I’m trying, this year, to be a little more precise in my writing and speech.
Here are some items in my emerging personal dictionary:
- “Greatly dislike” or “detest” – My substitutes for “hate.” I dislike hate becase of the way it is used in contexts like “hate crimes.” It seems to me there are few occasions on which I experience emotions with a similar strength and/or negativity (not to mention irrationality) to those expressed by perpetrators of hate crimes, so am trying to use milder, more precise language.
- “Exceptional” – my substitute for “great,” which is horribly overused. Alexander the Great conquered half the known world before his 30th birthday. An exceptional cricket shot cannot therefore be great.
- “Brawl” – I find the use of war as metaphor for commercial conflict to be inappropriate for several reasons. If there are only two combatants, I feel language that reflects the conflict more precisely does readers a better service. So you won’t see me writing about companies going to war or battling.
- “Demise”, “decline” or “descent to irrelevance” – I feel that we in the media often oversimplify things by declaring that markets only produce winners and losers and that the losers are “dead”. This belittles numerous niche vendors who make perfectly good livings without being dominant or prominent. Think of dot matrix printers, for example. So rather than writing that a technology such as tape is “going to die” I would rather write about it becoming less relevant to mainstream users or something along those lines.
I’ll update this post as more entries come to mind.