Words, words, words

by kpmautner

Internet services just ran an an article on “the most annoying words at work”. They were covering vogue buzzwords like “interface” (I must interface with the other department); “circle” (I will circle back to the client); and a good many others.

Still don’t take into consideration my two pet peeves: “that’s the way we’ve always done it!” (said with a long drawn out and high-pitched “always”) when used as an excuse for why something didn’t get done as directed. The other is a phrase which is (hopefully) confined to the life and accident-and-health insurance industries (although morticians may suffer from the same complaint) and that is “he (or she) became deceased”. Since there are so many other monosyllabic euphemisms for “he died”, please use one that’s grammatically correct.

I spent years coaching staff on the only acceptable format for legal documents: if a second-grader can’t understand what you’ve written, go back and do it again. I learned this the hard way. Graduating from a very, very academically rigorous liberal arts college with a sesquipedalian vocabulary of which I was inordinately proud, I learned quickly that my purple prose just wouldn’t cut the mustard in the business world. I now pride myself on being the only attorney of my acquaintance who can write a solid, enforceable legal document in language that the layman can readily understand. Credit for this goes to my very first boss, Matthew McGuire, who endured countless re-writes until he got it through to me.