Thursday, 16 June 2011
acrimonious, amicable Only applied to divorces, which are always either one or the other.
bagpipes always “skirl”
balloon used as a verb
battle with cancer People don’t die of cancer, they lose their battle with it, don’t suffer it but fight it, don’t recover from it but beat it.
bitter struggle, conflict, dispute etc.
boasts Please don’t use when you just mean “has”.
bolster as a verb. What's wrong with "support"? And when did you last see a bolster?
brutal Writers are fond of "brutal", and like applying it to things that can't be brutal, like "the brutal trajectory of the porn industry". I think this writer meant "unstoppable spread". (Trajectories go up and then down again.)
burgeoning Try "growing".
bustling Try “busy”.
came for happened, occurred, took place, followed, fell, was effected/done/carried out, coincided with. “Her murder comes after the deaths of several journalists…” Guardian July 17, 2007 How about “Her murder follows the deaths…”? I think people are trying to avoid the passive, but this is much worse.
combat for fight, oppose, counter
comes after, in the wake of follows
cosset, pamper, indulge, decadence Inseparable from articles about massage, spas or beauty treatments.
draw for prompt, evoke etc
dry facts are always dry, especially in the education debate - see cram, regurgitate etc
erupt for break out, happen, occur
explode for increase (verb)
explosion for increase (noun)
fan flames for exacerbate
forge for create, give rise to, form
fuel a surge and other inappropriate things
fuelled for impelled, built up, constructed, powered, encouraged, provoked, driven, incited, powered, prompted, facilitated, made possible, instigated, contributed to, promoted, advanced, exacerbated, aggravated, worsened
garner for gain
girding for preparing
good-humoured to describe behaviour of protesters and police
head off for avert, fend off, stave off, ward off, preclude
hurdle for problem, obstacle, barrier
iconic of buildings, means BIG
ignite for set off, cause, prompt etc. It's only used for starting riots, not for setting light to anything. If a riot is “ignited”, rioters will “torch” cars and buildings.
industrial wasteland applied to any collection of industrial buildings which may be “hives of activity” and “bustling” with actual industry. But anything that isn’t residential or natural is a “wasteland”.
isolated beauty spot The place where the body is found.
jolt for tilt, disturb
jump for increase, rise
key for core
kick start for start, prompt, cause – it implies that all you have to do is kick the machine and then it’ll run by itself.
level/s for amount/s
lull into a sense of false security Why not soothed, stupefied, tranquillised, sedated?
mane If a woman has grey hair, it's a "mane"
mired in for involved in, embroiled in, caught up in, entangled in, stuck in etc
mobs always bay, while the upper classes bray
mull is headlinese for consider
nuns No one can mention them without using the word wimple. Most nuns wear ordinary clothes, and have done since the 70s.
ordeal kidnap victims always suffer an ordeal
outpouring of grief (but upsurge of protest)
plummet for fall
pummel (what waves do to coasts)
reeling everybody reels far too often (still reeling from the shock of…).
relentless, remorseless progress etc Try "unstoppable", and avoid the pathetic fallacy.
riven for split, divided
saw as in “last year saw an increase in X”, or "Germany has seen". Try “last year X increased”, Germany has experienced or witnessed (or X took place in Germany).
sharply for severely
shrink for lessen, fall
sit for lie, stand "The crypt which sat (and still sits today) beneath the 11th century church." Which lay, and which still exists? The silliest example I ever read was "IBM sits firmly in all three camps".
sit well with for agree with, appeal to, go down well with, find acceptance with
spark for start, cause, prompt, result in, lead to, provoke
spat for row
spawn for cause, give rise to, result in, lead to, generate
spry, sprightly as applied to older men (they're also dapper)
spur for prompt, encourage)
sun beats down
tensions for ethnic hatred or violence (inflaming tensions New Scientist Nov 09
the bulk of for most
Things are called into question, but thrown into disarray
trigger for cause etc (see spark)
tumult for trouble
tumultuous for potentially violent, troubled, eventful
typically for usually
underscore for emphasize, highlight, reveal, reflect
unravel lives always unravel
urge restraint is always “urged”
vibrant for thriving
wedded to a point of view
weigh for consider
wrenching for disturbing
You don’t care a jot, if asked if you’re worried you say "Not one whit", there is never the slightest whiff of scandal, and you go a tad off course. Milk? Just a dash!
More clichés here.