Sure, we’re meant to make our own New Year’s resolutions, but wouldn’t you like to just make some for someone else? Or for a whole load of people?
We’re all influenced by what we hear, and we journalists are privileged to be heard by thousands (yes, even this column has a few readers). And that means we must choose our words more carefully than most.
So let me help. In the interests of being more like normal people, I’d like to resolve, on behalf of all journalists, that you won’t read these words any more in 2018.
Key (adj.) – keys are for locks. Not for unlocking the intentions of a lazy writer. “This term, X and Y are the key government priorities ...”. Lazy. If you mean important, or primary, or most urgent, say that. “Key” is fluff.
Spend (n.) – spend is a verb. It is not a statement of overall funding in a budget, e.g. “The total spend was $25 million ...”. Some business jargon joker made this up on the fly and he’s still laughing at you.
Impact (v.) – Let’s get this straight. Unless you specifically mean “forcibly exert pressure upon”, then the word you’re looking for is probably “affect” or “change”. You don’t “impact the scoreboard” or “impact the PM’s popularity” FFS.
Townhome (n.) – this is not a word. Don’t be silly. Just leave it alone. Real estate agents made it up so they could make townhouses a little more appealing and therefore more expensive. “Darling, it’s not a townhouse, it’s a townhome”… [barf]
Ironic (adj.) – as in, “Ironically, she played her last game on the same court where she started her career.” No, that’s not irony. That’s coincidence. We can’t be trusted with this word so it’s out.
Offering: (n.) – it’s fine at the temple, but not when used to describe a shop or its contents. As in, “Big store boosts its fresh offering”. The place for retail jargon is in advertising.
State-of-the-art (phr.) – Don’t tell me a facility is “state-of-the-art”. It means modern. Which means new. Let’s just assume that if it’s built new, then it’s new, OK? Or do some developers make deliberately old buildings? Actually, don’t answer that.
So, that should take care of those seven. May you have a jargon and buzzword-free 2018!