English is an amazing language. We’ve managed to pirate words from virtually every language, most notably the Romance Languages and German. We have more words than any other language, bar none. However, for some reason, nearly words are added to the English dictionary each year. Here are nine words (most of which were created in the 20th Century) that I, and the rest of the world for that matter, could live without.
It means efficiency. Period. Punto. It’s used to describe efficiency of more than one type of resource (people, business, etc.), when efficiency would work just fine. I wish I had a business-buzzword ray gun that could remove this word from the collective vocabulary.
Alternatives: efficiency, coaction, symbiosis
This word is made up. Pretty please don’t use it. Microsoft Word doesn’t even recognize it. However, it will undoubtedly be added to the now digital-only Oxford English Dictionary. The long and the short of it is “tricking people into certain behaviors.” Not cool. Ian Bogost actually wrote an entire article specifically on this word.
Alternatives: exploit, beguile, deceive
Utilize = Use. There’s no reason to use a five-syllable word over a one-syllable one when they mean exactly the same thing. There are two exceptions. First, if you’re talking in OM terms, “capacity utilization” is acceptable. Second, utilize/utilization occasionally matches the language or syntax of the sentence, but it should only be used if the sentence sounds ornate already.
Alternatives: use, employ, exercise
Just say quote. Quotation is like utilize. The same rules apply.
Alternatives: quote, excerpt, saying
As with gamify, this insidious word has slowly but surely weaseled its way into business vernacular. Why create a new word for the same thing? I understand “create incentives” has an extra syllable, but there are shorter alternatives.
Alternatives: create incentives, motivate, mobilize
This word is made up. Completely. More so even than incentivize. I’ve heard English has more words than any other language, and it’s probably because we steal them and make them up as we go. MSN did a year-long retrospective of made up words called Crimes Against English.
Alternatives: blogging community, blogging space, blog culture
Okay, so saying something “went viral,” is perfectly normal and natural. I’ll admit it. This word is just tossed around way too much…
Alternatives: shareable, popular, well-received
Yet another marketing buzzword. I wish I could steamroll this word. As an adjective, it’s more than acceptable (streamlined). As a verb, it makes me want to play in traffic. Please never “streamline a process.” Make it more efficient, trim the fat, or do whatever you need to do. Just please don’t streamline it.
Alternatives: increase efficiency, organize, simplify
Why why why?! “As a result or consequence of this.” I’ve written thousands of words thus far, and it’s not so much that I could live without this one, it’s that folks use it wrong. It’s like “so.” Don’t start a sentence with it, even if there’s a fire.
Alternatives: therefore, so, as such
Thanks fo’ reading. Been meaning to finish this silly rant for a while now…