The pundits and talking heads in the media apparently do some Wikipedia research to utilize what they consider trendy and “new” words and phrases. They also slip into the comfortable use of the trite. Both systems are used to populate their delivery in what they no doubt consider crisp and modern language to elevate the knowledge level of the great unwashed out here in the hinterland. Regrettably, they often merely annoy or offend the educated ear. Yes, it might surprise some of them to know that there are folks beyond the Hudson or Potomac who are actually literate or erudite. The following is a small sample of their ill-use of the Queen’s English.
1. At the end of the day–Gee whiz folks come on. No one ever heard or used that expression until the Gulf War when the British commanders were interviewed and they used that term. CNN and the others apparently thought it sounded very learned because it became the standard for wrapping up and conversational point. How about not using it at all? Simply state whatever is on your mind. In the final analysis. The denouement will be—. The result will be…. There are alternatives believe it or not. They should show some creativity and stray from the herd at least occasionally.
2. Body of work–This is of particular use by those in the sports world when talking about a specific athlete. The phrase historically was used to talk about the work of artists. The true thing, painters, sculptors, etc. How about “look at his history in the game”. His record shows—-. A great track record. Based on past experience—. Or again, how about simply dropping the phrases altogether.
3. Exact same—A real irritant in the world of redundancy. How about similar. Or same thing. It is like what happened before. Exactly. Same means just that–the same and the qualifier of exact is a waste of syllables and the alphabet and our time. We get the idea.
4. Just/Really. Oh, boy where to start. How many times do you hear or read someone who throws in a just or really fifteen times in one short paragraph ? A tip to the allegedly educated pundits and everyone really (pun intended) don’t use either word ever unless you really really need it as an emphasis point. You will be understood by the man on the street if those words never cross your lips or appear in you typing.
5. So– Since when that become the required lead in for every sentenced uttered? That use to start ever sentence makes you sound so Valley Girl. Drop it already. Try to emulate Hemingway a bit. If the word doesn’t add to your intended narrative or move your intended content forward don’t use it. It is a wasted word and certainly doesn’t make you sound more intelligent to your audience be it large or small.
6. Here’s the thing–the cousin of “so”. Read the advice given above. To spice things up a bit if that is your goal how about “in point of fact”. Anything. For heaven’s sake try something different that what everyone else is using. Y0u’ll come across as the most original guy in the room by dropping that unnecessary lead in.
7. Great question–. Or often phrased as “good” question. You are not required to constantly compliment your interrogator. To repeat, drop the phrase altogether and answer the damn question without further ado. Of course we wouldn’t begin to believe that one of those pundits is using that phrase as a method to let you know how smart they are because they can answer such a great question.
8. Under the bus–. Is there a political talk show where they don’t use that expression every time there is a public disagreement among p0ls on the same side? How about ol what’s his name is being sacrificed for —. He is going on the altar of public sacrifice for—. He is being abandoned because—. The English language is rich and a similar concept can be conveyed in many ways. Get off the bus already.
9. Wheelhouse–another favorite of the political pundits when discussing the expertise and or lack thereof of particular public figures. Of course not a darn one of them have ever been on a sailing ship or other blue water vessel and have no idea how the wheelhouse works. One can only suppose they believe it gives them a jaunty lilt to their comments. It merely makes them appear silly and pretentious. How about “they are not competent” in that area. Better yet make a straightforward statement without the qualifier.
10. You know—You know that is my personal favorite annoyance. It is like sitting next to someone is smacking that damn gum in public. Every sentence, every paragraph does NOT need to have that phrase sprinkled throughout like salt on the french fries. Concentrate, get a grip and don’t use that expression. You come across as the most ignorant of hillbillies even with that degree from Harvard.
At a later date we will add to this list. No doubt you have many other words or phrases in your mind that could be added to this list. Following the suggestions here would sure shorten the segments on those talks shows and might even leave some of those pundits tongue-tied.
“Man is not made for defeat” Old Man And The Sea”—Hemingway. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com