Each year, Lake State Superior University gathers and releases their Banished Words list. Selecting overused and worn out words from the lexicon to be done away with and spare our ears/ eyes. Of course, it’s just good fun. Here are some ways to bring that Banned Words List into the ELA classroom for fun and analysis.
- Analyze or debate why and how words end up being overused. Who perpetuates it? Why?
- Pick 5(or more) words to support banning. Explain why and offer replacements. Plus, Pick 5 (or more) words to defend. Why should they be kept. What are alternatives– and why aren’t those alternatives good enough?
- “Nominate” 2 or 3 words or phrases that do not appear on the list. Vote as a class on the top words. (Bonus: Check the “Complete List” to see if any of those words or phrases were nominated in previous years and are still overused.)
- Write an essay or create a multimedia project about banned and overused words and how they relate to the evolution of language. (Bonus: Look back at words that Shakespeare added to the language!)
- Write and illustrate gravestones for banned words. Plus write short obituaries to go with the gravestones. How would a word “die” or use the word as a character and kill them creatively. Synonyms could be the surviving relatives.