Hackneyed phrases and verbal atrocities communicators hate

Writers shake their collective ink-stained fists at usage misuse and abuse.

Once again the annual lists of clichés, “banished words” and other linguistic barbarities are circulating among those who deal words for a living. So we issued a call among writers and communicators we know for their thoughts on the clichés that ought to be jettisoned.

The response was immediate. From what we can discern from the bottom of the dog pile, a lot of people are irritated about usage.

Our call was sparked in part by Lake Superior State University’s 2011 list of 14 words and phrases that ought to be banished, among them “wow factor,” “man up,” and “viral” when used to describe something that is popular on the Internet.

Likewise, Richard Nordquist of About.com has amassed “200 Words and Expressions That Tick You Off.” (He means “you” in the sense of “me.”) Among them are tautologies like “ATM machine,” grotesque neologisms like “efforting” and the hated “at the end of the day.”

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