Sunday, November 28, 2010

They Banned "Bromance"

Well, they "banished" the word, not the special relationship. Lake Superior State University annually releases a list of words that they are sick of. The 2010 list contains words that they consider to be especially overused, misused, or useless.
  1. shovel-ready
  2. transparent/transparency
  3. czar
  4. tweet
  5. app
  6. sexting
  7. friend as a verb ("friending," "unfriending," etc.)
  8. teachable moment
  9. in these economic times...
  10. stimulus
  11. toxic assets
  12. too big to fail
  13. bromance
  14. chillaxin'
  15. Obama-prefix or roots (i.e., Obamanomics)
I found this rather random bit while looking up stuff on cliches, which I find very problematic while copyediting. The magazine I work for does a lot of travel-type pieces and I often find myself striking out the ol' "it wasn't the destination that counted, it was the journey" sentiment.

Cliches are rather interesting though. I think they say something about the mass appeal, durability, and utility that a certain phrase or word has. And there's a fair chance that if you saw a stranger's list of cliches, you would be surprised by some of it. Nonetheless, cliches don't belong in polished writing. But recognizing them is tricky. The magazine's editor might be bugged by something that seems innocuous enough to me and vice-versa. If the both of us agree that the phrasing is tired, then we will probably strike it from the copy. If, following a discussion, only one of us is bothered by it, the phrasing is left intact.


Pat said...

Thanks for this, Shayna. Reminds me of the "took to the hills" phrase we were dealing with in the Scott Nearing paragraph.

Tisha said...

I'm glad you wrote about cliches, Shayna, because I find them problematic, too. I am always interested to read everyone's favorites, so I enjoyed John E McIntyre's seasonal list at The Baltimore Sun.

Shayna Yatsushiro said...

Hah! I liked that holiday list! Sometimes it's difficult for me to consciously recognize that something is cliche until I've seen them listed and pointed out in such a fashion. My "favorite" cliches tend to be in regard to book reviews, which use "tour de force" ad nauseum :)