The worst words and phrases of 2012
Each year, staff at the Plain English Foundation meet examples of really bad public language—words and phrases that are obfuscating, unnecessary or irritating. Others send them to us by email or our Facebook page.
Our worst words and phrases list, released in December, selects a dozen of the most remarkable from business, government and the media.
In 2012, this short list included international entries (like ‘repositioning actions’, ‘legitimate rape’ and ‘re-mode’) and home-grown horrors (such as ‘goodification’, ‘coordinated possession regime’ and ‘single handed downward action latching device’).
To see the winner and the Mixed Metaphor of the Year 2012, read the short list.
Read the full media release.
Twitter session a highlight of Sydney Writers’ Festival
ABC’s Big Ideas has voted Modified Tweet one of the best sessions at the 2012 Festival.
Neil James (@drplainenglish) chaired a fascinating discussion with comic and columnist Catherine Deveny (@catherinedeveny) and ABC broadcaster Mark Colvin (@colvinius). Hear how they use Twitter, and what the audience had to say – by tweet and old-fashioned voice box.
Foundation a major partner at Sydney Writers' Festival 2012
Join us between 13 and 19 May to be intrigued, entertained, educated or provoked at Sydney's foremost festival of ideas.
Read the full Sydney Writers' Festival program.
Your invitation to the public language program at the Sydney Writers' Festival.
The worst words and phrases of 2011
Every year, the Plain English Foundation collects hundreds of samples of Manglish, spin and obfuscation in our public language. Every year, we release a list of the worst words and phrases we all had to endure from politicians, corporations and government agencies.
2011 gave us the euphemistic spin of 'negative good' (bad) and 'gestational carrier' (surrogate mother). It gave us corporate evasions such as 'fugitive emissions' (pollution) and 'free to roam' (hens crammed 20 per square metre). The economy gave us the new cliche 'two-speed', the ugly 'MYEFO' and a candidate for the worst prospectus title ever issued.
The mixed metaphor of the year came (of course) from a sports coach, the academic world contributed 'antinomies', and we had to endure liberal doses of 'hero', 'chillax' and 'inland tsunami'.
For further informationDr James is Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation and co-author with Harold Scruby of the recently released book Modern Manglish.