3 Words I’m Eliminating From my Vocabulary

by Dave on January 25, 2011

in Whinging

This isn’t simply another ill-conceived New Year’s resolution… because I’ve been trying to stop using these 3 particular English words for at least a couple of years now. So you know I must be very passionate about this verbal endeavour.

  1. Passionate:  Ask yourself – how many times have you heard someone use this word in the last 7 days? My point is, it’s become a very popular “go to” in the last 5 years or so. So popular in fact that it’s completely lost its power. In ancient times (late 1990’s) “Passionate” was a remarkable and seldom-used term reserved for the most special of situations. T’was a haymaker. Today, however, it sloppily proliferates every single resumé, “About Us” webpage and stupid reality television show you can name. In the course of a week I literally think I hear or read it a couple dozen times. I used to love it… but I have to kill it. “Why should you hire me to clean your yard once a week? Well, (chuckle), that’s simple. Because I’m passionate about separating dog shit from mulch.” 
  2. Really?: Note the question mark. And it’s usually preceded by “Pffft…” There’s nothing wrong with “really” nine out of ten times in normal conversation. I’m taking issue with it in a  specific context – namely, that context after which someone has said, proposed or done something you don’t approve of… and you have no better material or recourse than to simply utter “really?” in the most patronizing of fashions. It’s the crutch of the unimaginative. And recently it’s absolutely saturated popular culture. ”Let me get this straight. You want me to either give you a blood sample or exhale into a breathalyser. Really?”

    I’m talking to you, Seth & Amy.

  3. Interesting: See “Really?”

If every other sentence of your marketing material contains the word “passionate”, then I’m sorry if this post is troublesome or even pause for thought. These are my personal observations. However, if your greatest contribution to a smoky party discussion about healthcare is “interesting…” – be warned as I may strike you from somewhere within the dark. Levitate our lexicon, people. Or something.

{ 2 trackbacks }

3 Words I'm Eliminating From my Vocabulary
January 26, 2011 at 2:17 am
Passion in Business is often overplayed and has a downside
December 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Pye January 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Thanks to Brian F. for the following addition: “…at the end of the day…” – a staggering omission on my part. And we’re not even in England.

Kate January 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm

a) bottom line
b) something different
c) fail

Dave Pye February 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Apparently, I’m nowhere near the only person bemoaning the overuse of “passionate”: http://bit.ly/eHKuvE

Dag Nybo December 27, 2011 at 11:50 pm


Add my blog article to the list…. http://www.bizcoachaustin.com/2011/12/27/downside-of-passion/ where I sited your article. I’ve been carrying this minor annoyance for the word passion around with me for a few years, but haven’t done anything about it. This week, it all came to a head 🙂

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