ARE YOU USING "BANISHED" WORDS IN YOUR SALES OR MARKETING?

By
Home Stager with Just Your Style Interiors, LLC

2012 Banished WordsOn New Years Day ever since 1976, Lake Superior State University in Michigan has published its "List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness".  During the year people from around the world submit their nominations to the University.  At the end of the year the University compiles the list based on the total number of nominations for each word. 

Last year's list included such greats as "BFF", "viral", and "Wow Factor"--none of which I have a problem banishing.  However, this year's list had some of my favorites.

Number 1 on the list is "amazing".  Apparently overused by network TV and reality shows, people felt that amazing no longer referred to anything truly amazing.  Amazingly, this word received more than 1,500 nominations.  Now, how am I supposed to comment on the room transformations that are posted by my fellow stagers if I can't use that word?  How can you describe a 180-degree ocean view in your MLS listing if you can't use "amazing"? 

And as disappointing as it was to find "amazing" on the list, number 11 was "ginormous".  When I first heard this word I thought it was totally bizarre--sort of like "upsizing".  But now it is my favorite word to describe 9-foot long sofas in 12-foot living rooms and 60" flatscreens in 700 square foot condos.  Apparently those submitting "ginormous" felt that large and big were adequate.  Apparently they don't stage for a living. 

Coming in at number 6 is "man cave".  While not a particular favorite of mine it does aptly describe certain rooms I have seen in my staging and design career.  "Man cave" conjures up an image just in uttering these two simple words.  Please tell me who is going to come up with a good replacement for this phrase since "room that guys like to hang out in, drink beer, watch football, and no woman wants to willingly enter" is too long for me to say?  If you Google "man cave" it returns 16,800,000 listings.  Maybe it is a bit overused . . . .

The full list is as follows:

  1. Amazing
  2. Baby Bump
  3. Shared Sacrifice
  4. Occupy
  5. Blowback
  6. Man Cave
  7. The New Normal
  8. Pet Parent
  9. Win the Future
  10. Trickeration
  11. Ginormous
  12. Thank you in Advance

 

I guess it is time to consult my Thesaurus . . .


 

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Comments (90)

Jim Lee, REALTOR Emeritus
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Buying or Selling? Ann & Jim are the local experts

Add overuse of the word "AWESOME" to the list. This is a marvelous descriptive word but overuse blunts it's luster.

If you say everying is "AWESOME" then awesome doesn't mean much very soon.

Jan 05, 2012 01:29 PM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY
Broker-Owner

I love seeing the new banished word list each year- it has a way of capturing the pop cultuire of the period in such a unique way. What's really cool is to see the lists from years gone by like 1980 and 1990. 

Jan 05, 2012 01:35 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Jim--I think you have captured the essence of the banished word list. 

Hi Philip--I so agree with you.  Looking at the lists from the past is very, very interesting. 

Jan 05, 2012 01:41 PM
Steve Warrene
Your Town Realty - Lower Burrell, PA
Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists

Janet, I never heard of half those phrases so either I'm out of the loop or was to cool to use those phrases in the first place.  LOL but seriously Win The Future?  Has anyone really heard the phrase.

Jan 05, 2012 02:11 PM
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

Hi Janet, love the banished word list.  I try not to use these words but I agree with you about man cave-it is the best description I know for what is "the room no sane woman would walk into" and I really don't mind pet parent all that much...after all, it's so much more appropriate for my behavior than pet owner!

Jan 05, 2012 02:12 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Steve--I had heard about half of them, but not "win the future".  Really can't figure that one out!

Hi Joanna--well, the great thing about the banished word list is that we don't have to follow it!  You get to keep pet parent and I get to keep amazing!

Jan 05, 2012 03:22 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I must be out of it as I've never heard a few of these.

Jan 05, 2012 04:07 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Christine--maybe you are lucky to be surrounded by people who don't bother with these terms!

Jan 05, 2012 04:29 PM
Anonymous
Janelle Karas

Hi Janet,

Thank you for a good post. Some of these words are so used so often, it is easy to forget that maybe people are getting tired of hearing them. "Amazing" is such a favorite for me and I admit that it has become a default adjective especially when describing property in an ad or praising someone for their accomplishments. It's just such a happy, friendly word. That's the only one on this list that will be really hard for me to replace! This will be a good question for my instructor in my business writing class. I need to get creative and find some new adjectives!

Jan 06, 2012 12:47 AM
#78
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Janelle--You're welcome.  I will be interested in hearing what your instructor suggests to replace "amazing". 

Jan 06, 2012 08:22 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

The list of "current" no-no's is a good one.  I wish "just sayin'" would be on the list.  It's on mine, just sayin'  :-)

Jan 06, 2012 11:57 AM
Karen Baker
Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty - Sunset Beach, NC
Professional Help with Rapid Responses...

Janet ~ How dare them make such a list and have amazing on it!! Awesome, maybe, but not amazing!! What shall I say in its place ..astonishing?

Jan 06, 2012 12:23 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Carla--I couldn't agree with you more about "just saying".  I actually have not idea what that means since if one is talking one is "saying" anyway!

Hi--I agree that I am amazed that amazing was on that list.  That actually inspired my post.  I don't like astonishing!

Hi David--I was stumped on "trickeration", but guess you have to watch football to know that one.  Also guess you won't have to worry about using banished words either!

Jan 06, 2012 01:37 PM
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

Amazing story :)

Jan 06, 2012 03:40 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Jack--thanks!!!

Jan 06, 2012 04:27 PM
Marie Graham
Owner, The Refreshed Home White Plains NY - White Plains, NY
Westchester County Interior Decorator, Home Stager

EXCELLENT and FUNNY!

HOWEVER

Stagers I believe have special dispensation...we deal with stuff that is way beyond it's prime, so we can use the same type of verbiage. Congrats on the star, (signed) you newest-and more than slightly embarrassed-subscriber!

Jan 06, 2012 05:23 PM
Andre R. Aragon
Greater Tampa Real Estate Photographer - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Photographer

Hi Janet - I have to agree - I'll keep on using Amazing as I sit in my man cave and blog. They are not the boss of me ;) This list is bummin me out!

Jan 06, 2012 11:40 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Marie--thank you.  I am delighted with the "special" dispensation for stagers.  So I get to keep "amazing"?

Hi Andre--one notices in looking at the words from prior years that the University does not have sway over the English language as so many of their banished words are flourishing.  I think the whole list is entertaining and perhaps just a gentle reminder of a few words we overuse. 

Jan 07, 2012 10:24 AM
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker

Janet: I came over from Phil's reblog. "Amazing" is such an amazing word to use when a compliment is expected but you are stuck because you disagree. Love the word "man cave"; it says exactly what you want it to.

Jan 07, 2012 02:57 PM
Janet Jones
Just Your Style Interiors, LLC - Kihei, HI
Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Hella--thanks for stopping by!  I think there is no adequate substitute for either "amazing" or "man cave", but apparently many people are tired of hearing those words!

Jan 07, 2012 05:21 PM