Bull$hit Bingo and the use of English

I can’t remember if I’ve blogged about this, but I do recall playing it once or twice at ‘offsites’.   And ‘offsite’, is one of the problems.   Most words do carry some sort of descriptive element – one assumes this is the purpose of communication – but a whole breed of new words or phrases either don’t, or are intend to be over complex or somehow convey a higher intellect from the speaker.

Or perhaps just obfuscate.

Generally they make the speaker sound like a plonker and of course an offsite meens a meeting that is held away from the office.   Meeting would work equally well – but it doesn’t sound as flash.

Daily Torygraph readers have had a bit of a thing about this today and I’ll list a few.. plus a few of my own.

Why “Cheers” Instead of Thank-you or Thanks?

When told to “enjoy” reply ” I certainly hope I will or I will not be paying the bill”

The correct reply to have a nice day is “Thank you but I have made other arrangements”

The correct reply for customers asking ‘ Can I get a coffee’ is ” No , this is my job I will get you a coffee”

Use of the word impact instead of affect. Impact is consistent with our increasingly aggressive society.

Obviously there is ‘proactive’ but increasingly I hear the terms ‘going forward’ (a personal favourite:  I hate it) and ‘deliverables’ whats wrong with in the future we will do…..

And a little political one.. quite clever this:   We can understand politicians’ use of
“investment in” as a substitute for “public spending”, but consequently we should recognise the nuances. New Labour uses “investment” for expenditure approved by the Left, such as in the NHS, but expenditure on such as defence assets remains “spending”.
Grow your business—somehow I think expand is probably more correct. (unless you grow cannabis for a living of course)

‘Your call is important to us’.   Answer the damned thing then.

The (very English) mistaken use of the word “appraise or appraised” – meaning to value or assess – but frequently misused to mean “inform or be informed” about, rather than the correct “apprise or apprised”

‘Lessons will be learnt’
Translation :- we messed up and/or cost the taxpayer a lot of money, but, most importantly, got away with it and kept our jobs.

One phrase that really irks me is “this document speaks (or talks) to…”
NO, it doesn’t! This document does not posses the power of speach. It can refer to, or it could reference but it cannot ever speak! The number of times I’ve sat through a presentation and ground my teeth at the continued use of this phrase, so much so that I’ve missed the entire point of the presentation!

Inappropriate use of the word “literally”. As in, “I literally DIED!!”. No, you did not.   Even if others may wish you had.

Oh, and how do you play Bull$hit Bingo?   Easy peasy – and great fun.   Take an A4 sheet of paper and write down lots of poncy consultant speak like Down-select, Strategic, Low hanging fruit, Six Sigma etc. and the first one to hear all of the words and mark up the Bingo sheet stands up and yells Bingo!    As the winner, his prize is then to explain his outburst to the meeting host, which is fun for everyone else, if not for him.

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