Monday, September 22, 2003

There's a reason stylebooks say "massive" should be reserved for things that have a lot of mass, and it's not just to add another notch to our rule belt.

"Massive" is being used to describe
* Things that are really bad (massive hurricane clean-up).
* Things that are widespread (massive job cuts).
* Things that are really big (a massive lead over Team X).
* Things that are severe (massive injuries).
* Things that are wonderful (massive compliment).
Fight the urge, and be exact!

These examples should make your head hurt. And all should make your fingers fly -- as you delete "massive" or, if necessary, type in a precise adjective that actually tells readers something.

There are writers who'd call this a massive problem. I'd call it widespread. Some would call this a massive waste of time. And I'd feel comfortable calling that a massive pile of crap.


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