We all have those words which make our skin crawl. ‘Moist’ does it for some, ‘giblets’ for others, and don’t even think about putting them together.

Funnily enough I can deal with moist giblets (sorry), but not some of the ordinary words which slip into everyday conversation.

So I created a place for all the icky words which make me cringe, Word 101. Word 101 is a collection of words which confuse people, obscure your points, or sound downright daft. So please stop using them.

Resonate

In the business world, it’s no longer acceptable to just like something. But that’s OK, because pretentious people with over-inflated egos have another word for it: resonate.

Yep, their morning coffee resonates with them. They resonate with your work. When they get on well with someone, they resonate with that person, or worse still, they resonate together.

Resonate used to be a powerful metaphor for when something moved you or made you think. Then people started using it to describe mundane things, robbing the word of its power.

So To Kill a Mockingbird might resonate with you, but your coffee doesn’t, and spreadsheets most certainly don’t. If you mean like, please please please just say it.

Single use

I’m sorry David Attenborough, I’m sorry Collins Dictionary. But we’ve got a perfectly good word to describe something you throw away: disposable.

I’m not saying that plastic pollution isn’t a problem. Blue Planet II made me cry. But single use frames plastic as responsible for all the world’s ills. It overlooks all the other not so great things us humans do to the planet.

And let’s not forget that using things once is a choice. Plastic bottles, plastic takeaway boxes, plastic bags…these items aren’t inherently single use. Nobody’s gonna hunt you down for putting your packed lunch in something which once contained a chicken Chow Mein.

Utilise

And the award for the most pointless word in the English language goes to… Utilise!

We have a shorter, simpler word which means the exact same thing – use. And I can’t think of a single context in which utilise works and use doesn’t.

Utilise only serves one purpose – to make the person using it sound (and feel) more important than others. So if being pompous is your thing, use utilise. If you’re a human trying to communicate with other humans, stick to use.

Decision (as a verb)

I know what you’re thinking – surely decision has never been a verb?

I thought so too, until someone slipped it into conversation in a meeting like it was the most normal thing ever.

‘We decisioned to push this project back while we fix the problem’

Nothing he said after that went in. I was so distracted by trying to work out why he didn’t say decide that I probably should have left the room.

But then I looked up decision, and to my surprise some dictionaries accept it as a verb. So if you want to bamboozle your audience, go ahead and use it! I’ll stick to decide for now.

Reach out

Contact me, call me, email me, get in touch with me, but whatever you do don’t reach out to me.

‘I’m reaching out because…’, is usually followed by jargon-riddled tripe intended to sell me stationary or some other crap I don’t want. People use reach out to sound as businessy as possible, overlooking the fact that they’re actually speaking to a human.

So unless you have arms which bend the laws of time and space to give me a hug, you’re not reaching out. You’re contacting me. Why not just say that?

Tell me your least favourite words

These 5 words made the list because if we all stopped using them tomorrow, we’d get by just fine. But this is just one person’s opinion. Writers – what words would you love to see the back of?

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