As 2008 winds down, we who still write for a living pray for a rain that will wash away the stale or clumsy words and phrases that have been choking political debates, social discourse and simple emails. Fat chance, though — some of the clunkers below have been sticking in our throats like fish bones for years. (A depressing number can be found on the Web sites of L.A. City Councilmembers.) They aren't necessarily the worst, unfortunately. If you have some you'd like seen tossed into the witch's oven, please reply with your own list.
4. “Watch,” as in “Not on my watch.”
7. “Grow” as a verb. (“We must grow the economy.”)
8. “Community” where no physical neighborhood exists. (“The gang community,” “The comic book community.”)
10. Mission statement. (Unless it refers to one of Spanish California's 21 religious settlements.)