1. “Happy Memorial Day”: In the United States, Memorial Day is the day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the military. It’s a somber day of remembrance and appreciation for many, but for others it’s little more than a reason to enjoy a long weekend. “Happy Memorial Day” is not only contradictory (it’s like saying “Happy Funeral!”), but disrespectful to anyone mourning a loss.
2. “Utilize”: This is one of those rarely necessary, pompous-sounding words. As reader John Barnett wrote, “I really hate ‘utilize’ … for some reason government and academic writers love [that word] in order to make something sound very official and important … So I ask: What’s wrong with ‘use?'”
3. “With all due respect”: A reader named scottinapac described this phrase perfectly: “A business professional’s way of teeing up before taking a whack.” When I worked for Ted Koppel at “Nightline,” we’d brace ourselves whenever he started a question to a guest this way. We knew whatever he said next would be devastating.