Most Hated Words of 2012

Is there such a thing as hated words? After all, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me’. They are just words, so why the hate?

Overuse and Abuse

After reading articles by freelance writers that include words like “fiscal cliff,” “superfood,” and “revolutionary” for the umpteenth time, we start to get a little red around the collar. Overuse and abuse ring rampant with these words. For example, just what exactly constitutes a superfood? Does it make you leap over tall buildings in a single bound? As a side note, if you do know of a food that provides superhuman qualities, leave a comment below. I’d love to eat some!

Time to Get Your Hate On

If you are tired of hearing the same words pop up everywhere, from the bathroom stall to corporate cook-outs, you aren’t alone.

Thankfully, we have the 38th Annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness, a not-entirely official listing by Lake Superior State University in Michigan. Here are some highlights from the list.

  • If you are searching for a “guru,” whether it be for grammar or goodwill, give the word “guru” a rest.
  • In terms of social media, “spoiler alert” and “trending” no longer illicit feelings of being on the brink of something special. Rather these words create blasé feelings of boredom. Keep these words away from your web content if you want to get a positive reaction.
  • Have you created your “bucket list” yet? Well I certainly hope so, because the bucket list has become a slop bucket ready to be filled with everything from “eat at McDonald’s for the 10th  time this week” to “find time to paint my toenails today.” As it turns out, lofty goals, such as “climb Mount Kilimanjaro” are not as feasible as we had hoped, and so we’ve turned to self-fulfillment by simple means.
  • If you are curious to how “boneless wings” are even possible, now the wonder is over–just as readers are over reading about these animal anomalies.
  • Whether your writing is filled with “passion” or not, you should let the readers decide without a “passionate” prompting. After all, passion, once delegated to the bedroom, has taken over everything from food trucks to football.
  • When is the last time you felt like a groovy “revolutionary”? Not since the Beatles’ Revolution hit the charts have we felt the urge to call everything from ladies’ bras to the legalization of marijuana “revolutionary.”

So as we complete this list of hated verbiage, should you “kick the can down the road” and leave these words in the dust? As freelance writers, you want to keep your copy fresh and lively. However, the obvious overuse of these words begs a writer to wonder if they are so bad as they appear to be. Perhaps it is the dilemma of the banned books lists at libraries that only accelerates the interest in the material. Your call.

Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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