More fun with cringe-worthy phrases

In the Post last Friday: a highly enjoyable list of supposedly cringe-worthy phrases you’re probably using in the office ! (Note punctuation placement, please.)

re: cringe-worthy, I dissent.

There’s nothing wrong with expressions like “heavy lifting,” “win-win,” “paradigm shift,” “elephant in the room,” etc. All of these mots mean something real. That’s why people use them.

That said, I do agree that neither “Give 110 percent” nor “There’s no I in team” have much to offer in the way of communicative oomph.

I also admit to being tired of hearing “going forward” and “reach out.” Blech. My feelings on the subject are neither here nor there, however. Both expressions still mean what they mean, and people will continue to use them.

One more thing. “Boil the ocean

What is that?

If I have to ask, then you’re probably not using “boil the ocean” in the office, at least not often enough for “boil the ocean” to have become cringeworthy.

In short, WAPO has published a perfectly fine list of things to say at the office — so perfectly fine that if I were teaching a course on Business English for L2 speakers, I would advise my students to commit it to memory.

Here’s my beef with the list.

Toolkit.

Toolkit ! 

The word toolkit, which people demonstrably are using way too much in the office, (not to mention in book titles) is not on the list of cringe-worthy things people spend too much time using in the office.

[pause]

I was thinking I could end this post with some kind of reference to boiling the ocean, but I guess not.

Bonus points: Here’s McKinsey using the word toolkit to make no sense whatsoever.

Extended lean toolkit for total productivity

See?

Useless.

2 thoughts on “More fun with cringe-worthy phrases

  1. Metaphors get tired when you work them too hard, just like people. You need to give them a rest and let another metaphor do the work for a time.

    This is especially true of extended metaphors.

    😎

    Like

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