Notes from the newsroom on grammar, usage and style. (Some frequently asked questions are here.)
Colleagues have taken note of several words or phrases that seem to be cropping up everywhere all at once.
Our goal here is not to ban words. But be aware that sometimes, the fresh turn of phrase that just popped into your head occurred to you so readily because you’ve already seen it a dozen times this week.
So, for example, Ken Paul points out that in the week of May 13, we spoke of Mark Zuckerberg’s signature hoodie (twice), Vermont’s signature greenness, Colonel Qaddafi’s signature green, Somali pirates’ signature fiberglass skiffs and Washington’s signature dance genre (go-go).
We said that a 1994 playoff-winning goal was Stephane Matteau’s signature moment, that participating in Brown v. Board of Education was a lawyer’s signature accomplishment and that Willets Point would be one of the signature developments of the Bloomberg administration.
We said capture-the-flag games were the signature event at Mary and Bobby Kennedy’s forested estate. A review mentioned the Leakey team’s signature discoveries. We wrote of the signature evidence of early phase C.T.E., of the Paper Bag Players’ signature oversize props and costumes of cardboard and paper, of a golf course’s signature par-3 hole and of a restaurant’s signature sushi rolls. We said candles of a woman’s signature scent would make a nifty gift. We hailed one pitcher’s signature changeup and another’s signature sinker. We spoke of a Lexus sedan’s signature “spindle grille.’’
In many of these instances, Ken notes, using a different qualifier — familiar, characteristic, usual, unusual, proud, favorite, feared, beloved — or using none at all might have been refreshing.
More Words We Love Too Much
You may have found that litany of “signature” uses surprising. But how surprising? “Eye-popping,” perhaps? Or even “jaw-dropping”?
If so, you’d be right at…