The Banned List: A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche

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It conveys a smug superiority even when associated with the most mundane of tasks and every time I hear it I shudder. But then there are the additions to the list with which I have issues [7]. Alternatively one could say "change the rules after the game has started" except we probably aren't talking about a game anyway. If it ain't broke, don't let us bother trying to fix it.


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Same goes for this one. If you work in a location like a bank branch that has a foyer, a counter and an area behind the counter then the correct name for that area is back office. To try and find an alternative is illogical, after all we wouldn't try to find an alternative to calling the cooking area of a restaurant a kitchen, now would we? Unless of course we are using "back-office" as a verb but who does that?

There is probably no justification for using this phrase and I include it as one I would defend the use of simply because I happen to use it a lot. Like "well good luck with that" this phrase has a simple elegance despite its very sarcastic nature. I have no rational reason for arguing against it being on the list, I just like it. Rentoul makes a valid point about jargon, that it is important in bureaucracies but that it can end up being used inappropriately in conversation with outsiders.

That is the point about jargon, it is a sort of technical language understood by insiders, often because in a particular industry it makes perfect sense to use it, but too often it falls into disrepute when it escapes the confines of its specialty and wanders off into the world at large where it is used, abused and misused by the general public and journalists. On the whole I find in favour of John Rentoul's list. I suppose that many of the objections I have to some of the words on it are based on the fact that I use and have a fondness for some of them.

I would recommend The Banned List to everyone who indulges in even the most modest of writing like me , or to anyone who reads anything for that matter, because at the end of the day, this book does what it says on the tin. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled.

The Banned List: A manifesto against jargon and cliche

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