NYT tells writers: Enough with the ‘kicking’

The New York Times

Slang has its place, New York Times Associate Managing Editor for Standards Philip Corbett wrote Tuesday. And that place isn’t as a part of serious stories.

“Strangely, kicking seems to figure prominently in our recent slang lexicon,” Corbett wrote, kicking in several examples, such as:

Or did he merely kick the can down the road three months so he and Congress will be in the same place again, repeating a pattern that will define his remaining three years in office?

This colloquial “kick the can” cliché has been rampant in Washington lately, but that doesn’t mean we have to adopt it. In fact, it’s a very good reason to avoid it.

Other discouraged slang usage includes punting (see above), medical terms for non-medical issues (flatline) and using plenty as an adverb.

On Monday, at least three pieces in the Times used the idea of kicking in stories that were not about sports — kicking in, getting a kick out of, and kicking in again. I, too, did a quick search of  stories for Poynter and found lots of instances of using the term kick when there was, indeed, no physical kicking.

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