Words that drive me nuts


November 5th, 2015

Language, such an interesting topic. I’ve always been keen on plain English – or plain language, if you like. Solid words like nouns and verbs, without the added distractions of adjectives.

A travel brochure landed in my letterbox this week and here’s why this particular company is “the only way to travel”. (Really?) A professionally planned itinerary. Well, duh. I suppose an unprofessional itinerary, or one that’s not planned at all is well, not an itinerary worth considering. And here’s a selection of meaningless adjectives used: unparalleled, enriching, strategically, rich, seamlessly, one-of-a-kind, extensive, comfortable, traditional, preferential… And that’s just on the first page!

Such language rolls of people’s tongues in organisations too. Words that are abstract, and open to many interpretations: outcomes, objectives, sustainable, collaborative, deliverables. Here’s an example (made up, of course) of how these words might be used: “We are an outcomes-focused organisation, that uses collaborative and sustainable approaches to ensure our strategic objectives and deliverables are congruent with our organisational values and aspirations.” I threw in a few more. I’m on a roll! After a while I lose the will to live and just want to shout, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” I’m not alone, surely?

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