A free pool of blood

G. Wong offered the following

Some words and phrases are blithely used in the local media without
a second thought as to their sensibilities.

  • Free gift: a gift is free by definition
  • Pool of blood: as in “The man was lying in a pool of
  • Action…. against: a catch-all term to mean punishment without
    saying much. Sometimes the paper, radio or TV stations will proffer
    the details but often won’t, leaving us to read between the lines.
    eg “Action will be taken against Anwar Ibrahim.”
  • Nabbed & transparency: as in detained, and public accountability
    _ the latter often used in govt.-speak to urge agencies or businesses
    to be more transparent.
  • Percentages: often misused when percentage points up or down
    are meant. Telekom Malaysia’s pre-tax profit was down 12 percentage
    points from 48 percent. Hardly the same as a 12 percent reduction.
  • Too much

    From Donna Migliore

    Please, can’t people stop using the phrase “all too“?
    The meaning of the phrase is all too obscure and it’s used all too often.


    Phil Roberts-Thomson makes this plea to the literary world:

    I hope, in vain, that I will never again read “exact same“.
    Not only is it a tautology, but it should be “exactly the same
    as.” My wife came to the phrase in a poorly written contemporary
    novel. In disgust, she threw the book across the room (in reality she
    was pleased for the excuse).

    Driving us to drink

    William B. Eustis suggests there’s surely a better way to say:

  • Drugs and alcohol.” — I know that this is a style
    required by some organizations. It is clearly redundant and suggests
    that alcohol is not a drug.
  • Substance abuse.” – What substance is being abused?
    Walking on my lawn could be considered “SA.”
  • Self-titled.” (As in: “Joe Blow’s new self
    – titled CDƒ”) What, the CD gave itself a name? Either use
    the title or use the perfectly useful “eponymous” and make
    ’em look it up.
  • A further note on “At this point in time.” – Not
    only is this used for “now,” it has also become a bad synonym
    for “then.”
  • Evacuate this

    From D. Reed Watson:

  • Stop modifying the word “unique“! The word means
    one of a kind. How, then, could something be more or most unique?
    STOP IT!
  • And I almost evacuate myself everytime I hear a reporter tell me
    how many people were evacuated. Evacuate means to make vacant.
    (or to empty). If a person is evacuated, it is generally done with
    an enema. Please, let’s evacuate the buildings and leave the poor
    people alone!
  • And of course, the ever popular “back to you” at
    the end of a live shot.
  • Impact this

    Mark Samuels sent along these complaints that made me wonder if perhaps
    he had an impacted molar at the time:

    The older I become, the more the daily diet of shallow and ill-educated talking heads that the broadcast media provides me tends to grind upon me, particularly when certain buzzwords are picked up, used over and over, and then bleed into print journalism. And we all agree, of course, that print journalism is the last bastion of literacy in the civilized

    Some examples:

  • CLEARLY, blah blah blah. . .” CLEARLY, this is
    being overused and I want to throw up every time I hear some pretentious, egocentric politician/commentator/tv reporter use it.
  • Or tune in to the overuse of AS WELL, when a simple ALSO
    or TOO would do.Then there is the grating conversion of a noun or adjective to a verb:
  • An IMPACT may impinge or strike (noun). And we may have IMPACTED teeth, an IMPACTED area where the state provides services but derives little tax revenue because of tax-exempt federal property, and we may even be IMPACTED by being wedged in or packed (all adjectives)
    But Johnny’s inability to speak or write the Queen’s English was not IMPACTED by his refusal to do his lessons, although that refusal may have had an IMPACT upon his situation. IMPACT is never a verb, much less a past-tense transitive verb in the form of IMPACTED. Clearly, there are many other examples that have impacted our speech and reporting as well.
  • Now, maverick

    From Mordecai Specktor:

  • There’s the frequently used description of Ross Perot as a “maverick
    .” (Maybe this is more an oxymoron than a cliche).
  • At this point in time,” which means “now,”
    has come into the lexicon.