New logos-non-gratas [sic] of the day

Posted 5 Jul 2002 at 23:47 UTC by ncm Share This

Even in light of "1984", we would be better served by reducing our bloated vocabularies than by augmenting them. Each person introducing a new bit of jargon is obliged to condemn two existing terms that can be demonstrated to make us less intelligent with each use.

I am not proposing a new term, but I will nominate some candidates for the memory hole, to prime the pump.

Let us begin with "currently". In every context of its use I have encountered this year, simply leaving it out would have improved the sentence.

Now consider, "going forward". Again, leaving it out appears to improve almost any conceivable sentence. Judging from its typical use in management memos (e.g. as posted on, its true meaning is "the following statement is false: ...". This expression serves a useful function, once decoded, but the reader would be better served by omitting the entire sentence.

I hereby extend permission to pour the entire remaining contents of any accessible beverage container into the lap of anyone who heard to use any form of the word "blog" in conversation.

Be warned that using the expression "heightened security" is now grounds for having an e-mail sent to, apparently from you, and threatening detailed bodily harm to its (putative) President.

We welcome additional nominations.

Good old 1984., posted 6 Jul 2002 at 03:28 UTC by timcw » (Apprentice)

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." -- Mark Twain


Strunk (and White) : , posted 7 Jul 2002 at 05:17 UTC by i0lanthe » (Journeyer)

"Omit needless words."

Ralston Saul on social division by vocabulary, posted 7 Jul 2002 at 23:30 UTC by taj » (Master)

During a lecture in Melbourne, John Ralston Saul (author of such neo-humanist books as Voltaire's Bastards) raised an interesting point about vocabulary. He claimed that a sure sign of a decaying civilization is the coining of arcane and generally useless terms by various professions or special interest groups. As soon as this begins to happen, other groups begin to lose grasp of the ideas and thinking of these groups, causing rifts in society. He said he noticed this in many past civilizations that he has studied.

Even if this is true, perhaps the effect of this in our civilization can be mitigated by the free access of this kind of information on the internet. Still, it bears thinking about when we decide to invent words for no other purpose than to differentiate ourselves from others, or just to be cool.

Three words to eliminate from IT, posted 12 Jul 2002 at 13:46 UTC by tapir » (Journeyer)

"enterprise" -- Isn't everything an enterprise?

"solution" -- I think this was coined to describe things that aren't exactly a product or a service but some combination, but now it doesn't mean anything at all. In my hometown a garage renamed itself "Automotive Enterprise Solutions" during the 90's boom.

"robust" -- This isn't a bad word, but it's commonly misused. If you look up the dictionary definition, it means something like "strong", "reliable". In IT, however, people really want to say "featureful" but that isn't a word so they misuse "robust" instead. Apache is more robust than IIS because it doesn't crash -- not because it has more bells and whistles.

Civilization, posted 26 Jul 2002 at 01:54 UTC by tk » (Observer)

After exploring the rest of the drivel-land known as the Wild Wild Web while Advogato was down, I'd like to throw this word into the pile: civilization. Even the form of the word itself encourages fuzzy thinking.

Someone says: "We're a civilized society."

Intended meaning: "We're an enlightened society."

Actual meaning: "We're a society which boasts lots of weapons of mass destruction and lots of silly laws and customs, so it doesn't matter even if our minds are roughly the same as that of the Stone Age Man."

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