"Words that are horrible to one writer may not be horrible to another," says editor John Grimond in The Economist Style Guide (Profile Books, 2010), "but if you are a writer for whom no words are horrible, you would do well to take up some other activity."
Fifteen years ago, in his quirky guide to modern usage, British novelist Kingsley Amis offered this list of "popular horrors":
feedback. Has a precise use in mechanics and electronics but is pissily and pretentiously used by psychologists and others to mean nothing more than "comment" or "response."
in-depth. No committee these days would dream of "funding" a survey or analysis that was not said to be an in-depth survey etc. A mere deep one draws few dollars.
in terms of. A great anytime thought-saver. . . . [N]obody who uses it in ordinary conversation without some sort of jeer or sneer is to be trusted.
ongoing (situation). As above. Anything wrong with present or current?
or whatever. Try to avoid this in speech. Never write it.
-type. This, as in guerrilla-type war, is a lazy time-saver, but is not actually criminal unless situation follows it, as in Vietnam-type situation.
(Kingsley Amis, The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage. HarperCollins, 1997)
As Grimond says, "No words or phrases should be banned outright from appearing in print," but we ought to recognize that certain flyblown expressions "may have an emetic effect" on some of our readers.
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