From time to time, we in the PRNewserverse like to dive into listicles on language.
From buzzwords that already suck or catchphrases spinning out of control and 2014 warnings about buzzwords and phrases to avoid in the new year, we’re here for you.
We hope those lists get shared by every agency out there but also understand that sometimes, the temptation to use the “low-hanging fruit” to “move the needle” is just too great.
Our inspiration for these PR resolution came phrases shared in the break room, words used during pitches, and declarations from strategy meetings, so prepare a tweet/plan a post/share a note via LinkedIn if you will.
1. Sorry Not Sorry: Are you sorry? Are you not sorry? Either way, you sound a little drunk on eggnog because of the instant contradiction. Moreover, you sound insincere — and that doesn’t always go over too well.
2. Irregardless: We don’t care what Seth MacFarlane says — this is not a word. It hasn’t even reached the popularity of inane text lingo, which should tell you something.
3. Nation: With respect to all Boston Red Sox fans who have the exception here, are there no other words in to convey “a large group of people with a single shared interest” than this? For example, while I’m a proud Texan in Dallas, even Cowboys fans don’t say “Cowboy Country.” Maybe it’s the alliteration…
4. Viral: Unless you are discussing a cold that your child caught in school, this word isn’t particularly productive. It may be everyone’s social media dream, but it must be earned, not bought or given. One does not create a viral post. One becomes a viral post.
5. Plus Up: I’m not the most vociferous fan of mathematics, but this should not be in PR. If you want to “improve upon,” “make better” or even “add to” (see what I did there), then please use those words to point us in the right direction and subtract this phrase immediately.
6. 2.0: 1990 called and wants its cutting-edge terminology term back. Back when “website refresh” didn’t mean “some dude updating WordPress,” version “two-point-oh” may have been a conversation piece…but for now let’s stick with what’s next.
7. The Struggle is Real: If you are related to Rosa Parks, then yes, it was very real. These days, that phrase has been reduced to some fuzzy-faced hipster discussing first-world problems like losing an iPhone charger. It’s a struggle to take someone seriously when they use this phrase to discuss protests and advocacy movements.
8. Ideate: Remember when people in PR advocated “brainstorming?” This fake verb recently showed up as an evil synonym. Can we go back to “Come up with something?”
9. That’s So Gay/Retarded: Not to be overly PC, but these require a sounding of the rhetorical alarm. You have no clue who is sitting next to you in the cube farm, what matters to them, or what’s shaking at home, so you might want to skip these brain farts at the next meeting.
10. To Die For: Your country? Definitely. Your family? Of course. Your client’s new tech toy? No way. The tuna salad sandwich from the deli downstairs? Only if it contains salmonella.
11. Foodie: Many food reporters have dismissed this one after a strong eye-roll and a hearty laugh by saying, “We are all foodies because we all like food.” It’s true, though: taking pictures of food makes you a photographer, not a chef.
12. Cray-Cray: Regardless of whether you spell this with a “y” or not, it needs to stop. Unlike New York, New York or Walla Walla, “cray” doesn’t sound any better when repeated.
13. De-layering. Dear CEO, do you realize that this phrase doesn’t take any of the sting away from a “people are getting fired” release or executive memo? Employees aren’t a cake that can be dumped, layer by layer, into the conference room trash can.
14. Like a Boss. We’re not sure anyone still uses this phrase, but we’ve yet to recall an instance in which the person saying it was actually a “boss” of anything.
15. I Just Can’t. …finish a coherent sentence? Deal with incomplete thoughts? Stop crushing on the account manager? This phrase just can’t be tolerated for another day. Thanks for understanding.
The comments are open: which entries didn’t make this list? We’re always down for making another…