What does it even mean? The worst phrase of 2017 unveiled

It will come as little surprise to many, that US President Donald Trump’s mis-use of the English language features heavily in a list of the worst words and phrases of 2017.

The ‘political doublespeak’ that is now commonplace in the White House started on day one of the controversial billionaire’s term, with one phrase topping the poll created by Plain English Foundation.

On his first day in the job, President Trump’s then press secretary lied about the size of the crowd attending the inauguration. In defending him, counsellor Kellyanne Conway said the secretary had merely given “alternative facts”.


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In a release issued by the Plain English Foundation, Executive Director Dr Neil James explains, that is just not right.

“A fact cannot have an alternative that is also a fact,” Dr James said.

The Trump camp also collected the Foundation’s prize for tautology of the year, with Trump tweeting fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media.

Corporate spin featured in the annual list, with the complete PR blunder caused by United Airlines making the top two for ‘double speak’.

When a video of security staff dragging a bleeding passenger from his assigned seat on board a UA plane went viral for all the wrong reasons, the carrier tried to downplay the “overbook situation” that led to an “involuntary de-boarding”.

“This kind of language tries to minimise scrutiny and evade accountability,” Dr James said.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a 2017 review without a mention of the sexual harassment scandal that has everyone in the entertainment industry on notice.

The Foundation called out Australian TV personality Don Burke for the “worst non-apology of the year”.

When confronted by evidence of sexual harassment he said: “I might have terrified a few people, or whatever, and I shouldn’t have done that, but these sort of things bear no relation to me and what I am about.”

We’ll leave you with the most confusing sign of the year (possibly ever?), which can be found in the Blue Mountains.

Make if it what you will…

This sign was installed by the local council in the NSW Blue Mountains. Image: Supplied