Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Words that make you scream

Posted October 21, 2009

“Write it right, stupid!” Those words still ring in my head after all these years. A UNC journalism professor coined that phrase.

I heard a phrase this week that would make that professor cringe: “The apartment unit was totally destroyed.” That’s redundant. Just say “destroyed.” Totally is totally unnecessary.

I heard another one come from my own lips recently during an ad lib: “It’s a major milestone for the university.” No need to say “major.” A milestone marks a major moment all by itself.

“Only time will tell” is another example of weak writing. That’s one of those musty phrases from the cliché closet.

What are some of the phrases, words and expressions that make you scream?

I’m not going to count my chickens before they hatch because only time will tell how many examples we get today.


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  • GoldenLover Oct 27, 2009

    "At the end of the day"

  • GoldenLover Oct 27, 2009

    I just wish all the reporters would stop using the phrase "Behind Bars". Can't they just say "He is in the Wake County Jail" or "He is in custody in the Wake County Jail"

    And some of the segways to the weather get pretty weak.

    And please tell Elizabeth Gardner to stop laughing at everything she says and keep her eyebrows in one position. Let Greg take care of the meteorolical (sp) comedy.

    WRAL is still my only channel for local news.

  • jwstevens04 Oct 22, 2009

    Adding an "S" to the end of words: Wal-Marts, K-Marts..

  • buckykatt020998 Oct 21, 2009

    How about when people say, "between you and I"? It's "between you and me". Grr!

  • enidanadine Oct 21, 2009

    I hate it that there are some people who are still calling manufactured housing [mobile homes or modulars]... 'trailers'. A trailer is a flatbed on wheels that you hook up behind a vehicle to haul things around. Some trailers have sides on them. Nobody lives IN a 'trailer'.
    'Whatcha' lookin'....this really gets me. Say FOR!!! 'What are you look-ING FOR?' It wouldn't hurt to throw the 'ing' in there, either!
    Where did some people go to school?

  • kbugreen Oct 21, 2009

    "At this moment in time . . ." Five words which mean "now". Makes me crazy every time I hear it!

  • theresageyer Oct 21, 2009

    "each and every" tends to get my attention

  • iamyeary Oct 21, 2009

    Vogue words, such as soccer moms, venue, tweak, edgy, factoid, virtual, sound bite, pushing the envelope, can make you want to scream.

    Redundancies, such as red in color, decided in my mind, or the end result are other words that contribute nothing to the meaning of what is being expressed.

  • mammothman53 Oct 21, 2009

    "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year."

  • hdonthefarm Oct 21, 2009

    Sorry, Bill, but it's your own people mispronouncing NC cities and towns. "An-Jeer" for Angier. "Wen-DELL" or "WEN-dull" for Wendell. Thank goodness yall have mastered Fuquay-Varina. That had the potential for a real FCC smack-down!




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Bill Leslie