Wednesday, 16 January 2013

'Going Forward' - And Other Expressions I'd Like to Sack!

We're half way through January already and I'm still thinking about things I want to see/do in 2013 - and also some things I'd like to see the back of.

As a writer, it was never going to be long before my attention turned to my pet peeves. In this case, words and expressions that make my skin prickle, my teeth clench and my spine arch.

One of the main ones from the past two or three years has been, 'Going forward'. Frequently used in place of 'from now on'. Well, what was wrong with, 'from now on' anyway? Perfectly decent expression. Said what you meant. No messing. 'From now on, I want to see an improvement'. There - you know what's required. Get on with it!

But, oh no, it's 'Going forward, I want to see an improvement.' For heaven's sake, it's not even grammatical!

Sack it!

Her 'bad'?
And while we're at it, what on earth is wrong with saying 'Sorry, it was my fault.'? But, oh no, we have 'my bad' instead. WHAT?  

"Sorry, my bad."

Your 'bad' what? Foot? Haircut? 

Sack it! 

Demi Moore?
 Then there's cougar. Now, to my mind, a cougar is a member of the cat family. It has four legs, is covered with fur, moves quickly  and is a very effective hunter. As far as I am aware, a cougar has never donned Jimmy Choos, toted a Gucci handbag or snogged Ashton Kutcher. Yet any woman who dares to take a boyfriend a few years younger than herself will, these days, inevitably find herself labelled, a 'cougar'. But what if a male takes a younger girlfriend? What does he become? No derogatory term for him. The very idea! So, why have one for women?  Let's leave 'cougar' for our feline friends. In all other cases, 

Sack it!

Keeping on this subject for a second, a young woman in a relationship with a man some years older than herself is never termed a 'toygirl'. So why, oh why, is the young man with an older girlfriend called a 'toyboy'?

Sack it!

The company's efficiencies seem to be going well!

In a previous blog, I mentioned 'efficiencies' as in 'We're making some efficiencies'- when the speaker actually means they're going to cut jobs so severely that  more and more work is piled onto fewer and fewer people, squeezing them until the pips squeak. Well, folks, almost a year on, I'm still hearing that anachronistic expression.

Sack it!

And why do we need to have a 'shopping experience'? When I 'go shopping', I do so somewhat reluctantly. The only way any store can improve my shopping 'experience' is to ensure all their tills are staffed and their shelves fully stocked. That way I can get in, grab my goods, pay for them and get out as fast as possible. Shopping 'experience' indeed! And don't mention 'retail therapy' either.
I'm a shopper, get me out of here!
Sack it!

Inappropriate use of terms such as 'celebrity',  'legendary' and 'iconic' annoy me. On the UK's recent series of X Factor, Rylan Clark entertained his audience for weeks until he was finally voted off. So popular was he that he achieved instant stardom and a place on the current series of Celebrity Big Brother where he has been variously described as a 'Reality TV legend' and 'Reality TV icon'. Now I happen to find Rylan great fun, entertaining to watch and I wish him all the best in his career. But I'm sure he would agree that to call him not only a celebrity but also an icon and a legend is taking things a bit far. Six months ago, we'd never even heard of him!
Rylan Clark - celebrity, icon, legend - or entertainer?

Well, I hope you enjoyed your 'journey' through my pet peeves. Over to you, what are yours? Have a look at this list from The New York Times. Recognise any of your favourites?


  1. Yes, 'my bad' is crap. Makes people sound stupid. I also hate how things are now 'solutions': providers of mass transportation solutions. It's a sodding bus company! And so on...

  2. "Awesome" makes me wince and often think less of the person saying it, especially if it finds its way into every other sentence or so.

    If I never hear "fiscal cliff" again, I'll be happy.

    "Carbon footprint" got old years ago.

    "Literally" is rarely used correctly by those who use it often.

    Those are the four I'd like to hear less of. You know, going forward. *evil grin*

  3. Steve and Keith I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, you're both literally awesome(sorry Keith)!

  4. Excellent list, and excellent additions.

  5. They're really awful, aren't they? Especially retail therapy. Something I really hate is someone during a meeting saying, "I'm hearing you". Of course they are, unless they're deaf!

  6. Hi Sue. I agree. Neuro Linguistic Programming practitioners would tell you that a person who says, 'I'm hearing you' is someone who responds more to audio stimulations in preference to the other senses, whereas someone who is more visually stimulated would tend to say, 'I see what you're getting at.' Just sayin'...(sorry, couldn't resist dropping that little horror in!)

  7. solutions, partner (as a verb), reach out, closure, experience, brand, parent (as a verb), pre-owned vehicle, gently used, animal companion

    1. I forgot two.
      (1) "Explain" when attributing a quote. "There's nothing wrong with the word 'said'," Stan explained. "Anything else is bad writing," Stan explained. "And a lot of times, 'explanations' are actually an expression of opinion, so the person isn't explaining anything," Stan explained. If we're going to describe people's quotes, then let's be consistent: "What are you doing?" she questioned. "I hate that movie," he opined. "I didn't do it," he denied.
      (2) "Shocked and saddened," and "thoughts and prayers" every time someone dies. Why does the media bother quoting official statements from politicians or whoever, when the statements always say the same thing? Just say, "Generic Tragedy Statement," or GTS for short.

    2. Stan - you are so right! Thanks for your contributions. We're clearly singing from the same songsheet (sorry!)