Financial Planning

Things you can’t say ever again

Ears It's official: Everyone is sick of this economy ... even the wordsmiths and grammarians.

The Jan. 18 edition of Time summarizes the 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness (yep, it really exists -- it's published each year by Lake Superior State University). The list consists of 15 words and phrases we've grown far too accustomed to lately, including:

  • "Too big to fail," at No. 12
  • "Toxic assets," at No. 11
  • "Stimulus," at No. 10
  • "In these economic times," at No. 9
  • "Shovel-ready" (in reference to a stimulus project that can get off the ground quickly and generate jobs), at No. 1

My reaction? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

The folks at Lake Superior State proved a point -- beyond the fact that they have too much time on their hands.

That point is this: Doesn't anyone own a thesaurus anymore? Can't we shake things up a little and come up with something better than "stimulus" every now and then? How about "boost?" "Jolt?" "Shot in the arm?" Anything. And I'm as much to blame as anyone.

However, I do take issue with one of their choices. They placed "Transparent / transparency" at No. 2 on their list.

Sorry, but in these economic times, we need more transparency, not less.

Though, granted, we could use a few more synonyms.

And by the way, the social media fan in me objects to the inclusion of "tweet" (No. 4), "app" (No. 5) and "friend" (as a verb, No. 7) on the list. Something tells me that, like it or not, we'll be hearing much, much more of these words in 2010.

Those who don't agree can just chillax (No. 14).

Which words or phrases would you ban?


Bill Sheridan