Happy birthday, Grammar Party!

Grammar Party turned two years old today. It has spent the last year like most small human children. There was lots of mess making, putting things in its mouth that didn’t belong, and random tantrums followed by crying jags. Along the way, it managed to write some posts about grammar. Here is a selection of the most popular posts from year 2:

Business jargon to avoid (so you don’t sound like a douche) 

Murder, fluther, cluster, and peep: fun collective nouns for animals

How English sounds to everyone else 

Squeezing blackheads out of kitty’s face

Blond vs. blonde

Hanged vs. hung

Number vs. amount

180? 360? Where are we again?

Capitalizing titles of works

Thanks in advance for the probably millions of birthday wishes Grammar Party will receive. It would like to thank each of you personally, but it is late for a confrontation with its mother–something about it not wanting to take a nap.


Business jargon to avoid (so you don’t sound like a douche)

At this juncture, we need to air out the issue of the TPS reports.

There’s English, and then there’s business English—that jumble of jargon and overly complicated words that serve no purpose other than to confuse your corporate minions. Last week we discussed utilize, which is a fancy and pointless way to say use—excuse me, I mean leverage. But why stop there?

Today’s action item is to dialogue about jargon that has gained traction in the business world. In other words, here’s a list of business terms and phrases to avoid with ideas for what you can say instead. Your minions will thank you.

actionable: Which projects are actionable this year?
REWRITE: Which projects can we do this year?

action item: This is an action item for this week.
REWRITE: This is something we need to do this week.

air out: Let’s air out that issue in today’s meeting.
REWRITE: Let’s discuss that issue in today’s meeting.

at this juncture: We can’t go public at this juncture.
REWRITE: We can’t go public at this time.

bring to the table: What can you bring to the table for this project?
REWRITE: What can you contribute to this project?

circle back around: I’ll circle back around about that project tomorrow.
REWRITE: Let’s talk about that project tomorrow.

circle with: Circle with Judy about that project this afternoon.
REWRITE: Meet with Judy about that project this afternoon.

core competencies: These are our company’s core competencies.
REWRITE: These are what our company does best.

dial in: We should dial in Judy for this project.
REWRITE: We should include Judy for this project.

dialogue (verb): Dialogue with Judy about the project.
REWRITE: Talk with Judy about the project.

driver: What are the key drivers to improve our company?
REWRITE: What are the key factors in improving our company?

facetime: Let’s schedule some facetime with the director.
REWRITE: Let’s schedule a meeting in the director’s office.

functionality: Our department has increased functionality.
REWRITE: Our department has improved. / Our department functions better (than last year). / Our department has more functions.

gain traction: We need this project to gain traction in the company.
REWRITE: We need to show the importance of this project.

human capital: At our company, our human capital is most important.
REWRITE: At our company, our employees are most important.

incentivize: The rebate will incentivize more shoppers to buy it.
REWRITE: The rebate will encourage more shoppers to buy it.

interface: Can we interface after lunch?
REWRITE: Can we talk after lunch?

keep in the loop: Be sure to keep Judy in the loop.
REWRITE: Be sure to include Judy.

leverage: Let’s find a way to leverage that resource.
REWRITE: Let’s find a way to use that resource.

offline (used during meetings): Let’s discuss this offline.
REWRITE: Let’s discuss this after the meeting.

on point: Judy is on point for today’s meeting.
REWRITE: Judy is leading today’s meeting.

operationalize: Let’s operationalize this task today.
REWRITE: Let’s do this task today.

productize: Let’s productize this idea.
REWRITE: Let’s find a way to make this idea into a product.

pushback: Judy received pushback about her idea.
REWRITE: Judy received opposition to her idea.

ramp up: We should ramp up production next quarter.
REWRITE: We should increase production next quarter.

task (verb): Task that project to Judy.
REWRITE: Assign that project to Judy.

touch base: Could you touch base with Judy about that project?
REWRITE: Could you talk with Judy about that project?

utilize: How can we best utilize your skills?
REWRITE: How can we best use your skills?

Do you have other entries?
Please share your irksome business jargon in the comments section. I’d love you to keep me in the loop.