Is everyone but us aware that the NYT.com has a grammar and spelling advice column!? How have we missed this (when we are so clearly and often in need of advice on this front!)?
After Deadline is “adapted from a weekly newsroom critique overseen by Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of the Times’s style manual. The goal is not to chastise, but to point out recurring problems and suggest solutions.” So a little bit like if Strunk&White had been re-written by Dear Abby (but only just a little bit). In today’s installment Corbett discusses “words we love too much.” Behold (actually, that could be one of our words):
Icon/Iconic: Times editors have waged a long battle of attrition against the trite overuse of these terms. We’re losing.
Hardscrabble: This description is overdone, along with its cousin “gritty.”
Schadenfreude: I lamented its explosion of popularity in a previous post. Foreign terms wear out quickly because they draw extra attention to each use.
Arguably: A sneaky way to say something without having to take full responsibility for it.
Famously: If it’s so famous, do we have to say so?
Jump-start: Colloquial. Often “start,” “restart” or “revive” would serve.
[Blank]gate: Troopergate was the latest. Yes, it’s overdone.
Preternaturally: It is surprising how often this appears.
Toxic: As in “toxic assets.” This has indeed become ubiquitous, but I’m not sure that’s our fault; it really has become the standard term to describe the troubled investments at the heart of the fiscal crisis.