The top ten: New clichés that should be banned
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 20 October 2013
It is a while since I published 'The Banned List', my book about verbiage to be avoided, yet new horrors are invented or brought to my attention every week by public-spirited people who are here to help you. Here are 10 of the worst recent examples…
1. Built environment Thanks to my friend Magda Sachs for numbers one to five.
2. Zeroise Nominated by Citizen Sane.
3. Vision and visioning As in, "What is your vision for this piece of work?" and "We are visioning the piece of work."
5. Talking in the present tense about past events As in, "Richard the Third then moves his army to the north…"
6. Wrap-around To describe anything other than packaging. From Dan Fox.
7. Innocent children As opposed to complicit children, about whom we are indifferent.
8. Sneak preview It's invariably just a preview. Thanks to Mike Higgins. Worse is "sneak peek". And worst of all is "sneak peak".
9. Piece of work As in, "I am doing a piece of work around troubled families." ("Around", used in this way, has already been banned.)
10. Stand idly by
Next week: Phrases that ought to be off the menu
Coming soon: Most beautiful British railway journeys (thanks to Andrew Adonis enthusing about the North Cotswold line). Send your suggestions (by Tuesday 29 October), and ideas for any future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
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