I am a copywriter by trade and like all copywriters I started out as an idealistic purveyor of my craft, ready to change the world one B2B case study at a time. I would, I thought, single-handedly bring an end to the use of empty, meaningless jargon in PR and communications, leading to a new dawn of simple, honest and inspiring prose.
Many years later I’m as enmeshed in the jargon as anyone else, justifying my capitulation by arguing that what can seem like jargon one year can quickly turn into accepted phraseology 12 months later.
And this is true; there is a lot of jargon that can just be classified as “just the way people in the industry speak” and is about as eradicable as mold or dental plaque. Having said that, there are some words and phrases that are so ingrained and yet so dull that I feel that something must be done. Getting rid of them won’t necessarily help improve standards of writing, but it will help make me happy, and that is what the world is here for after all.
Here are my top words and phrases that we should ban:
1. Key (when used to mean important, pivotal or fundamental)