It is what it is — reader begs to cancel overused words

Burt’s Eye View

I’m so over it.

Let’s circle back and deep dive into overused words and phrases. At the end of the day, don’t you think we should be woke enough to cancel them? Asking for a friend.

Wait, what?

Every year, groups and institutions such as Lake Superior State University issue their lists of words and phrases that are the most misused, overused and just plain useless that need to be banished in the new year.

Reader Jim Cartwright emailed me his thoughts on lexicon elimination: “I’d like sports broadcasters, coaches and players to stop using ‘physicality’ and its brethren ‘It’ll be a physical game,’ ‘He’s a physical player,’ etc., ad nauseam.

“Do these barons of banality expect to attend a hockey match where a chess game breaks out?

“We can’t bring back (John) Madden, but his ‘BAM! BANG!’ excited commentary could replace their pretentious use of 25-cent words with dimes and nickels that add up to treasure. ‘Smash mouth’ means so much more than, “Well, that was a very physical hit.'”

Well, Jim, with team effort and intestinal fortitude, we can get the ball rolling. Don’t think it’s possible? Let’s go ask Brandon why the word “synergy” isn’t in the bandwidth much anymore. BAM! BANG! You’re on mute.

Cartwright concludes, “And, not finally, though as far as your patience with grumpy readers may extend, can we all agree that ‘enough is enough’ is so dead as to stink as an expression of urgency or importance?”

That being said, according to the English Department at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the words and terms that need to be banished in 2022 are: wait, what?; no worries; at the end of the day (this phrase first made the list in 1999 but won’t go away); that being said; asking for a friend; circle back; deep dive; new normal; you’re on mute; and supply chain.

Kathy and Ross Petras, the brother-and-sister co-authors of “You’re Saying It Wrong” and “That Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means,” put together their own list of buzzwords and cliches for CNBC.

Their list includes “I did a thing” and “It is what it is.”

“Can’t she just say, ‘I made this’?” they groused about the former, and about the latter, “Thanks to COVID-19 especially, we’re all very aware that what is, is. So why does everyone have to keep smugly saying it?”

They’re also irritated by “Zooming” and a phrase born out of videoconference meetings, “Take it offline.”

“‘If one more person tells me they want to take it offline, I’ll scream.’ That’s what one irritated manager told us, and we hear her pain,” the Petras siblings noted. “It seems like everyone wants to take things offline instead of talking about it later, like they used to say in the old days.”

Then there’s “We remain cautious,” sometimes “used to say nothing — meaning, ‘We’re not going to say much because who knows?'” Truth.

Which overused words and phrases annoy you? Let’s touch base. To be clear, let’s impact our jargon.

And while we close the loop, I leave you with this quote from Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb: “It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.”

Tell Cole what words you wish to social distance at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or at burtonwcole.com.


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