Need to Curb Hackneyed Expressions

Make no mistake, we need the self-appointed language cops of North America to curb the use of hackneyed expressions.

And we need them now more than ever.

The world’s recent pre-occupation with terrorism and security spawned many of the 23 most-loathed idioms of 2002, earning special recognition on Lake Superior State University’s annual list of phrases that should be banished.

News junkies will recognize the front-runners, starting with the ubiquitous “make no mistake.” George W. Bush, the U.S. President, attached this admonition to everything from financial reporting reforms to threats aimed at al-Qaeda in 2002, supplying endless fodder for mimics and late-night comics.

Just as unpopular was “now more than ever” — a bit of shorthand U.S. advertisers used to invoke the memory of Sept. 11, without actually mentioning the date.

It acted as an implied warning, suggesting the need for life insurance or child safety harnesses has suddenly grown urgent for reasons everyone knows.

“This precious way of saying, ‘Now that we’ve had a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, we have a duty to recognize the important things in life,’ seems to be the recent darling of advertisers and politicians,” said Josh Mandel of Colonie, N.Y., one of many who submitted the phrase. “What simpering balderdash.”

“What’s next?” asked Mike Bowers of Lebanon, N.J. ” ‘Now, more than ever, Americans need 50% more raisins in their cereal?’ ”

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