Archives: Banished Words 1992
Viable Alternative -
This phrase is banned for overuse, resulting in
uselessness. The principal meaning of viable is
biological: capable of living. It has evolved
to mean capable of actualization, hence practicable. But
its overuse is judged to have degenerated from biological
precision to banality. Terminate is viability.
Whenever a politician, educator, coach, or policy analyst
cannot explain the status quo, he claims to be seeking
one or more viable alternatives. Few of these
alternatives ever come into being. Everyone is seeking;
no one is finding. Alternatives never materialized.
Specify the alternatives being considered. Come on,
Anglophones, give your alternatives names. Dont
lump or hide them under viable. Prof.
Justin Agony, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
former hit TV show thirtysomething convinced
half of the U.S. population that they are victims of
angst or just angst-ridden.
Enough with the ANGST already. Its making me
anxious. Get rid of it. And banish the variations on the
theme thirtysomething while youre at it.
Im tired of fortysomething, teenagesomething.
somethingsomething has to give.
Tom Rademacher, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Get rid of it. Ban it. No one knows how to use it.
It is a possessive code mark, not an expression or a word.
You cannot purchase 24s of Apple Crisp or 12s
of your favorite cold capsule. There are no dos;
there are dont's. There are no MDs with
special training, nor are there CDs all in one case.
Clothiers do not sell socks nor do jewelers deal in
1000s of items. You might as well banish the
apostrophe. Too few Americans have the slightest idea how
to use one.
which is a pale redundancy when compared
to return back again, which I have heard
uttered on radio and TV broadcasts. Michelle
Mooney, Los Angeles, Calif.
As in artwork being deaccessioned.
This is evidently considered a more-tasteful term than
dumped. Gene J. Gilmore, Grand Rapids,
when we mean restriction;
Oversight- when we
mean supervise or monitor;
for terminal overuse. Sheridan Baker, Ann Arbor,
Up Front ought
to be banned, as in lets be up front about
this. It makes me want to upthrow.
Connect or Hook Up
Ill connect or hook up with you later,
and Thanks for connection (or hooking up) with me.
Good Lord, dont tell my wife that we connected.
J. Gregory Winn, St. Paul, Minn.
should be banished as overused. Norman W. Larson,
St. Paul, Minn. (Ed.: Were reasonably supportive of
this banishment as in Bubba is arguably the worst
place-kicker in the NFL.)
needs to go. It isnt in any dictionary Ive
perused. Yet it is a part of day-in, day-out language.
Lisse Hill, Ypsilanti, Mich.
(a euphemism for fired);
Talk to Real Live Girls on 900-
(Would you talk to dead girls?); Done Deal: Is that
anything like a dead lock?
Plan It means down payment. Why not leave
it at that? The only reduction is to your bank account.
Nell Gaball, Marquette, Mich.
In my humble
opinion should be banished because it
makes me feel abused, amused, misused, confused,
suspicious, and nauseous. Joan Niederhofer,
Wouldnt summary or commentary be better?
M. June Dohse, Anchorage, Alaska.
in he died of an apparent heart attack. Its
he apparently died of a heart attack. (Ed.:
If the attack were apparent, someone should have noticed.)
Harry Shecter, M.D., Farmington Hills, Mich.
as in hes doing cocaine big time.
(Ed.: In the big house!)
used to denote ice cream, time, or merchandise of any
kind. Quality has non anymore because its
associated with everything from groceries to services and
most of the time falls far short of quality. (Ed.:
in a heart condition. What does that mean? (Ed.:
We hope, hearts are in good condition.)
mean bad. Edward X. Tuttle, Southfield, Mich.
and other gender-neutral phraseology. I am saddened
by the passing of MANkind, the huMAN race, the family of
MAN, and never again being a chairMAN, alderMAN, or
fisherMAN. Fisherperson is unnecessary terminology anyway,
given that angler already exists. Lets
get rid of political correctness and gender
neutral while were at it. W. Van
Sickle, St. Joseph Island, Ont. Canada
instead of memento. This mistake is more common in speech
than in writing, but a newspaper wrote officials
wanted momentos carved for the 1990 Labatt Brier
(Ed.: Sounds like a lapse in time.) Roy Sutton,
Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Canada
Get With The Program
I reply: its being revised,
(Ed.: correct if addressed to computer operators.)
