The Associated Press publishes a Stylebook that is considered by many in the industry — from daily newspapers to monthly magazines to Web sites to major book publishers — to be the definitive guide to how to properly and consistently use the English language in written form. And this week, the AP declared that it
no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.
Whether you agree with this particular directive is a debate for another day. What I want to know is, à la the AP Stylebook:
What word or phrase would you eliminate from the English language, and why?
I don’t mean in a Newspeak sort of way, of course: no language truly benefits from eliminating words. But perhaps there’s a word or phrase that no longer serves the purpose it once did. Or perhaps some otherwise innocuous words have been twisted in shapes they shouldn’t have been.
(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)