Not wholesome

Bruce Ussery offers:

For months now I’ve been noticing the phrase “whole new way” used numerous times daily in TV commercials, news stories, and print ads. I guess a “whole new way” is much more exciting and newsworthy than a mere “new way”. It’s a miracle we survived so long without all these whole new ways. I just did a search for the phrase using Google – 10,600,000 hits.

(Counting Google hits also should be banned … since nobody knows what the counts mean and nobody’s gonna make sure each of those 10.6 million hits is relevant. — tm)


Barry (sorry, no last name) avers:

I nominate the term “political correctness” – this phrase has lost all meaning and it’s tedious that the media express this term without any real thought.

You don’t say

From Diana Salles:

Whenever I hear “Having said that,” I replace it with “On the other hand”. I wish people could be more honest when they disagree with an assertion. Instead, they say, “Yes there are too many policemen in this neighborhood. Having said that, there aren’t enough policemen in this neighborhood.”

It’s smarmy, too diplomatic.

It ranks with “I hear where you’re coming from” and “More power to you” for misplaced politeness.

Fresh peeves

From Deborah Williams:

I just found your site and would like to add “my two cents worth.” Several words and phrases that I hear daily annoy me, but these are my latest “pet peeves.”

  1. I have recently begun hearing newscasters state something like this, “The fire occurred at 3 a.m. in the morning.” I suppose “in the morning” is added so as not to be confused with 3 a.m. in the afternoon!
  2. Perhaps this has been included, but I was unable to find it. I often see the word “partnered” being used regularly. For example, I received a campaign brochure today from two local candidates for the school board (Lord, help us!) who claim, “Dan has partnered with Gary…” I never knew the noun partner was also a verb.
  3. sick and tired.” Let’s revive the word “weary” instead.
  4. Another redundant phrase often used by the current administration is “friends and allies.” Aren’t our allies by definition also our friends? Why must both words be used?

These are but a few of my current language annoyances. Love your site!

A plea from Canada

Charlie Stough included the following in his latest BONG Bull:

URGENT APPEAL. A Canadian hack who avoids hackneyed words and phrases like the plague (his own description) asks, “How about an appeal in a future BONG bulletin for a moratorium — no, make that a total cessation — on the use of overworked words in print?

“What happened on Sept. 11, 2001 was ‘horrific.’ A car crash on a highway, however, sad that it takes three or four young lives, does not
compare with 9/11 in enormity but it seems ‘horrific’ has become the buzz word used by hacks to describe any tragedy beyond an ordinary event involving death or destruction.

Icon: What did we use before we had this one? How often is it used in its proper meaning?

“And, one we see a lot: Coffers. Isn’t a word which used to describe containers for holding money in bygone years a bit antiquated in this
day of accounting by computer and instantaneous transfer of sums around the universe?

“I’m sure you and your many devoted readers can come up with many more words and phrases currently being grossly overworked and/or beaten to death on the pages of newspapers today — not to mention the electronic media.”

Yes of course, whatever we can do to ease the burden of our Canadian hack brethren. We never hear the word “hustings” until election time, when it becomes an instant cliche. “Warchest” is another of the same ilk, and we don’t mean warch, warcher, warchest. Who whistles at a

whistle-stop?” And when was the last real stump seen at a “stump

speech?” Would the Secret Service let a candidate even climb onto a stump, and risk being nipped by a termite?

Nuke this

Brian Cubbison in Syracuse nails one he found in The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif.

“Most voters didn’t want Dean’s finger anywhere near
the nuclear button.”

Shocking news: There is no button. It doesn’t work that way. The truth is
much more interesting.

Meet Mister Twister

Bruce, just Bruce, offers:

Here in Georgia, one of North America’s tornado regions, I’d love for some caffeine-deprived reporter to someday slip up and write that “the tornado sounded like a golf ball, and it dropped hail the size of freight trains“.

Slip sliding away

Mr. Mangan,
I’d like to propose for banishment the phrase “down a slippery slope.”

Every time a progressive idea is put forward someone is bound to accuse the
proponent of “leading us down a slippery slope.” Is there any other
direction to descend a slope that is slippery?

My other, more recent, peeve is the newer “it is what it is.” Apparently this is used to excuse the speakers lack of insight to a given situation.
Sandy Novak

She’s not mistaken

From Karen Hazelton

It drives me crazy – ever since Sept. 11, “make no mistake” has been THE most over-used phrase. For fun, it’s added onto other cliches: Make no mistake, the rain didn’t dampen their spirits.

Meaning gone missing

A newscaster favorite:

  • “Today a child has gone missing,” or “The child went missing nine days ago.” Exactly how does one go missing?
  • What about “free money“? Has someone ever paid for it?
  • “It pulls at your heartstrings” – Not only a nauseating sentiment, but I don’t remember learning about those in my anatomy class.
  • It’s “a crime of passion” when a woman kills a man, but a “brutal murder” when a man kills a woman…
  • Two for the banished list:

  • Genre” and “circa” for over-use in the media.
  • Some other things that irritate me:

  • For free” and “center around” – WRONG! It’s “free” and “center ON”!
  • Regis Philbin’s famous, “I’m going to read you the question,” instead of “I’m going to read the question TO YOU.”
  • Thank you,
    Jennifer Grieco