Wanda Johnson, Wayne, Mich.
Radio announcers who use the phrase apparently are
impressed by their own verbosity. As well
lacks the succinct dynamism of also and the
punch of too, which it is intended to replace.
John Pehoski, Lake Superior State University
Student, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Home when it
refers to real estate. Example home builder.
Others: Home sales are up. An 18th-century
home. Four homes were destroyed. These
are all institutional references. Its HOUSE, not
home. If you work outside of the home, are
you employed away from your house, or maintaining the
grounds at a mental institution? Name and address
withheld by request.
Please banish the rare
quadruple negative printed in the accompanying
newspaper article headed: obscenity issue dropped
from arts bill: In a 214-205 vote, with several
Western lawmakers switching positions, the house REJECTED
an attempt to OVERTURN a deal that AXED the ANTI-obscenity
measure in exchange for maintaining grazing subsidies for
Western ranchers. Say what? Joseph
Kimble, Lansing, Mich.
Spousal Unit and Female
Brethren The author of an article
containing both of these phrases is guilty of excessive
pseudo gender sensitivity. N.O. Stockmeyer,
Jr., Lansing, Mich.
I see what you are
saying used by persons with
exceptional eyesight and questionable word selection. (Ed.:
Its correct if uttered by a person reading lips.)
Jack Dietrich, Albuquerque, New Mexico
To Be Perfectly Honest With
You When someone says that to me,
it shows me he has already considered the possibility of
lying to me and, for some reason, has discarded it. It
also makes me wonder if hes lied to me before, and
now is trying to lead a more moral life. Dianne
Linden, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
baseball term is short for runs batted in.
Hence RBIs is incorrect. The term, after all, is not
runs batted ins. Wally Joyner of the
California Angels did not have 96 RBIs in 1991. He had 96
RBI. G.N. Constable, Mansfield, Ohio (Ed.: And,
thanks in part to all those RBI, Wally signed a huge free-agent
contract in the off-season with the Kansas City Royals.)
Level Playing Field
Is there any other kind? Margaret
DeChant, Newberry, Mich.
Can you be cautiously reckless, or recklessly
cautious? Lets find a lessbombastic phrase like
timidly hopeful or hoping timidly.
(Ed.: Were cautiously cynical that banishment will
be effective.) David McFarlane, Haslett, Mich.
applied to lay people performing any function whatever in
church circles. Carol Smith, Fairbanks, Alaska (Ed.:
Is there a ministry of snow removal, yet?)
should be banished for overuse. The original
meaning of this word has been lost in the media, which
blithely gives us such nonsense as the ballet-dancing
community; the stock-broking community; the international
community (whatever it is) and, my all-time favorite, the
intravenous drug-using community. Eli Levine,
Santa Barbara, California.
Every time the body of a murder victim is
discovered in the ground, the news media tell us the body
was discovered in a shallow grave. What
exactly does that mean? How shallow is shallow? Are
murder victims ever found in deep or average
graves? Lets eliminate the cliché. Either tell us
how deep the grave was in feet, inches, meters,
etc. or just report that the body was found buried.
David W. Downing, St. Paul, Minn.
This is the most-overworked phrase in the
English language today. Whats worse, its
grammatically incorrect. Important is an adjective, not
an adverb. Translation: this is important; this is more
important. Everyone in the U.S.: scholars, media types,
politicians, speech writers everywhere, abuse this phrase.
Lets consign this one to the trash can forever.
Dorothy Powers, WJR Radio, Detroit, Mich.
No doubt, higher education define, even
quantify this term for their own use. But few if any
politicians know what theyre buying with the
growing billions of dollars worth of higher education
services for which theyre paying. Teaching has
become the principal outcome of education, not learning.
You can validate this hypothesis by counting the words
teaching and learning in news
media coverage of our educators and politicians. This
obviates independent learning capabilities as a desired
outcome of education because it conflicts with the
educators goal of indispensability. Ask a shop
teacher what time it is and hell tell you how to
build a clock. Is it possible that Lake Superior
State is a covertly subversive organization? Do you have
any idea of the hallowed institutions that are built on
jargon? Howard Garver, M/SGT retired U.S.
Army, Urbana, Ill.