Harold Evans continues, "Could it not make out with another adjective for a decade or two, deepen our depression by linking with the catalog of deadly d words, disintegrating, dilapidated, decaying, or just rot and collapse? Better, is it beyond the wit of writers to get out from under the Latin infra and remind us that the abstractions covers a multitude of sins-- corroded water pipes, leaking dams, archaic airports, decrepit overhead power cables?"
Harold is pointing out a tired phrase, "crumbling infrastructure." Our language is spilling over with similar threadbare adjectives and nouns.
If your experience is similar to mine, it's really, really hard to avoid them. Especially when you're tired or working under the strain of an imminent deadline.
Of course, there are ways to cope. A good way to increase self-awareness of my own tired language is to read books like "Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters," by Harold Evans. One of the best parts of the book so far (in my opinion) is the content of the footnotes which link to helpful websites which offer writing exercises and articles on writing well.
There are also sites like Unsuck-it.com, which lists tired corporate idioms to avoid using in your business copy. Lisa Kellaway's Golden Flannel Awards measure the depth of corporate guff.
Grammarly also keeps me on my toes-- less stylistically and more, well, grammatically. I took a look at my stats recently and found my top mistake was missing a comma after an introductory clause. I've done it 124 times. Yikes!
What are some resources for avoiding tired language that you can recommend?
I just bought my own domain name. It took me much longer than it should have, and now my own website has a fresh, professional address that it lacked before.
It can be scary to invest in your business. There’s a nagging fear that you won’t get the money back.
The truth is, making that room in your budget can be the extra polish your business needs to succeed.
Of course, I’m not recommending that you spend money you don’t have.
That’s why I made another small business investment this week. I bought a subscription to an accounting service. Subscribing to a service like QuickBooks, FreshBooks or Zoho can make it easy to keep track of your business’s cash flow, write invoices, and do your taxes. Knowing exactly what money is coming in and going out of your accounts takes the fear and guesswork out of your business strategy.
It’ll also help inform you on what to charge for your services. Maybe after balancing your business checkbook you realize you need to charge more per word, more per hour, or more per graphic. That realization can be the kick your confidence needs to set a fair price for your services.
Invest in your business. It will motivate you to seek better clients, to keep track of your expenses, and to request a worthy price.