"Junk English is the linguistic equivalent of junk food," says Ken Smith. "Ingest it long enough and your brain goes soft." Given the ubiquity of "junk English"--which includes pretentious, meaningless, euphemistic, and bloated language--we all likely suffer already from mushy minds. In Junk English
, Smith uses real examples to illustrate 120 types of language abuse, including cheapened words (visionary
), distraction modifiers (low
), "fat-ass phrases," "free-for-all verbs," "jargon gridlock," "mirage words," "palsy-walsy pitches," "secret snob words," and "tiny type messages." If linguistic abuses were ticketable offenses, Officer Smith would fill his quota before he reached the second paragraph. While the greatest perpetrators of junk English may be business and advertising folk, we're all guilty. So take this as a reminder to say what you mean, and mean what you say, and leave the battlefield language and spiked clichés behind. --Jane Steinberg
From Publishers Weekly
If George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" were updated and expanded to address today's lexical and syntactic problems the tendency to make verbs out of nouns and nouns out of verbs, a general fondness for business-speak and verbal inflation, just to name a few it might look like Junk English. Ken Smith's (Mental Hygiene; Ken's Guide to the Bible) slim volume is a quirky, pleasingly judgmental dictionary of language crimes. From "invisible diminishers" ("virtually flawless") to technology jargon ("It is simply not natural to use feedback for opinion, [or] synthesis for combination"), Smith will delight language purists with his wit while confirming their grave assessments of contemporary speech.
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