Spoiler alert: This story contains words and phrases that some people want to ban from the English language. “Spoiler alert” is among them. So are “kick the can down the road,” ‘’trending” and “bucket list.”
A dirty dozen have landed on the 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The nonbinding, tongue-in-cheek decree released Monday by northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University is based on nominations submitted from the United States, Canada and beyond.
“Spoiler alert,” the seemingly thoughtful way to warn readers or viewers about looming references to a key plot point in a film or TV show, nevertheless passed its use-by date for many, including Joseph Foly, of Fremont, Calif. He argued in his submission the phrase is “used as an obnoxious way to show one has trivial information and is about to use it, no matter what.”
At the risk of further offense, here’s another spoiler alert: The phrase receiving the most nominations this year is “fiscal cliff,” banished because of its overuse by media outlets when describing across-the-board federal tax increases and spending cuts that economists say could harm the economy in the new year without congressional action.
Other terms coming in for a literary lashing are “superfood,” ‘’guru,” ‘’job creators” and “double down.”
University spokesman Tom Pink said that in nearly four decades, the Sault Ste. Marie school has “banished” around 900 words or phrases.
Rounding out the list are “YOLO” (you only live once), “job creators/creation,” ‘’boneless wings” and “passion/passionate.” Those who nominated the last one say they are tired of hearing about a company’s “passion” as a substitute for providing a service or product for money.