Words I Hate

Kim DuToit goes off on Grammar from time to time. I love these posts, because he’s right and I agree with him. What people do to the English language is a sin and a crime against humanity.

What makes me nuts most of all is when words are changed and people start repeating them like myna birds hoping to appear smart and cool. Too me, when I hear them, I fixate and usually stop listening to whoever is talking. The list:

“Ask” – as a noun. As in “I have an ask”, “Who will be doing the ask?”. You don’t have an ‘ask’. You have a request. You ask a question. If it’s sales, who is giving the pitch?

“Dialog” – as a verb. You don’t “dialog”. You have a conversation, you have a dialog. One does not “Dialog”, one talks.

“Verbiage” – as in “we need to change this verbiage here”. It’s in the wrong context. If you follow the meaning of the word, it’s excess wordiness. Too many words to convey your thought. While that may be, normally people use this when they actually mean we need to change the text, or change the paragraph. Every time I’ve heard it, it’s been used to refer to ordinary wording and they want to add more.

“Net-Net” – as in “Net-Net we ended up with a small profit.” There is “gross”, and there is “net”. There’s not a net of net. There is “when all is said and done”, “At the end of the day”.

“Re-imagine” – as in “We’re going to re-imagine manufacturing”, Taken at face value, what this means to me is we are going to s-can decades of institutional knowledge and best practices and start from scratch. I’ve seen it used where my takeaway was “We don’t know how it works, so we’re going to screw with it, eventually ruining what was once working”, or “We’re going to invest some money, and use industry best practices to bring our operation up to where everyone else in the industry is.” Nothing is ‘imagined’. In reality what they are talking about is bringing the tech and practices they’ve used for over a decade to the current date and time.

“FMP-ed” – LucentSpeak for “Fired”. Stands for “Force Management Plan”

“Private Cloud”. You don’t have a private cloud. You have a network. It might span multiple locations, referred to as a WAN or wide area network. Even if you have your stuff in a co-lo cage in a third party datacenter, if it isn’t traversing the interwebs to someone else’s hardware and software, it ain’t the “cloud”.

I’m certain I could come up with more. Your word choice and grammar is extremely important in your day to day interactions with other humans. You have the tools, use them.

I’ve seen those that can. The CEO of the company I work for has an affable speaking style that’s remarkably clear and concise. That’s the kind of style I try to emulate.

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