Words We Despise from 2015--Iowans and the Word Maven Weigh In

Jan 4, 2016

Lake Superior State University in Michigan has been issuing its "Banished Words List" since 1975.  The wordsmiths there now have over 800 entries on their list of overused, tired and shopworn words and phrases. 

Each year, after the list is released, we ask our own "Word Maven," Patricia O'Conner, to add some of her own personal "favorites" to the Lake Superior list.   Listeners to Talk of Iowa chime in with many suggestions of their own.   IPR listeners were chomping at the bit to contribute during the show.   Here's just a few examples that were sent in by e-mail: "I'm just saying,'" the continuing overuse of "dude," using "roadway" for road, "sort of," misuse of "literally," "that being said," "unique" (it only means one of a kind), "skill set," "going forward," "impactful," "calculus" (used anywhere other than a mathematical context), and "I know, right."  There were MANY more suggestions.

Patricia O'Conner  grew up in Iowa and blogs at "Grammarphobia."  She is the author of several popular language books including "Woe is I," "Origins of the Specious," and "Words Fail Me."