I just got an email asking me if I wanted to “pre-order” something. What, exactly, does it mean to pre-order? I thought “order” already implied that the item would be available at some future point. Pre-order is quite redundant, to my muddled way of thinking. Or am I just insane?
In a similar vein, the receptionist at my dentist’s office always asks me if I’d like to “pre-book” my next appointment. The first time she said it, I’m fairly certain I flinched. She asks me every time I visit. It makes me so twitchy when she says it that the last time I had to tell her NO (and, of course, I’m now very overdue for a visit to the dentist. Her fault.) Does “pre-book” mean to just think about booking my next appointment? Or am I booking a time at which I will then book the actual appointment? And who, exactly, “books” dentist appointments? Not me. I book airline flights (on rare occasions). I would possibly consider booking a cruise. But a dentist appointment? I schedule them, make them, keep them, and (frequently) cancel them, but I don’t BOOK them. What an annoying turn of phrase. Can’t we just say “do you want to schedule your next appointment now”? Or perhaps, “can I make another appointment for you”? Wouldn’t that suffice?
I’ve noticed, too, in this age of instant (and overly prolific) communication, that there is a terrible, horrible, almost overwhelming urge to create (and then participate in) word fads. Can I just say BLARGH?!!?! (Wait til you see that one coming around- you can say you know where it started.) I believe this began with “awesome” in the 1980s. It seemed like every single freaking English-speaking person on the planet said “awesome”, and they said it ad infinitum. Everything was freaking awesome. Talk about your overused rhetoric. Gag me with a sharp, heavy, gas-powered cutting implement.
The news channels are famous for beating words and phrases into the ground. I’m sure there are many examples of these, but the ones that instantly and painfully come to mind are “at the end of the day”, “amazing”, and “exactly”. It seems like every “interview” starts off with the host making some broad, sweeping generalization, and the guest then segues with “exactly… blah, blah, blah.” Home shows and people on the Food channel seem to call everything “AMAZING”. Politicians always talk about “at the end of the day”, which must be the replacement phrase for “my talking point is coming up”. I want to give these people pocket thesauri to take home with them.
The one that’s got me lately is “green” (corollary word: “organic”). Everything is freaking green these days. The annoying thing is that these green-slingers have absolutely no freaking idea what green means. I just got a catalogue from Franklin Covey telling me that their 2008-09 planner pages will be made with 100% postconsumer recycled paper. The catalogue was printed on virgin paper with a non-recyclable gloss finish. Good job, guys. That’s a greenwash, in more ways than one.
Oh. And, please. Stop. Writing. These. Sentences. With. Periods. After. Every. Fucking. Word. It. Is. SO. FUCKING. ANNOYING.
And, of course, almost as annoying as overused rhetoric is improperly used rhetoric. This would be things like writing “per say” (instead of per se), etc. Oh, these things make me wheeze. I’m sure others have complained and ranted about such matters far more thoroughly than I care to at the moment. Let’s just say that, if you want to pull a cliche’ out of your ass, you ought to make sure it’s polished up before you put it on the table.