Weasel Words: Do you use them?
I hadn’t heard the term “weasel words” till today, so I decided to Google it (actually I Wikied it)
Here are some examples from that Wikipedia article:
"A growing body of evidence…" (Where is the raw data for your review?)
"People say…" (Which people? How do they know?)
"I heard that…" (Who told you? Is the source reliable?)
"There is evidence that…" (What evidence? Is the source reliable?)
"Experience shows that…" (Whose experience? What was the experience? How does it demonstrate this?)
"Studies show…" (what studies?)
"A recent study at a leading university…" (How recent is your study? At what university?)
"More than seventy percent…" (How many more? 70.01%? 80%? 90%?)
So here’s the terrifying thing for me: I can’t stand those expressions when I hear them spoken or when I read them in an article or an email - but I actually use them myself. Probably daily.
I am going to make a concerted effort to stop doing that. If you hear me me using weasel words, give me a smack.