list of words that don’t need to exist because a perfectly good word has been used for years. In this case, the word is ‘history,’ or, for those who must be weaned, ‘story.'” Jeff Williams, Sherwood, Ariz.
“[Live life to the fullest is] an absurdity followed by a redundancy. First, things are full or they’re not; there is no fullest. Second, ‘live life’ is redundant. Finally, the expression is nauseatingly overused. What’s wrong with enjoying life fully or completely? The phrase makes me gag. I’m surprised it hasn’t appeared on the list before.” Sylvia Hall, Williamsport, Penn.
“Aren’t all Americans people? Every political speech refers to the ‘American’ people as if simply saying ‘Americans’ (or ‘people’) is not enough.” Deb Faust, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Words are great, aren’t they? I’m just sayin’…(I may not be able to let that one go).