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You Want What With Your Hot Dog?

Today, while returning from a visit to a customer in the NW suburbs of Chicago, Sue and I stopped at one of our favorite places to enjoy a hot dog for lunch. If you’re from Chicago chances are strong you’ve had a Gene & Jude’s hot dog. To say that they are a bastion of Chicago style fast food is an understatement. Steamed bun, relish, and yellow mustard– yummmm!

I’m telling you about this because after we had placed our order for 2 hot dogs, Sue innocently asked if there was any ketchup. You could have heard a pin drop. Everyone looked at us like we were from a far-away planet. Sheepishly, Sue said, “I meant do you have any ketchup for the fries.“

Now you can walk into this joint any day of the week around noon and the line is out the door with loudly chattering hot dog hungry folks (by the way, if you’ve never been to this establishment before, hot dogs are all they serve). There is one word that should never be uttered if you are in a real Chicago-style hot dog joint and that one word is ketchup. It’s downright sacrilege and the silence of the 100 or so patrons made that very clear. I said to Sue, “What are you doing to me? You know better!” After about a minute we got our “dogs” and left without making eye contact with anyone.

As I was thinking of what to blog about today, I started thinking of words and phrases I see that shouldn’t be used in annual appeals (you may use ketchup if you’re creative enough). So these are some of the words that cause me to put up the caution sign with our clients:

Words like:

  • accordingly when you could use so instead;

  • along the lines of when you could use like;

  • and/or let the lawyers use this kind of jargon;

  • as to whether instead of whether;

  • at this point in time instead of now or today;

  • dialogue instead of talk;

  • enclosed herewith instead of I’m sending you;

  • finalize instead of finish;

  • for the purpose of instead of for;

  • inasmuch as instead of because;

  • in the event that instead of if;

  • make use of instead of use;

  • owing to the fact that instead of because;

  • per your request instead of as you asked;

  • prioritize instead of priorities;

  • prior to instead of before;

  • with a view to instead of to;

  • the reason is because instead of because or the reason;

  • final conclusion instead of final or conclusion;

  • continue on instead of continue;

  • end result instead of end or result;

  • irregardless instead of regardless.

Every one of these words is a violation of common sense. These are word wasters and they get in the way of communication.

Do you have some of your own that you could add to the list? Please do.

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