Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm.

SplatF’s List Of Banned Words

Clarity is important to me. (Well, it’s no. 7 on my list of 10 steps to better writing.) I don’t expect everyone to understand everything on this site — some level of business and technical fluency is probably necessary — but I consciously try to avoid jargon, clichés, and business-speak.

Anyway, this “Bizspeak Blacklist” by Bryan A. Garner at Harvard Business Review is pretty great. I already avoid almost all of these terms, such as “core competency” and “impactful” and “at the end of the day”. (Although I have a personal fondness for “paradigm shift” after reading Thomas S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions twice in 2000, during a weird part of my life.)

But I’d like to add a few more:

  • “bullish” and “bearish” (Tired, obscure.)
  • “latest and greatest”
  • “value proposition”
  • “lifestyle business” (Easy way to sound like a jerk.)
  • “it is what it is”
  • “tipping point”
  • “hockey stick” (Referring to growth.)
  • “killer app”
  • “remains to be seen” (Though I probably say “We’ll see” and “Who knows” too much.)
  • “fanboy”

I won’t pretend I’m perfect, but please yell at me if I write any of these. And I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list over time.

Update: Here’s another list from the Washington Post, via Jim Romenesko, via Paul Oswald.

Related: 10 Steps To Better Writing