Dueling Blogs

“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!” ─ Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady

I’m not really sick of words. I’m a writer. I love words, but there are certain phrases that curl my toenails.

Pat Zietlow Miller beat me to the word punch in her Read, Write, Repeat blog that appeared Sunday, January 17. In it, she wrote her personal list of words that should be banished. I, too, have my own list of phrases that I think should be cast into the Sea of Oblivion.

My mother majored in English. When we were growing up, if we used an incorrect verb tense, a language lashing was in order. Answering the phone was not a simple task. If the caller was calling for you, and you answered, “It’s me,” ─ look out! It was drilled into our heads the correct way to answer the caller is, “It is I” or “This is she.” Proper usage of the English language was a number one priority in our house. As babies, my siblings and I cried in the correct tense!  

Okay Pat, here is my personal list of phrases that I think should be banished:   

  • Change up ─ When you change something, you adjust it, switch it, swap it, modify it. What’s with the up? It’s an unnecessary word. Change it and be done!
  • Separate out ─ Separate means to split, take apart, detach, divide. Adding the word out after separate is redundant. So out the out!
  • Refer back ─ Refer means to look up, recall, consult, send. If you refer back, can you refer forward? How about saying, refer to?
  • Gone missing ─ If you’re gone, you’re gone. If you’re missing, you’re not there. You’ve disappeared, vanished. Can you make yourself go missing? You’re either gone or missing, or I’m missing something!   

Who comes up with these phrases? Don’t they know they’re playing with the minds and tongues of our future generation?

Final note:

I’m going to change up some pictures in our bedroom and then separate out the black socks from the blue socks that are scattered on our bed. If you’ve found that I’ve gone missing from this blog, you can refer back to this note and know where to find me.

Check this out:  Don’t Say That Word! by Alan Katz (Margaret K. McElderry, 2007)

More word fun:  http://www.mnsu.edu/comdis/kuster4/part85.html

 

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One Comment on “Dueling Blogs”


  1. Ooooh. These are good, Cathy! And then there are people who write, “Susie jumped up on the chair.” or “Steven sat down on the chair.” You don’t need the up or down, they’re just extra words!!

    And my mother was a former English teacher who would have been great friends with your mother. She caught any grammar slip-up, and I thank her for it to this day.


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