Top Ten Overused Words
Disclaimer: This is my list and only mine. While it is not a work of fiction any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. Further resemblance to advertisements, articles, books, names, characters, places or anything else is the product of the author’s imagination. So there.
Words I despise hearing and think are generally crappy. I start with number one because #1 makes me froth at the mouth and we must get the mouth-frothing over and done with.
1. OMG: This is not a word. This is not a phrase or sentence. Oh my God, shut up! Abhorrent and stupid. I don’t want to see it in a text message or on the written page (internet pages included) but I really, really DO NOT want to hear anyone speak this abomination out loud.
• OMG: Oh my God! (Used to express surprise, alarm, etc.) Also, omg. Origin: from its use in digital communications.
2. MILF: While I find this insulting I recognize that some people may find this term as either a compliment or descriptive. I heard a radio announcer refer to a celebrity as a “MILF or cougar” and questioned not just the appropriateness of the conversation on morning radio but whether the terms are synonyms. Setting aside my personal attitude regarding a word commonly used in porn, do we really want or need children to ask what this acronym means?
• MILF: Noun Slang: Vulgar. An attractive older woman, usually a mother, who is regarded as a sexual object by a younger man. Also, milf. Origin: M(other) I(‘d) L(ike) to F(**).
3. Truthfully: Are you a genetic liar? If someone begins a sentence with this word, I don’t believe a word coming from their mouth. Liar, liar pants on fire.
• Truthful: Adjective. Telling the truth, especially habitually: a truthful person. Conforming to the truth. Origin: 1590–1600; truth + -ful Related forms Truthfully, Adverb.
4. Actually: Is this word overused for emphasis or has it ‘Actually’ become the ‘um’ of the uneducated or poor conversationalist? Say this to me and I cannot hide the look of derision on my face. Sorry, the derision face is going to happen.
• Actually: Adverb. As an actual or existing fact; really. Origin: 1400–50; late Middle English.
5. Literally: This makes me, to use a technical term, nutso. Upon looking up the definition I will admit that I went from nutso to NUTSO. Refer to the usage note from dictionary.com. I call Indigo Montoya to Vizzini (The Princess Bride) on this one, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
• Literally: Adverb. 1. In the literal or strict sense: What does the word mean literally? 2. In a literal manner; word for word: to translate literally. 3. Actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy: The city was literally destroyed. 4. In effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually. Origin: 1525–35; literal + -ly Can be confused: figuratively, literally, virtually (see usage note at the current entry).
Usage note (from Dictionary.com) “Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs. The same might often be said of the use of literally in its earlier sense “actually”: The garrison was literally wiped out: no one survived. Seriously (“Another word that is used for more emphasis than most things deserve is the almost-a-question-but-more-of-a-statement seriously. It’s usually used in the manner of disbelief with a sarcastic tone when used as a question, or as an emphasis for a thought or future action. Either way, the word has become overused by the average conversationalist, and now verges on overkill as teenager or hipster jargon. And, when combined with other language fillers (such as dude or like), any actual seriousness this word used to offer is completely thrown out the window”)”
6. Best/Lowest Prices of the Season: This advertising ploy must be successful because so many retailers utilize the phrase. I ask what is ‘the season’? This week, next week, the equinox? The term is vague but must be sufficient to lure shoppers seeking low prices. I’m not sure why I find this annoying. Macys.com customer service page on pricing terms, “”Lowest Prices of the Season” on macys.com merchandise refers to four retail seasons per year: …Prices may be lowered, however, during a season for clearance.”
7. ‘Gate’ suffix: One of the many positive things about English, especially American English, is the ability to create new and descriptive words. I won’t get on a rant about the French language absurdities. ‘Gate’ suffix entered our lexicon following the burglary of the Democratic party headquarters at the Watergate hotel during the Nixon administration. Watergate became the name of scandal just as Waterloo became Napoleon’s, well waterloo. The suffix ‘gate’ added to an identified controversy conveys disgrace. But enough is enough when phrases like nipplegate come into use. Stop already!
