My ellipses have served me well, if I don’t know how to punctuate something, I just fill in the gaps with ellipses. My eighteen year old daughter recently told me that my use of ellipses ages me as someone over forty. She cited a conversation on reddit about old people’s use of ellipses. I am a curmudgeon, after all, so I decided to vent my literary grievances on Facebook to see if I could understand why the use of certain words/phrases like “shenanigans” and “pop of color” make me sick and feel as though I would not want to “hang out” with people who use these words. I was hoping for some kind of understanding or even a challenge to my assumption that the users of these words were sheep-like, common people who just couldn’t come up with original language. Perhaps the use of these fall-back phrases, like 24/7 or “that said”, are just products of an age barrier …like my generous use of ellipses…but as it turns out, my Facebook friends (and twitter feed) had more “latest buzzwords and catch phrases” that are overused and made them sick too. Here is the collective list:
At the end of the day
Sex y(for stuff other than sex related)
To be honest (before anything)
So (before a sentence)
Fail Fast (sounds like the “freedom to fail” that corporate hatchet men used in the 80s)
Always be shipping
ecosystem (when it applies to corporations)
Soooo (uh oh that was one of the words on list) with all of these words swarming around the virtual and real office water coolers, just how am I supposed to come up with my own voice? Coincidentally this same week -on my twitter feed- I came across an Atlantic Monthly article about EDX offering free MOOCs (massive open online course) taught by professors of many respected universities. Luckily I was in time to sign up for UC Berkeley’s College Writing class. My first week was spent doing a segment on Vocabulary.
A quick look at the discussion board showed me that many of the students enrolled were taking this course because English was not their first language and they wanted to be able to write better. Interestingly, since our family just took a “college tour’ of UC Berkeley, I knew that the real campus also had many international students and that this course was/is probably a virtual parallel to the real thing. MOOCs deserve a post and I may write that next but I am still working on my vocabulary and grammar. I hope to get rid of my ellipses soon….but in case you were wondering if a native English speaker could learn anything new …here are my new vocabulary words:
And I can now write that “a pop of color” is my least favorite collocation.
Published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser