Going forward, I won’t use cliches

Why do people say, “going forward,” as in, “We will do things differently going foward”? They can’t go back and change the past, so of course they are speaking of the future. The phrase “from now on” is equally useless. I think maybe people pad their language with extra words to emphasize that they mean business. I did a search for “going forward” at NYTimes.com and was pleased that blogger Toni Monkovic declared it the Cliche of 2009.

Vet

I’m still learning 3-letter words. I promise that until 2008 I had never heard the word vet used as a verb, as in, “They failed to vet the candidate before nomination.” Am I crazy or did this usage begin very recently?

If you’re just joining me

Terry Gross, on her program, Fresh Air, routinely says, “If you’re just joining us, my guest is so an so. . .” But whether I’m just joining her or not has no bearing on who her guest is. What she means is: “My guest is so and so and I’m saying that for the benefit of those who have recently tuned in.” All she needs to do is pause and say the name of her guest. There is no need to explain why she is telling us who her guest is. “You’re listening to Fresh Air and my guest is Elijah Wood.”

Similarly, other people say things like, “If you’re hungry there’s food in the fridge.” Do they mean that if I’m not hungry there is no food in the fridge? If there is food in the fridge then is this statement true: “If you are not hungry, there is food in the fridge.”

Usually when people say “if” they mean that what follows is contingent on some condition being met. For example, if you have five dollars, you can buy a hamburger.

See? It’s easy.

[Posted from Waynesboro, Georgia]

Estimating word count

According to Pam McCutcheon, when you are discussing your manuscript with your publisher your word count should be based on 250 words a page (1 inch margins, 25 lines per page, 12 point non-proportional font) and not the actual word count. This is because some parts of your manuscript may have fewer words per line than in general (ie: dialogue) but take up more space. The publisher is interested in how much space your manuscript will occupy.

Pam McCutcheon does not mention this, but long words take up more space than short words, and that is not taken into account in the 250 words per page formula.

Alpha bravo charlie

alpha
bravo
charlie
delta
echo
foxtrot
golf
hotel
india
juliette
kilo
lima
mike
november
oscar
papa
quebec
romeo
sierra
tango
uniform
victor
whisky
x-ray
yankee
zulu
Read more about this phonetic alphabet at Wikipedia.org