The top ten: New clichés that should be banned
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. 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
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant