Withering Glance: These words and phrases should be retired, actually

  • Article by: Rick Nelson and Claude Peck
  • Star Tribune
  • November 3, 2012 - 3:37 PM

CP: Ending every spoken sentence with the word "so" is increasingly popular. Can we just vote "no" on "so"?

RN: Done, as I find myself -- unconsciously, or at least that's my hope -- starting far too many utterances in that fashion. In terms of annoying syntax, has "so" has become the new "like"?

CP: I fear that each is flourishing. Another one I'd ban? "Around," as in "What are some of the issues around the candidate's view of the issues?" Oh, yeah, and "issues."

 RN: Let's not forget the universally overused "community." As in, "the hot community is outraged over the lack of rigorous standards in local Pilates studios," or, "the bald community is expressing concern over the correlation between the diminishing ozone layer and skin cancer."

CP: Yes. The word works fine as a sitcom title, and that's about it. I nominate "actually," along with "literally," as the world's most overused and superfluous adverb. I heard a British stock-market analyst on public radio today who actually uttered "in actual fact" and "actually" in the same sentence.

RN: Oh, dear. Then there's "word," when used as an affirmation. You know, one guy says to another, "The 'Skyfall' previews are off the hook," and the other responds with, "Word." By the way, let's also give "off the hook" the heave-ho.

CP: At the same time that I am tired of "random," I continue to like "sketchy." Which, if I'm not mistaken, can mean nearly the same thing. And I am careful to use "dude" only when addressing a gal pal.

RN: Please. No one over the age of 15 should have "dude" in their vocabulary.

CP: Getting kinda dictatorial, aren't you, bro?

RN: That's me. Let's also nix the expression "baby daddy," because rather than reflecting proud papa-hood it describes some loser who impregnated a woman but often fails to provide financial and/or emotional support. I'd say "man up," but that's another loathsome expression.

CP: "Wellness" sickens me. "Meme" seems lame.

RN: Using "dialogue" as a verb pretty much stops all conversation.


CP: There must be some words or phrases from foodie-ville that frost your flambé. (Sorry about the unnecessary alliteration.)

RN: Foodie, for starters. When I hear it, the first thought that pops into my brain is, "Pass the Pepto-Bismol."

CP: Didn't mean to upset you, much. Isn't there something we should decry, beyond the usual, ubiquitous "artisanal"?

RN: There aren't enough hours in the day to answer that question, even with the extra one we were handed this morning.

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