My top ten ‘NO!’ words.

I was in a meeting yesterday discussing US English versus English English, when my client reported that a colleague of his found the words ‘powered-by’ too American for their UK market (not guilty).

It made me think of all the other words and phrases my – lovely – clients try and sneak past me. So, without further ado, if you’ve found yourself using any of the following in your communications material, please slap yourself with a wet fish:

1. Solutionism. This isn’t a word. ‘Solution’ is a word. But that too is overused. Don’t use either.

2. Cutting edge. Whatever you’ve done, it’s only ‘cutting edge’ if the BBC has contacted you.

3. Mission critical. You’re probably not an astronaut. I suspect you’re working on a ‘project’ rather than a ‘mission’.

4. Paradigm. Probably the most misused word ever. Only use it if you’re a real scientist.

5. Ideation. I can’t believe I just typed that.

6. Actionism. See 1.

7. Monetize. Nope. Even if you do spell it ‘monetise’.

8. Forward-planning. I’ve never known anyone to backward-plan. Just ‘planning’ will do.

9. Leading from the front. It’s tricky to lead from the rear. Once again, just ‘leading’ will do.

10. Matrix as a verb. As in ‘matrix cutting edge technologies’. Just… no.

If you hear anyone using these or anything like them, use wet fish responsibly.

Happy linguistics.


  1. Nyree

    Love this post!