By now you may have come across Weird Al Yankovic’s “Word Crimes,” a music video that parodies last summer’s hit song “Blurred Lines.” The video takes a humorous approach to pointing out some of the most common language mistakes that people make.

To honor Weird Al’s video and do our part to help improve everyone’s use of language, we’d like to share our own list of word crimes — the words or phrases that you should avoid whenever you write. In particular, our list includes:

  • Buzzwords: Terms and phrases that have become so popular that your eyes glaze over when you see them and they lose all impact. Examples that spring to mind include “thought leadership” and “robust” (a perennial favorite word to hate).
  • Jargon: Industry-speak that people may have heard of but not everyone understands, such as “accountability management” and the “cloud.”
  • Clichés: Expressions like “get on the same page” and “bells and whistles” that have become trite through overuse. (Buzzwords of old.)
  • Empty phrases: These include filler expressions such as “at the end of the day” and “when it comes to” that merely add bulk to your sentences.
  • Superlatives: Often exaggerations, words like “top” or “best” should be avoided. It’s better to substantiate the claim by providing evidence and avoid saying the word at all.
  • Weasel words: Equivocations such as “sort of” and “really” that serve only to dilute your meaning.

Here’s our list of words to avoid. Are any of them on your list, too?

a little bit ground breaking radar screen
accountability management guru reach out
action items heads up really
actually hit the ground running real-time
alignment holistic redeployed people
amazing iconic repurpose
apples to apples ideation return on
investment
at the end of the day incentivize revolutionary
at this point in time incremental robust
award winning industry standard ROI
back end initiative sassy
bait and switch innovation savvy
bandwidth innovative scalability
basically innovator scalable
bells and whistles integrate sea change
best intuitive seamless
best in class journey secret sauce
best of breed just silo
best practices kind of six sigma
biggest kudos skill set
bleeding edge largest smart
bottom-up leader smell test
brain dump leading social media
breakthrough leading provider socialize
challenge legendary solution
change agent leverage solution-driven
client-centric low-hanging fruit sort of
cloud magical space-age
content provider market leading stack
core competency marketeer stakeholder(s)
critical path methodology state of the art
cross-platform metrics stealth mode
customer-centric microblogging sticky
cutting edge mindshare strategic
partnership
dashboard mission critical sustainable
delighted moving forward synergistic
deliverable multi-tasking synergy
democratize net net take it offline
disruption never been done tasked
disruptive never before tasking
dynamic next generation think outside the
box
easy to use next-gen thought leadership
ecosystem off the shelf thrilled
elevator pitch on the runway top
empower one of a kind top of mind
empowerment operationalize top-down
enterprise class optics touch base
enterprise-level organic growth transform
epic out of the box transparency
exclusive out of the loop turnkey
exit strategy outside the box ubiquitous
extensive paradigm unique
extraordinary paradigm shift user friendly
face time path forward value proposition
fastest peak performance value-added
feature-rich perfect storm viral
flexible ping vision
frictionless pivot voice of the
customer
game-changer platform well positioned
gap analysis premier when it comes to
generation X price point win-win
get on the same page proactive wish list
going forward productize world class
great pull the trigger

Thanks, Weird Al, for beating the drum about why language matters. If you’ve got any of your own word crimes to share, please do so in the comments section below.