Words to live by…or maybe not!

I was reminded of my 3rd grade teacher the other day while reading a Time article about 15 words we should all be cutting from our vocabulary.

I’ve read articles like it before, reminding us to lay off such crutch words such as “actually,” “literally,” and the sort. It’s information that’s good to keep in mind -after all, we’re all guilty of using certain words too often.

But the story stuck out for another reason. It took me back to the classroom of Miss Elizabeth Tice at Scribner Road Elementary School in Penfield, N.Y.

Miss Tice also wanted us to stop using the same words over and over. So much so in fact, she wrote out a list of banned words and stuck them to a plastic tomb stone that hung next to the door.

We joked about it at the time, but the thing is – I still remember every one of those words. I can recall them in my head with the same sing-song delivery we used in class when we had to recite them.

  • Nice
  • Good
  • Little
  • Things
  • Sad
  • Big
  • Stuff
  • Brung

Okay, so the last one isn’t a real word, but in 3rd grade some needed to be reminded of that. And while I am still guilty of using some of them, the reason for the list was never lost on me.

We are blessed with many words in the English language, each with their own nuanced meaning. Therefore, we should choose them carefully to ensure we are writing and speaking with greater impact.