Here’s a question… you’ve probably looked at the paper or watched some TV in the last day or so, and a lot of what you saw was news, or at least labeled as news.
So, how many times did you hear or see the word “suspect?” Chances are, more often than you should have, I … um … suspect.
A suspect is someone who authorities believe committed a crime but has not been convicted. But it’s become a synonym for criminal. Or is becoming one.
Guy wearing a ski mask walks into the Famous All Night Shoe Store, holds up the clerk and runs off.
Police say they have a security cam picture of the suspect. No they don’t. They have a security cam picture of the robber. The guy in the picture? The one wearing the ski mask and holding a bag and a gun? He’s not a suspect. He’s the robber.
The store clerk says the suspect drove off in a white SUV with New Jersey Plates. No he didn’t. The ROBBER drove off in a white SUV with Jersey plates.
When they arrest the guy, THEN he’s the suspect. Or even better, the accused.
Suspect, of course is a specialized word that’s become mangled through misuse by cops and news people.
But it certainly has plenty of company.
One favorite is “solutions.” Solutions are either liquids or response to problems.
There’s a truck I often see that advertises “flooring solutions.”
And since most floors aren’t problems, they must be sellers of stuff like mop-n-glow, Pine Sol or some kind of wax.
Nope. They sell wood, linoleum and stone.
Flooring solutions, indeed.
Another flooring truck advertises the same three solutions but with the slogan “We lay anything.” Is it possible to write a complete sentence using nouns and verbs that have come to mean nothing?
How about “You need to utilize your time to give the optics more transparency.” That one has a double bonus because it also includes the ugly phrase “You need to” and the completely unnecessary word “utilize.”
Here’s one that could go either way: “The birds are impacting the growth of my lawn.”
And then there’s Premium. A premium is something you give away when you sell something else to someone. Or your insurance payment.
But we have premium gasoline, premium ice cream, premium toothpaste, premium wall solutions -- that would be paint -- premium checking accounts. And on and on.
I refuse to buy anything labeled “premium” except the cracker. And I’m on the fence about that since they came out with salt-free saltines.
--C’mon, guys, come up with your own meaningless words and sentences and send ‘em along. I’ll post them. With or without credit (or blame) as you wish.
-How did things get this way at the Brody Mine in West Virginia where a couple of miners were killed in a wall collapse but where well known and unaddressed safety problems were so numerous that it had been branded a Pattern Violator, the worst possible rating from regulators?
-Ditto the story near Istanbul, only the numbers are much higher.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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