Being a grammar nazi and language snob, there are a lot of words that pop up regularly in marketing copy that do my head in. I have a major aversion to anybody who refers to their office space as “[name of company] Towers”. It’s particularly prevalent amongst media owners. Heat Towers. Absolute Radio Towers. News International Towers … well, probably not so much these days … I also find myself massively tutting and rolling my eyes at people referring to anything as “shiny” and “new”. If you work for the Royal Mint and have just launched a new coin with my face on it then, yeah, you may have a point. As that is not only shiny and new but also sycophantic enough to press all my buttons. I digress. My objection … you are highly unlikely to have a shiny new website. Or a shiny new Facebook page. Or, worst of all, a shiny new newsletter (too many uses of the word news to scan properly you see, grammar suicide).
But I’ll forgive you. My pet hate of the week is a word that should never be seen away from the pages of a 1950s children’s novel, filled with lovely posh kids drinking lashings of ginger beer and solving petty crimes. Or in a computer geek’s well-thumbed comic about a mutant handyman who by night wears his underpants outside his trousers and saves the city from evil.
What on earth would possess anybody to use the word “super” in marketing copy that aims to engage young and intelligent people in social events?
Sadly, if you enter the word “super” into the search box on my company’s intranet (and disregard the techy stuff that nobody reads about super-users for new-fangled IT equipment), you will find the word used to the sort of excess that your stereotype tourette’s sufferer is alleged to use the “c” word.
Win a super Christmas hamper.
Come along to our super summer drinks night.
Take advantage of this super discount on theatre tickets.
Last week’s quiz was a super evening.
There is a super new range of sandwiches in the café.
I can guarantee you a super time.
It’s super annoying. And really lazy writing.
Unsurprisingly our social events are not massively over-subscribed. Probably because our 800 staff don’t live in the 1950s or a Marvel comic..
Like them, I don’t want to know that at Christmas the party will be super. I want to know about the free bar and the crap DJ.
Do I need my sandwiches to be super? Or do I want them to be cheap?
Was the quiz a super evening? Or was it quite funny to get drunk on free booze and watch the nerds from research get into a row with the office history buff over the date man first landed on the moon?
My rage at this inoffensive, twee little word has seen me logging onto the intranet from home and editing copy late at night. Unfortunately while I do this, our office “Super Man” is logging onto my brilliantly crafted articles and adding his five letters of doom. It’s a vicious circle. It’s a chicken and egg situation. I’m going to have to phone my intranet super-user to ask for a solution …
Next week I will mostly be ranting about swear word substitutes.