June 18, 2019

M. J. Maddox, PhD
is the American English Doctor.
 
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2011 List of Banished Words

Lake Superior State University has announced its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

The 2011 list: viral, epic, fail (as a noun),wow factor, a-ha moment, back story, BFF, man up, refudiate, mama grizzlies, the American people, I’m just sayin’, Facebook/Google (as verbs), and live life to the fullest.

The 2010 list included tweet and friend (as a verb). Facebook and Google as verbs are in the same category. I find that these uses don’t bother me in their Internet context.

I think I’ve been tired of “I’m just sayin'” since the first time I heard it.

Most of the words and expressions on the 2011 list are merely tiresome. Refudiate is nonsense. A-ha moment belongs to Oprah. BFF is texting talk. “The American people” is political rhetoric that has been meaningless for centuries. The American people are just now noticing. The only word on the 2011 list that that stands out as a grammatical atrocity is the use of fail as a noun.

Fail is a verb. The noun that derives from it is failure. If one requires an adjectival form, then the past participle failed is standing ready to do the job:

If high unemployment continues, more companies may fail. (verb)
The company experienced another failure last year. (noun)
Commentators discussed three failed companies. (adjective)

Maeve on the misuse of the word “epic

Maeve on the use of “fullest

Lake Superior State University Annual List of Banished Words:
2011 List
Previous Lists

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