13 annoying verbs

Maybe you overhear someone use them on the train or while you’re waiting in line to buy coffee. Or you see them in a pop-up ad that you can’t close fast enough. Or perhaps your kids use them to purposefully annoy you.

No matter how you try to avoid them, they’re out there . . . annoying verbs. Here are a few of most crazy-making verbs that corporate communications has to offer.

1. Conversate — I have no idea where “conversate”came from, but I have seen it in a few corporate emails. Is there something wrong with “talk” or “converse”?
Questionable: “Maybe we should try to conversate with Grayson instead of sending an email.”
Better: “Maybe we should try to talk to Grayson instead of sending an email.”


2. Endeavor — “At Noddles Company, we endeavor to meet all of our customers’ needs.” When used in corporate communications, “endeavor” seems weak and unnecessary.
“At Noddles Company, we work hard to meet all of our customers’ needs.”


3. Empower — referred to as “most condescending transitive verb ever” by Forbes
“Braden has ‘empowered’ us to choose from the two vendors on the approved vendor list.”


4. Guestimate — an estimate is a guess, so why combine these words?
“Please estimate how long it will take to edit John’s bio.”
“Please guess how long it will take to edit John bio.”

5. Impact — 
Most dictionaries list “to affect or influence” as a definition of the verb impact, though some state it is not preferred usage. Bryan Garner editor of Black’s Law Dictionary theorizes that this pseudo-verb became popular because most people don’t understand the difference between “effect” and “affect.” So they use “impact” instead.


6. Implement — Would you rather listen to a presentation where the speaker uses “implement” with every bullet point or go to the dentist and have a cavity filled? Use “start” or “began” instead. “We implemented the new discount program in July.”
“We started the discount program in July.”


7. Leverage — It’s like Pavlov and his dogs. I hear the word “leverage” and I immediately tune out.
“I think you should leverage your core competencies somewhere else.”


8. Moisten — We all know that “moist” is one of the most unpleasant words in the English language. “Moisten” is not far behind.
“Moisten that brush before you use it.”


9. Peel — I find this verb annoying when it’s used to mean
“To move, separate (off or away).”
“I need Sam to peel off from the main group and give out pamphlets at the other end of the mall.”


10. PowerPoint — “Send the outline, and I’ll PowerPoint it for you.” No. No. No. A thousand times no.
“Send me an outline, and I’ll create a PowerPoint presentation for you.” Better.


11. Promulgate — Use this word approximately never. “Publish” or “issue” are better choices and using them will make you sound less like a first-year associate at a law firm.
“The new rules have been promulgated in the HR Handbook.”


12. Utilize — “Utilize the Force, Luke.”


13. Vlog — A combination of “video” and “blog,” this word sounds odd and slightly pretentious.
“I’m not sure how to vlog, but Jesse will show me when he gets back from Whole Foods.”


How about you PR Daily readers? Which verbs make you crazy?


This post was first published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.


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