Writing: Words We Don’t Say by Hugo Lindgren

Writing: Words We Don't Use by Hugo Lindgren

A few months back, New York Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren shared a story in which he discovered a list of words and phrases (“phony-baloney vocabulary”) that should never find their way into any story. Of course, we’re talking journalism here, but I think the reason Lindgren shared this is because he probably felt this list would prove useful to writers of all disciplines.

I won’t lie, I use a few words on this list. I’m a fan of “maven,” and I just don’t ever see myself ceasing use of “eponymous.” Sorry.

The story of how Lindgren discovered this list is an amusing anecdote in and of itself, and you should read it over at The 6th Floor. I love the way it begins:

In 1997, when I was first hired at New York magazine, Kurt Andersen, now a best-selling novelist and radio-show host, had just been fired as editor. Everybody was grieving about this, though not me, since I wouldn’t have had a job there otherwise.


Are there any words or phrases you feel should be excised from writing? Or perhaps words and phrases that just irk you in general? Feel free to vent, and share them with me in the comments below.

[The 6th Floor]

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