Wednesday’s Words: List of Loaths (Part II)

We all have a list of  words and phrases that we’d just as soon cut from the language. I already talked about giving 110%, 24/7, and coeds, but the following words and phrases are just as annoying and just as meaningless.

Intestinal fortitude ties my guts into knots. I suppose with all the indigestible food that we eat nowadays, intestinal fortitude could refer to the digestion process and the garbage that goes in one end and the crap that comes out the other, but any other application is ridiculous. Use plain old fortitude or have the guts to say guts, and leave the overly cute and clichéd intestinal fortitude in the toilet where it belongs.

Veggies. Don’t get me started on veggies. I will merely say that kiddies might need to be coaxed to eat veggies, but we are adults, and we should eat vegetables and write vegetables. If you don’t find this amusing, we’re even. I don’t find “veggies” amusing.

Nowhere to be found as in, “Jack stepped through the broken door and called Janet’s name. When she didn’t answer, he searched the house. She was nowhere to be found.” Besides being trite and passive, the phrase is patently ridiculous. All we know is that Jack couldn’t find her. Perhaps Janet’s ex-husband kicked in the door, and after she kicked him in the privates and shoved him out the broken door, she went to the hardware store to get the materials necessary to repair the door. In which case, she could be found first in her car, then in the hardware store, then in the ice cream shop to get some chocolate chocolate chip ice cream (because she deserved a treat) and then in her car again. And finally home. Jack had left by then, so now he was nowhere to be found.

Glass half-full/half-empty. Yikes. Where to start with this one? It is wrong on so many levels, but I’ll keep it simple. A glass is half-full if you are filling it and half-empty if you are emptying it (drinking it). If you are neither filling the glass nor drinking it, if it is just standing abandoned, it doesn’t matter if it is half-full or half-empty. It should be dumped out, in which case the glass would be simply empty.

Leader of the free world. Say, what? Who decided the president of the United States was the leader of the free world? When you consider all the influence peddlers, Congress, the Federal Reserve system, and everyone else who has a say in running things, a president is barely leader of this country, let alone the entire free world (whatever that is).

So what words and phrases are on your list of loaths? (Did you notice I didn’t say pet peeves? “Pet peeve” holds pride of place on  my list of loaths.)

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About the author

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I, all available from Amazon and Second Wind Publishing, LLC. Watch for Light Bringer coming in March, 2011.

»» 4 Responses to “Wednesday’s Words: List of Loaths (Part II)” »»
  1. Sia McKye says:

    Intestinal fortitude has never bothered me. It signifies a deep in the guts action or belief. But I agree, there are better ways to show it.

    Cliches are easy to use and we hear them so often we tend to use them too often, lol!

  2. Beth says:

    I love the nowhere to be found example, Pat.

    Sia, you picked out what I really don’t like–cliches. They do come easily. But when we concentrate on changing them to something that fits the character and the scene, our writing improves immediately.

  3. Dale says:

    Interesting. I hope I haven’t been guilty of any of those, but I’m not completely sure of that.

  4. Mark A. York says:

    Aren’t these just cliches?

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