8. Hashtag: First I will indicate my age by explaining that I refer to the # mark as ‘pound’. The # pound is still used on many phone system menus. Hashtag used in a text to identify a keyword for search purposes does not make it a word. Hashtag is a search term and use as part of a conversation is beyond ludicrous.
• Hash tag: Noun. 1. (on social-networking Web sites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it: The hashtag #sandiegofire was used to help coordinate an emergency response to the fire. Verb (used with object), verb (used without object), hashtagged, hashtagging. 3. To add a hashtag to (a word, topic, or message): Someone on Twitter just hashtagged the film festival. Origin: 2005–10; hash (mark) + tag1 (def 9c).
9. Passion: A large number of businesses will spout in mission statements or on website ‘about us’ sections that their product is their passion. I certainly hope not. If the maker of toy cars is passionate about making toy cars they frighten me. My wish is that business people develop a passion for new terminology.
• Passion: Noun. 1. Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate. 2. Strong amorous feeling or desire; love; ardor. 3. Strong sexual desire; lust. 4. An instance or experience of strong love or sexual desire. 5. A person toward whom one feels strong love or sexual desire. Origin: 1125–75; Middle English (< Old French ) late Old English passion ), special use of Late Latin passiō suffering, submission, derivative of Latin passus, past participle of patī to suffer, submit; see –ion. Synonyms : Fervor, zeal, ardor, ire, fury, wrath, rage.
10. Oops, I only had nine words. LOL. (Sarcasm font in use).
Monthly Archives: July 2013
Top Ten Overused Words
From The Write Life Lessons in The Art of Writing
4 Elements of a Logline – One line plot description by Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, Summary of Chapter One – What Is It?A log line is a movie/screen writing term for a one or two line description of the story. Snyder says screenwriters can sell their screen play if they have the following 4 elements.
1) Irony. A good story will have a twist. Identify the conflict. Mention the protagonist
(Hero/Heroine) and the antagonist to involve the reader’s emotions.
2) Target Market. For the author of novels this would be the publisher and genre. Does the description provide an idea of the reader/market? A bookstore is divided by genre to engage the target market. Readers that enjoy romance, young adult section, mystery, sci-fi, etc. head to the labeled section. A blurb on the back, though longer, tells the reader what the story is about.
3) Create a mental picture. Does the description give the potential reader a visual idea of what the book/movie is about?
4) Killer Title. Snyder says if the logline has these elements your pitch will be successful. Even better condense the movie for the marquee and – voila!
So we may not be screenwriters, but as authors if we heed Snyder’s advice we have a better chance of selling our book to the publisher and the reader. I thought a look at some well-known books would be interesting.
I love all the following books but if someone hadn’t recommended Outlander I never would have read Gabaldon’s work. To Kill a Mockingbird is an intriguing title and Guilty Pleasures means you must buy the book. Fahrenheit 451? It would intrigue but I am not certain the book would sell today on the title alone. Unwind by Neil Shusterman doesn’t work on the title but the one line plot description of “what if your parents could unwind you….” hits the target market. What book titles SELL the book? Do these titles also meet the one line plot description? Do the elements of irony, target market and creation of a mental picture help make the killer Title?
I think the following books may well meet all 4 criteria:Dead until Dark by Charlaine Harris and Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson. What do you think?
This is why I review and read reviews. The Never List is now on my TBR (too be read) list.
Every girl has a list of ‘nevers’ that they follow to keep themselves safe.
Never walk to your car alone late at night. Never accept an open drink from a men you don’t know. Never get into cars with strangers. Never, never, never.
Everyone’s never list is bound to be different. For me the cardinal rule is never get into a car with strangers and that is the same rule that best friends Sarah and Jennifer violate one fateful night.
Sarah and Jennifer have a lengthy list of ‘nevers’ that range from avoiding natural disasters, to avoiding rape and kidnapping. Their never list has served them well all the way up into college until one night they decide to take a cab.
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