The Most Annoying, Pretentious and Useless Business Jargon

The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it.

If you have to ask why, chances are you’ve fallen under the poisonous spell of business jargon. No longer solely the province of consultants, investors and business-school types, this annoying gobbledygook has mesmerized the rank and file around the globe.

“Jargon masks real meaning,” says Jennifer Chatman, management professor at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. “People use it as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others.”

To save you from yourself (and to keep your colleagues and customers from strangling you), we have assembled a cache of expressions to assiduously avoid.


All you need is love – the Class of 2011

In over 40 speeches given at graduations this year, the words used most were love, passion and fear, while at the bottom of the scale were words like happiness, job, career. Read more =>

Awesome Infographic: Commonly Misunderstood Words in English

Hmmm …. some of these have got me thinking!!

Word of the week – Aggrandize


Pronunciation: a-GRAN-dize
Function: verb
Etymology: French agrandiss-, stem of agrandir, from a- (from Latin ad-) + grandir to increase, from Latin grandire, from grandis great
Date: 1634
Definitions: 1: to make great or greater; INCREASE, ENLARGE
2: to make appear great or greater; praise highly
3: to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of
Example: “As late as 1961, under President Dwight Eisenhower, the [National Security Council] was supported by a small staff headed by an executive secretary with a ‘passion for anonymity’ and limited to a coordinating role. In subsequent administrations, that passion disappeared and staff members took on operational duties that formerly were the responsibility of constitutionally confirmed cabinet officials. This aggrandizement of the staff function then spread to fields far beyond national security.”
– George P. Shultz, former secretary of Labor, Treasury, and State, in WSJ, 4/11/11, p. A15.

Definition source: Merriam-Webster’s Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary.

From the Weekly Grammar Tip published by

5 Nice Words for Every Corporate–Using Simple PASTE Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices-also called mnemonics-is one of the popular types of memorization techniques known to human kind and PASTE in one such mnemonic that helps to remember some nice words. Use of polite words and kind phrases are some of the vital interpersonal skills–especially for job seekers, corporate trainers =>

Titles of People – Capitalize or Lowercase?


A customer asked about titles today. She said she was in a friendly office argument whether or not to capitalize an employee’s title after the name, as in “Matilda McAlfalfa, vice president of human resources, will speak this evening.” Some in her office said to capitalize as Vice President of human resources.
Well, the Chicago Manual of Style, the standard reference for American form, says NO. CMS says that titles are to be capped when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name. When the title follows the name, it is generally lowercased. An exception is often made for promotional or ceremonial contexts, or in a heading, of course.
• President Washington; the president
• General Lee; the general
• Cardinal Newman; the cardinal
• Governors Brown and Patrick; the governors

You need not repeat the title once the title has been given.
• Mortimer P. Snerd, senator from Massachusetts; Senator Snerd; Snerd

In promotional or ceremonial contexts such as a displayed list of donors in the front matter of a book or a list of corporate officers in an annual report, titles are usually capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in other contexts for reasons of courtesy or diplomacy.
• Tallulah Throckmorton, Director of Water Sports

A title used alone, in place of a personal name, is capitalized only in such contexts as a toast or a formal introduction, or when used in direct address.
• Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister.
• I would have skied today, Captain, but the waves were too big.
• Thank you, Madam President.

When a title is used in apposition before a personal name?that is, not alone and as part of the name but as an equivalent to it, usually preceded by the or a modifier?it is considered not a title but rather a descriptive phrase and is therefore lowercased.
• the empress Elizabeth of Austria (but Empress Elizabeth of Austria)
• German chancellor Angela Merkel (but Chancellor Merkel)
• Florida senator Marco Rubio
• the German-born pope Benedict XVI
• former president Reagan
• former presidents Reagan and Nixon
• the then secretary of state Colin Powell

Other examples of proper form:
• John Adams, vice president of the United States; Vice President Adams; vice-presidential duties
• the Holy Roman emperor
• Nero, emperor of Rome; the Roman emperor
• the shah of Iran
• the mayor; James Michael Curly, mayor of Boston; Mayor Curly
• the president; George Washington, first president of the United States; President Washington; the presidency; presidential; the Washington administration (note the lowercase administration)

Source: Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

From the Weekly Grammar Tip published by

“A Flappers’ Dictionary.”

“A Flappers’ Dictionary.” According to the uncredited author, “A Flapper is one with a jitney body and a limousine mind. The Shifter is a new species who flaunts as his banner, “Something for nothing and then very little.”

“The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay,” the author maintained. “Many of the phrases now employed by members of this order will eventually find a way into common usage …”


10 Words you need to stop misspelling

[Via Huffington Post]

Spelling pet peeves–everyone has got them. Here are 10 that drive people nuts. Which bug you the most? Any not on this list? =>

OMG, the Oxford English Dictionary Added New Words! We ‘Heart’ It! LOL!

Before you take to the comments to ream us out about the above headline: “OMG,” “LOL” and the symbol for “heart” have all been added to the Oxford English Dictionary Online. =>

The elements of clunk

a whole new strain of bad writing has come to the fore, not only in student work but also on the Internet, that unparalleled source for assessing the state of the language.