Less is more in 2018
January 10, 2018
When New Year comes round, we usually start thinking about what we’d like more of – more interesting stuff to do at work, more money, more luck in my love life, more holiday time…we all have dreams like this at the start of a year.
Perversely, I’d like to dream about what I’d like to see less of in 2018.
I’d like to see less of the unthinking clichés that increasingly pepper our speech. Here’s some words and phrases we could cheerfully use much less often than we do –
Pass is fine in some contexts – it’s what you do in football, or what you do with the salt when the person next to you asks for it. Carry on using it in the way it’s supposed to be used. But ‘pass’ doesn’t mean ‘die’. The word for ‘die’ is just that, ‘die’. It’s a tough word, but death is a tough fate. Saying someone has ‘passed’ doesn’t make them any less dead. So when someone has died, let’s be honest and say so.
Another perfectly good word, in the right context – but iconic has become so over-used it’s now almost meaningless. Virtually everything we see is described as iconic. Let’s use it less often, and it might win back some of its power.
Today, everything has a ‘narrative’. But they don’t. A novel has a narrative, but a politician or a businessman does not. They might, on a good day, have a sales pitch: so let’s call it what it is, and not pretend it’s something grander.
This has become a lazy word to describe anything we don’t like without making the effort of defining clearly what that is. If language is insulting, then say so. If behaviour is abusive or sexually offensive, then say so. But more often than not, ‘inappropriate’ is not the appropriate word to use.
A good word for art galleries, where it has meaning, and a bad word for anywhere else, where it does not.
This has become the all-purpose term for anyone facing something really tough, who wants to make it seem less threatening than it really is. Unsurprising then that it’s particularly popular with politicians.
Lessons must be learnt
Another favourite with politicians, when the disaster has already happened and it’s too late to do anything about it.
Win Win Scenario
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where whatever course of action you followed would result in triumph?
No, me neither.
So let’s say Hi to 2018, and farewell to these clichés.