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Dean Fuhrman

The phrase and variations thereof ... "I'm sorry to bother you and I know you are busy, but could you do such and such?" Why the preface when it basically a command to do such and such anyway. Just ask.

This advice is good -

When anyone uses "but" in a sentence, throw away everything to the left of the "but." 'I know you're busy, but..." Chris Brogan

Steve Roesler


Ok, we'll have to add this one to the mix next go around.

I saw how Chris had phrased the impact of the use of "but" and he's dead on. Thanks for the reminder.


My pet peeve is "I feel . . . " I wish I could be like the Supreme Court judge who said to the advocate "Don't. Submit."

Steve Roesler


I'm trying to understand the peeve. Is it simply the phrase, "I feel...?


I dislike the use of the word "around" instead of "related to" or "associated with." I blogged about it here:



My current least favorite is "ping"...as in "I'll ping John and see what he says". I refuse to use it.

Ellen Weber

Great post Steve! I particularly dislike meta-messages that mean the opposite of what one says:-)

"Sorry, but..." when one is not sorry at all. "That's OK..." when it's not. "It's only because I care that I tell you ..." when you don't really care or would not tell it. "No hurt feelings, but ..." when you feel like a Mack truck just rammed into your brain. "I don't mean to be negative but ..."

Thanks for the reminder to choose words carefully today, Steve! Have a good one!!

Steve Roesler


Duly noted and a candidate for the next official list.

Thanks for taking time to stop by.

Steve Roesler


I got a laugh out of that one. If you hear it once, spontaneously, it sounds like a clever play on words. Over time, it's like a little kid repeating a joke.

Where can we ping him with the bad news?

Steve Roesler


All winners and very similar in their approach.

Perhaps we should do a joint post on "Dishonesty by Preface."

Thank you...they're on the list.


My pet peeve is "reach out to" instead of "contact," as in "Reach out to me if you have questions." Eaaugh, too touchy-feely to me!

Steve Roesler


Consider it on the list. I will not reach out to you when it is posted. Promise.


Thanks, Steve!

Just thought of another one...my boss uses this all the time and it drives me nuts! Using "voice" as a verb to replace "talk", as in "Do you have few minutes to voice about this?"


Mark Harrison

1: utilise (utilize in the USA?)

It means "use" dammit, which is clearer, easier to say, easier to understand, and represents a 62% saving in the number of letters needed.

2: viral (to talk about FUTURE marketing)

Nope. It's something that basically means "we don't know what we're doing, and we hope that the cool kids will copy us." Seriously, have you ever seen a PLANNED viral marketing campaign that actually got people BUYING the product (as opposed to got marketeers talking about the campaign?) Phil Collins dressed as a Gorilla may have hit YouTube, but I _THINK_ it was an advert for a chocolate brand, but I really don't know.

3: Disinterested (to mean uninterested)

The words are different. Disinterested means that you are impartial. Uninterested means that you're bored. I DON'T want an uninterested judge, thank you, neither in court, nor on the review panel for my funding proposal... but I really hope that they don't have a vested interest in my competitor getting the gig.


"I feel . . " when what is needed is information, thought, a structured approach. What "we" feel is often not relevant , , as when a lawyer is making an argument in the Supreme Court, or a Professor speaking to the his or her assessment of a student dissertation.

Steve Roesler


I'm selfishly pleased that you reminded us of "utilize" which is, by the way, my personal major nemesis. When I hear someone say "utilize" instead of "use," I cringe. The substitution of such words actually diminishes the power of the sentence (in my world) and--call me uppity--diminishes my opinion of the speaker.

It is fascinating to watch how people can lead their listeners from the land of Disinterest into the Valley of Uninterest, eh?

Jackie Cameron

This whole discussion is taking on a life of its own! Great fun - thanks for keeping it going Steve!!


I vote to ban the use of the word "talent" to describe people. It just doesn't seem right.


Everything is "amazing" these days. It will never change, but nor will it cease annoying me that people have to blindly follow such trends. Another is the tendency for all women under 40 to croak the last word over every sentence they speak.

Steve Roesler


I'm enjoying this as well; and I hope readers are seeing that there are a lot of commonly-used buzzwords that have not only outlived their original usefulness but can also initiate a negative response.

Yours Aye!

Steve Roesler

Your Jetness:

Don't you just wish that life would present as many *amazing* and *awesome* experiences that others seem to be having, regardless of the actual normality of the situation?

As for the "women under 40" observation: Are you referring to the tendency for the pitch to rise and end in what sounds like a question, or some other phenomenon that I may be missing?


As a perfect example, listen to the video on https://www.worldblu.com/orgdemo/whatis.php, which is Traci Fenton describing organizational democracy. I only got to listen to the first minute or so, and I really like what she has to say. However, if you listen carefully, the end of every sentence ends in a croak. It's just the common way younger women speak these days. It's so common most people don't notice it.

I plan on reading and listening more about WorldBlu.


Thanks for the link to the video. Now I see what you mean by croaking over words. Unfortunately I had not noticed this before and will most likely driven crazy by it as I notice it going forward!

Utilize is my #1 peeve, so I'm glad it has been discussed. A phrase that makes me cringe is "as per" as in "As per your email, lets meet this afternoon."

I also dislike when someone with a large vocabulary uses words that they know are not commonly known or used. It is ineffective to use language that you know your audience won't understand.

Kent Blumberg

Jumping off from Mark's starting point, I have trouble with many of the words ending in "ize." "Strategize," for example. Much better to talk about formulating strategy. Often it seems to me we use "ize" to cover lazy thinking. And as Mark notes, "ize" often confuses the message.

Steve Roesler


It's been a while since "as per" reared its ugly head. Have you heard it said aloud as well as seen it in writing?!

Steve Roesler


Perhaps the act of turning perfectly good nouns into intransitive verbs is something we should penalize.

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