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Worn-Out Words and Phrases: Resolving to Keep Writing Fresh in 2018

A new year once again draws near. For us grammarians and careful writers, the last 12 months have been another insightful and adventurous journey through the rules, styles, and techniques that help form concise and expressive American English.

Because each new year represents fresh resolve and beginnings, we thought we’d wrap up 2017 with new entries to our growing list of tired language we started this summer—Worn-Out Words and Phrases and Worn-Out Words and Phrases (Follow-up).

As loyalists to the written word, we aim to communicate with precision and originality. We also look to uphold the integrity of proper English usage. Language, like culture, passes through trends that invite new elements to shake up the norm. Some elements have the substance to last. Others become feeble and faded with use and warrant policing from those who can help put a stop to their loitering. Together, we can keep written English more vivid by weeding the stragglers out.

We welcome and appreciate feedback in helping to reinforce style and usage. The following entries into our worn-out words and phrases came from responses we received from our readers during the last few months.

Original Problem Beyond Overuse Alternatives in Careful Writing
on a daily/weekly basis (prep. phrase) wordy daily, weekly
going/moving forward
(adv. phrase)
inaccurate idiom meaning in continuance in the future, from here, from now on
most importantly
(adv. phrase)
incorrect usage as adverb most important (adj), above all
I feel like (verb clause) subjective insertion before a statement
(e.g., I feel like the book is too long)
(strike as unnecessary)
bad optics
(noun phrase)
“buzz” phrase pertaining to the public’s view of something through the media bad perception, bad impression
ubiquitous (adj) big-word-itis (a clinical condition) all over, all around, everywhere
proactive (adj) often redundant modification of an action in progress (e.g. proactively seeking) (strike as unnecessary)
just (adv) intrusive insertion of thought
(e.g., Why don’t we just go tomorrow?)
(strike as unnecessary)
right? (interrogative) highly catch-phrase in nature (meaning: Isn’t that true/correct? Isn’t that so?) (strike as unnecessary)

As always, we acknowledge some of these may remain common in speech, where they often reinforce comfort and a connection to what’s current. They also maintain a conversation’s natural flow, which doesn’t always provide the pauses for reflection and selection that writing affords.

On that note, let’s resolve to continue polishing English to a shine in 2018. By wiping away words and phrases that dull what should be vibrant writing, we can make the language an even brighter way to persuade, inform, and inspire.

Because of the e-newsletter’s large readership, please submit your comments or questions regarding today's (or any past) article through GrammarBook.com’s Grammar Blog

Happy Holidays!

All of us at GrammarBook.com wish all of you and your families a happy holiday season. We will take a two-week break before resuming our weekly newsletters on January 10, 2018. We sincerely hope you have learned, benefited, and enjoyed our grammar tips this year. As always, we certainly enjoyed bringing them to you.

Updated Newsletter Design—Same Great Features with a New Look!

We are excited to announce that we have redesigned our e-newsletter for 2018. This will be the first change to our weekly newsletter in many years. This revision will be more compatible with handheld devices and an improvement for our desktop users as well.

The new look will debut with our first newsletter of the new year—on January 10, 2018.

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And that wraps up our late 2017 reviews of the proper usage of who, whom, whoever, and whomever!

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