Baby please do go

Jeff suggests:

I’ve never heard of anyone giving birth to a full-grown adult except for in the Weekly World News. So let’s get rid of the “baby,” as in “She gave birth to a baby girl.”

A few quickies

Mark hates “early on

Gordon says: I just saw your pages on cliches. The most useless one I’ve ever heard is “at this point in time“. Five words when one is sufficient; ‘now’, or if necessary, ‘right now’.

Ben contributes: “Reads like a thriller” in book reviews to describe any popular science book.

Edgar avers: After working in four TV newsrooms, I hated when an anchor would utter the words “parent’s worst nightmare.”

Just because they’re old…

Brian Baresch declares:

I was distressed to pick up my newspaper this morning and find two,
possibly three egregious cliches in display type, over a pretty good
story about a local woman who turned 108. (Interesting woman, actually
– she’s in a wheelchair, but only because she broke her hip two years
ago kicking a soccer ball.)


On a 1A blurb reefer was the headline “On her 108th, she’s still going
strong
.” That “still going strong” is one of the worst cliches about
an old person, in my mind. And that made it past a slot, at least one
news editor and at least one proofreader to get to my front yard. (The
story itself makes a similar stumble: “Her hearing is still good”.
C’mon, drop the “still”. Otherwise, though, it avoids most of the
pitfalls involved in writing about centenarians.)


Then on the metro cover, in what looks like 60-point type: “She’s 108
years young
.” Yech. Completing the trifecta, the deck reads “She’s
lived a full life — but it’s far from over.

(Pop) go the weasels

Heidi attests:

My biggest peeve: I get really annoyed when journalists use “(pop. 200)” (or 29, or 400, or whatever) to underscore a town’s smallness. It’s overused like crazy, and vaguely condescending.

This is simple

Alex Bensky of Detroit, who commented on the post below, was moved to nominate:

  • Quite simply,” as in “Ozzie Smith is quite simply the best defensive shortstop in history” or “This is, quite simply, the finest movie of the year.”

What does it add? What extra meaning does it carry? What’s the difference between “Greta Garbo is quite simply the great movie actress of all time” and “Greta Garbo is the greatest movie actress of all time?”

Malfunction junction

Linda Andrews shares:

  • My “banned for life” nominee is “wardrobe malfunction.” If I never hear that phrase again, it’ll be just fine with me!
  • Another language pet peeve that irks me is when a reporter talks about a “senseless” murder. Is there any other kind?
  • A couple of redundancies that also get my goat are “ATM machine,” or “HIV virus.” The “M” in ATM already stands for “machine,” so saying “ATM machine,” is saying “automated teller machine machine.” The “V” in HIV already stands for “virus,” so, when someone says “HIV virus,” what they’re really saying is “human immunodeficiency virus virus.” What they SHOULD say is “ATM” and “HIV,” period.
  • Another interesting language miscue, and it’s something I hadn’t thought
    about myself until I heard someone else bring it up, is when someone says, “I thought to myself...”. Can you think to anyone else but yourself?