Sunday, February 17, 2008

Effective writing: It's time for these trendy, inane phrases to 'go missing'

Have you seen those articles about the catchy words and phrases of 2007? How about annoying phrases such as "went missing"?

As many of my readers have pointed out, "went missing" makes no sense. The phrase combines two antithetical concepts: movement and disappearance. One can "go home" or "go to the store," but can one "go missing"?

Nevertheless, print journalists and broadcasters have embraced the phrase. One might argue it's handy, it's better than "was found missing," it makes as much sense as "turned up missing," it's less melodramatic than "disappeared" and "vanished," and if one can "go crazy," why can't one "go missing"?

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