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  • Hannah Rooke

Buzzword bingo. Overused or misused words and phrases - part 1

In this series of blog articles, I’ll be sharing some observations of misused or overused words and phrases. I’m as guilty as others of using them, but being aware of them is the first step in reducing their use. You soon begin to realise just how common they are and how impractical they can be. I’ve suggested some alternatives to help.



Basically graphic with lots of question marks and exclamation points

Basically

Definition:

1: Used as emphasis of an opinion or important statement.

2: Demonstrate you are describing something in a simple or general way without concern for more detail.


Problems: Avoid using as it's open to misinterpretation due to the alternative definitions. It can often appear to patronise, over simplify or imply important detail is being hidden.


Alternatives: Essentially, in essence, mainly, firstly. Or remove entirely.


Examples:

Basically, it’s great.


Basically, it can identify people in your photos.

Suggested edit: By using complex facial recognition, it will help identify people in your photos.


Think outside the box graphic showing a box with a lightbulb above


Think outside the box/blue sky thinking

Definition: To come up with something new, exciting and creative.


Problem: It’s unclear what’s required. Be more specific about what you want to achieve.


Example:

We need to think outside the box with our new product.

Suggested edit: We want creative ways for our new product to appeal more to men with sports interests.


Reimagine graphic showing 2 thought bubbles

Reimagine

Definition: To look at something in a different way.


Problem: Often used in the creative industries to describe new or improved products or concepts. It’s vague and can be pretentious in some circumstances.


Alternatives: Review, develop, create, redesign.


Example:

We reimagined the retail experience.

Suggested edit: We redesigned the store interior to make things easier for customers.


Which expressions or buzzwords put your head in spin?

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