Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Thanks to all of you who have been commenting and adding to our wacky-word conversation these past few months. Please continue to post your questions and share your examples. This week’s wacky-word winner is particular.

Twenty years ago, I was presenting a Grammar-for-Grownups workshop in Portland, Maine. 

A man approached me at the first break and said, “Mrs. Stanley, do you realize you have said the word particular seven times already this morning?” (He had been counting.)

He explained, “The word particular is what we consider to be a wasted word in the English language you and I speak today because it adds no value or meaning or clarification to any sentence.”

I wasn’t really sure how to respond to his observation, so I smiled and said, “Thank you for sharing that.” I didn’t know what else to say.

When I had a chance to process our conversation after the class, I realized he was correct. I was in the habit of saying:

On this particular page

In this particular example

On this particular PowerPoint slide

For this particular exercise

I DID say particular too much. He made me painfully aware of it, so as a result of our conversation, I have purged that particular wacky word from my presentations!


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Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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