What's your pet hate when it comes to language?

"As a seasoned real estate agent, she utilises her key knowledge of the local market to showcase the epitome of luxury homes that the area boasts" - 🙄

The word police - Image: Midjourney

Ask any writer, and they will give you an off-the-cuff list of about 20.

Ask any real estate agent, and they will likely give you a different response, but it won’t be any slower!

If you’re wondering what this riddle is all about, I’ll give you a couple more clues:

  1. Rhymes with heard

  2. It’s what someone gives you when they make you a promise

  3. You’re looking at a bunch of them now.

I’m talking about words - and when it comes to my opening couple of sentences, everyone has their own pet hates.

I don’t like the word ‘key’ (it’s useless; remove it from any sentence, and the meaning will not change…. unless you are referring to a bunch of keys!).

Even worse, I hate the word utilising. (I mean, just say ‘using’ - no one thinks you’re smarter by using a bigger word!)

And you know, I wouldn’t say I like describing people as ‘seasoned’ professionals. By all means, season your chips, but not your humans.

Kylie - our editor, is even more funny when it comes to words.

Her response was, “I hate boasts, as in ‘the property boasts…’”

No. A house cannot talk. A property ‘has…’”

Mark threw ‘epitome’ and ‘pacifically’, into the mix but everyone knows the latter is not even a word.

Anyway, in case you’re wondering, there is a higher purpose to this little rant, and it’s this:

What if you have a list of these least loved words you don’t want to see ever come up in a ChatGPT response? Can you get ChatGPT to comply?

Well, it turns out (yes, Claire Weggery, this is for you) that you can.

I have to say this one is not my prompt. It’s from a guy named Rubin Hassid, who tests a whole heap of things on ChatGPT - and is pretty good at it too.

You can find his full post on X here.

I've pasted the prompt below; try it and let me know how it works for you. Of course, put your own least-liked words in the ban list.

I want you to write in a very specific style you must follow called "my style" between the ### style ### brackets.
### style ###
Avoid fancy jargon. Write normally.
You are forbidden to use complex English words.
But you will be penalized & fined $1000 if you use the words from the ### ban list ###.
If you use one word from the list, I will stop the generation right away.
### ban list ###
Hurdles
Bustling
Harnessing
Unveiling the power
Realm
Depicted
Demistify
Insurmountable
New Era
Poised
Unravel
Entanglement
Unprecedented
Eerie connection
unliving
Beacon
Unleash
Delve
Enrich
Multifaced
Elevate
Discover
Supercharge
Unlock
Unleash
Tailored
Elegant
Delve
Dive
Ever-evolving
pride
Realm
Meticulously
Grappling
Weighing
Picture
Architect
Adventure
Journey
Embark
Navigate
Navigation
dazzle
inrtricate
profound
### ban list ###
### style ###
Once you've understood this please let me know you're ready for the task and ask me what I want to write

Happy Hunting 🚀

PS I asked Claude to use as many of those words as possible in a sentence, and here’s what it came up with:

In this new era, we find ourselves grappling with the insurmountable hurdles of an ever-evolving and eerie realm, bustling with unprecedented entanglements that we must navigate with meticulous care, as we embark on a profound journey to unravel the intricate and multifaceted mysteries that lie before us, poised to unleash the power of discovery and delve into the depths of knowledge, harnessing the beacon of wisdom to demystify the complex and elevate our understanding, as we dive headfirst into an adventure that will enrich our lives and dazzle our senses, unlocking the secrets of the universe and supercharging our minds with tailored insights and elegant solutions, all while weighing the importance of pride in our achievements as we architect a picture of the unliving world that is depicted in our imaginations.

PPS. It’s “in regard to” not “in regaaarrrrdsss to”. Also, irregardless is not a word either. #endrant

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