Banned List update: baby steps to raise awareness and drive early adoption of these prohibitions

Our political columnist continues his campaign to try to be helpful to writers and speakers of the English language

John Rentoul
Saturday 01 November 2014 15:09

I have fallen behind in my public service duties, namely banning words and phrases that have become irritatingly over-familiar.

As it turns out that Gary Lineker doesn't like 10-part lists, and because I have some catching up to do, I shall offer a list of 20 items that are henceforth banned, cast into the outer darkness and forbidden.

The first 10 are from Carole Dent, a correspondent of mine from Australia. These are mostly business jargon that she has found creeping into general usage:

1. Buy in.

2. Scalable.

3. Drive early adoption.

4. Eat our own dog food. Meaning to use your own products to show how good they are. Although I confess that I quite like this one. David Cameron eats his own dog food by sending his children to state schools.

5. Can we sync up? Also a QTWTAIN (Question To Which The Answer Is No).

6. Don’t want to boil the ocean. Meaning it would take too long. This is already on the Banned List, but it bears repeating.

7. Circle back.

8. Looping in for visibility.

9. Core competency.

10. WRT (with regards to).

The next 10 are from several (not multiple) correspondents:

11. Here’s the kicker. Thanks to Ian Leslie.

12. Scientifically proven. Ian Leslie, after Carlo Rovelli.

13. Raise awareness. Tyron Wilson.

14. Hang together or hang separately. John the Lutheran. Especially common currently in articles about the Conservative Party.

15. Upscale. Lisa Markwell.

16. Baby steps. John McFadian.

17. “My build on that is…” David Mills said that one panellist at a party conference event, 2 October, followed another with this.

18. To own. To dominate or win an argument. Just horrible. Graham Sutton.

19. Teenage use of “so”, as in “I so own that.” Aighne ‏Kearney. (“So” is already banned at the start of sentences. As is “And so”, and “And so it begins”.)

20. I will revert to you. Copylab.

The Banned List is published in book form, with updates on the Independent Blog and, more recently, here on Independent Voices.

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