Chris's list of overused and misused phrases
Here is my (growing) list of overused, mis-used and abused words and phrases.
You know, the ones that tend to make the writer/speaker look like an even bigger fool.
The ones that get used when they shouldn't and hinder communication.
The words that someone uses because they _think_ it makes them look more intelligent.
If you should find any of these in your own writing - please find a better way to say it.
- Isn't that the same as 'todo' or 'something we need to do' or 'we need this soon'?
- I still haven't been able to figure out what they were talking about.
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Attention Deficit / Hyperactive Disorder
- A catch all ailment for rowdy children, usually treated by zombifying them with Ritalin. This is grossly over-diagnosed, mis-treated, mis-understood. This diagnosis frequently hides real problems and leaves them untreated.
- I've yet to see anyone use this who is old enough to remember Betamax tapes. Much less understand what they're implying.
- How about 'end' or 'conclusion'? Or how about just agreeing on what it means.
- Perhaps 'at or in the same location'? Or is it more like 'co-dependent'?
- Well, I guess my comfort level is about 5'8". Oh, you don't mean in a date/partner/wife? Well, what DO you mean?
- Repetively redundant. How about 'what we're good at'?
- Poorly defined, poorly thought out. I hear these and keep thinking God/Spielberg/Black Hole.
- These words have meaning when used alone. But as a way of defining market segments? No.
- This word already has a good definition, but it is an adjective NOT a noun.
- It might make sense in the military, but not in business. And certainly not the way I've been hearing it used.
- Close, but 'spread' would usually be a better choice of words. (and doesn't have messy implications or translations)
- What does it really mean?
- Empower: verb; to give official authority or legal power to.
- I doubt that's what you meant.
- Do you mean 'help'? Nah, most people using this word don't know what they mean.
- Other than at MIT, I haven't seen this word used correctly in years.
- A hacker is not a computer thief, and hacker is not interchangeable with programmer.
- People use these terms because they don't have the faintest idea what they are talking about. (Yo, Mr. Gore - this means you!)
- It's close to what they mean, but showy.
- Unfortunately, it gets mis-used frequently.
- Why don't you take one and find out what it means? Or pick a better word or phrase? Oh, I guess you don't have any.
- Do you mean 'works together'? Why didn't you say so?
- This only has a place in physics lectures. Outside of that no two people seem to use it the same way.
- I've seen it mean: overpriced, use, re-use, forced, and 'backed by a whole lotta money'.
- This word has several meanings, but none of them are verbs.
- And what isn't?
- Perhaps you mean 'predicting'. Modeling a system means that you have some theoretical basis, not just observation. (Or that you're willing to wear it)
- Quit making up words just to make yourself sound stupid.
Out(side) of the Box
- How about 'creative' or 'creatively'? Oh, you don't know the meaning of the words? We noticed.
Out of the Loop
- This makes some sense if you're into national politics (the beltway in Washington, DC). Anywhere else it just sounds stupid.
- Just what does this mean, anyway?
- Paradigm: Noun; An outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype.
- People mis-using this word are NOT paradigms of communication.
- And just how do they expect the examples to shift? Or perhaps they intend to change the rules and find new examples.
- It looks like Webster's finally gave in on this one and added a new definition...
- I was amazed: it is in the dictionary.
- Proactive: adj; relating to, caused by, or being interference between previous learning and the recall or performance of later learning.
- Of course, that's nowhere near what most people mean by it...... Most of the time 'active' would be a better choice.
Pushing the Envelope
- Something secretaries/admins do? Something Chuck Yeager talks about? Or just people too illiterate to come up with a better phrase?
- The people I've seen use this phrase wouldn't know a vector if it came up and bit them. I also have my doubts about their understanding of 'quality'.
- And exactly how do you do that? Normally discovery is reserved for the first person to find/make something, not the fiftieth.
- When I see or hear this, my first thought is of the speaker/writer singing "If I only had a brain..."
- (a reference to the movie "The Wizard of Oz" for those outside the United States)
- I've seen this used to mean a dozen different things, and there were always better ways of saying it.
- What? It already has a definition, quit messing with it. Better yet: look it up!
- I keep hearing it used, by not with it's dictionary meaning. I still haven't figured out what they mean.
- Total Quality Management
- This started out as a very good management theory, but has turned into an endless set of training seminars. The misunderstandings and misapplications have now done much more harm than good.
- The part of your skull that seems to be inoperative.
- Do you mean 'use'?
Chris Cox / email@example.com