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Consumer Reports

'Make no mistake' about it | (UPI) -- Make no mistake about it: It's a good thing to banish some extreme overused words and phrases that challenge writers and speakers now more than ever.

Having said that, the self-appointed language experts at Lake Superior State University in Michigan want no mental mistakes about their 28th annual list of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

The tiny school in far north Sault Ste. Marie is the state's smallest public university with an enrollment of only about 3,000 students. But size hasn't stopped resident word-watchers from compiling a list of "banished words" for 28 straight years.

The nominations are culled from everyday speech, industry jargon, education, technology, advertising, politics and, of course, television and the news.

Where else would Americans be constantly hammered with the phase "must-see TV," which the list says assumes a herd mentality over program taste.

Another media infraction "material breach," seems to suggest an obstetrical complication. Or how about "untimely death" -- as if anyone dies a timely death -- and "on the ground," where most human beings spend the bulk of their lives.

"Black ice" upset a California man who said ice is ice, and "is usually clear and shiny when you see black pavement through it."

We won't even comment on "weapons of mass destruction" and "homeland security" which have become push-button buzzwords.

Bard Keller of Sault Ste, Marie wants to know who is mistaken when someone is admonished to "make no mistake about it."

Overused advertising words and phrases include "extreme," "now more than ever" and "branding" -- "extreme" being used in conjunction with everything from sports to soft drinks and deodorants.

Sports offenders include "Got game," "mental mistake" and "there is no score," when there actually is a score, 0-0. "Frozen tundra," used ad nauseam to describe the home field of the Green Bay Packers is redundant. "Tundra means a frozen land," said Michael Pittney of Cincinnati, Ohio.

And if you don't agree with the 2003 list of banished words culled from a record 3,000 nominations you can express your opinion at an "undisclosed, secret location."

"If it's a secret, it's pretty undisclosed and if it's undisclosed, it's a secret," said Bill Lodholz of Davis, Calif.

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