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Saturday, 17 March 2018

Words, words, words... But how many are necessary?

IAN D. RICHARDSON’S RANDOM HATE LIST OF CLICHÉS
AND  MISUSED WORDS AND PHRASES

Calm but tense (and tense but calm)

That’s nonsense. It can’t be both.

Tiny little village

Villages are, by definition, tiny and little.

Personal friend

Friends are, by definition, personal. But close friend is okay.

…given birth to a baby boy/girl

What else could they be but a baby?

At this moment in time

What’s wrong with “now”?

Head up

Head

Light up

Light

Meet up with

Meet

Buy up

Buy

Trained up

Trained

Up for sale

For sale

Rising up

Rising

In hours/weeks/months/years time (etc)

They are time, so the word “time” is tautological.

Consult with

Consult

He/she refuted the allegation

Refute means disprove by argument, not reject/dismiss.

Completely destroyed/wrecked/flooded

Destroyed/wrecked/flooded are self-standing. But partly is okay.

War/flood/fire/conflict situation

War/flood/fire/conflict.

Passed away/passed on/passed

Died

Collateral damage. Neutralise. Take out.

Military euphemisms aimed at hiding the brutal reality of war.

High-speed police chase

“Why high-speed? This is implied by it being a chase.

Rushed to hospital by ambulance

What’s wrong with “taken to hospital”?

Outside of

Outside

Razed to the ground [by fire]

Razed means levelled. A brick/stone building is unlikely to be razed.

Imply/infer

You imply in a statement; those listening to/reading it will infer.

Less/fewer

Less for quantities; fewer for numbers.

Amount of people/houses etc

Number of…

Try and…

Try to…

Assisting police with their enquiries

An unnecessary euphemism for “being questioned by police”.

Pre-planned

Why “pre-”? Planning is always in advance of an event.

Fierce fighting

Fighting usually is fierce.

Very unique

Unique.

I’ve got

I have.  Got is an ugly word that usually isn’t needed in a sentence.

Closed off

Closed is usually sufficient.

Finishing/finished off

Finishing/finished

Sent off

Sent

Must of

Must have

Bored of

Bored by

Centred around

Centred on.

Presently

It means soon, not currently. Or it used to.

Mitigate against

No. Don’t confuse mitigate with militate.

Comprised/comprising of

Comprised/comprising

Concensus of opinion

Consensus

Awesome

Lazy comment. Use only when someone/something is awesome.

Loved ones

Family and friends is neutral and likely to be more accurate.

[I feel] humble

Are you sure you don’t mean proud?

Hiding out

Hiding

Knelt down

Knelt


For more thoughts on the use of words, visit the Guardian style guide: 
http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/styleguide/ 
and the BBC guide: http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/journalism/news-style-guide   
and the Daily Telegraph style book: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/about-us/style-book/
Ian Richardson’s website and email address: http://www.preddonlee.com/   contact“at”preddonlee.com