To Hell with rolling out and ramping up!

The above headline appeared on the RTÉ website the other day. It made me realize the extent to which I’ve come to hate anything that “rolls out” or “ramps up”, especially if it does both at the same time. So upset was I to see these two phrases together in the same text that I was even distracted from the bizarrely meaningless “point of strong momentum”. Nor did I spot the missing space in “rollout”, the noun form of the verbal phrase “to roll out”.  I think that short headline might have been specifically designed to drive me mad.

It’s been a while since I took aim at another phrase that I hate with a passion – “going forward” – but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped caring about such things. In my brief time as a Head of School Sussex I collected quite a few new aversions: “robust” and “transparent” being the two front-runners. What’s most annoying about these is that I sometimes find myself using them before I can stop myself. The shame of it.

Another word I hate is “upcoming”. Forthcoming is the word you really want when you’re tempted to come up with upcoming.

The trouble with these hackneyed words and phrases is that lazy journalists and columnists trot them out so frequently that they get into your head and it’s hard to resist allowing them out when you have to write something yourself.

Anyway, back to rolling out and ramping out. These are being used to describe Covid-19 vaccination programmes but as well as being tired through overuse they are also inappropriate.  A “rollout” is  the first public appearance of a new product, especially a car or aircraft. The term does not apply to something that is well into production and distribution. The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines happened many months ago. It is not happening now.

And as for “ramping up”, what the heck is wrong with “increasing”?

If anyone would like to vent their spleen against other words or phrases please feel free to roll them out in the Comments Box below.

15 Responses to “To Hell with rolling out and ramping up!”

  1. If anyone would like to vent their spleen against other words or phrases please feel free to roll them out in the Comments Box below.

    The nauseating inanity of “excellence”.

    Michael Billig’s “Learn To Write Badly” (https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/10/09/review-michael-billig-learn-write-badly-how-succeed-social-sciences) is a cathartic dissection of the ramping up of wilfully impenetrable gobbledygook in academia. Thoroughly recommended.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      “I want to fight George Foreman badly” – Joe Bugner, in a TV interview I remember.

      • Allegedly Churchill corrected a speech writer who mentioned fighting with the Germans: “Young man, one fights either with the Germans or against them.”

      • Allegedly Churchill corrected a speech writer who mentioned fighting with the Germans: “Young man, one fights either for the Germans or against them.”

  2. Bryn Jones Says:

    “Incredibly” used when “very” is meant.

    “Optics” to mean appearance.

    “Petrified” to mean frightened.

  3. “Literally” to mean “figuratively”. “Begs the question” to mean “raises the question”. “The exception proves the rule” to mean “An exception exists”.

  4. Comparative or superlative of “unique”.

  5. Anything said with vocal fry. Anything in English where the pitch rises at the end of a non-sentence question.

  6. Anton Garrett Says:

    “Ongoing”, which is usually best deleted, and when not should be replaced by “continuing”.

    Roll out the barrel here next week !

  7. One can usually leave out “currently”.

  8. Anton Garrett Says:

    Rapidly rising in popularity today for “short of” (meaning “less than”) is “shy of”.

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