03
Sep
09

Reviewspeak

The whole world can (and does) write reviews now… me included obviously. I don’t take a whole lot of style points into consideration when I write these posts. For the most part, I just try to organize my nonsense into the most readable format I can. There are certain cliches, common mistakes, and crutches that drive me absolutely crazy in reviews and articles though.

List them? I shall.

“Addicting”. Okay. I understand that there is a huge debate in the grammar world (the grammar world!?) about this one. As far as I’m concerned, when you’re using it as an adjective, you should use “addictive”… and somehow in the last 10 years “addicting” has snuck into its place. “Addicting” can be used as a transitive verb if someone is addicting someone to something, but that something (noun) cannot BE addicting. There has been discussion on this, but if addicting can be used this way, then what is the point of addictive as a word? Use “addictive”, or else I’ll be addicting you to those ever so addictive cigarettes.

“Dripping with theme”. This is one primarily from the board game world…. and I hate it. Is this the only way we have to say that something has pretty pictures and a sense of atmosphere and story? Why is it always dripping? Why doesn’t it drip with OTHER things… and why don’t other things drip with theme? It’s a phrase that has been absolutely worn out.

“The acting was bad/good” (with no reference to specific actors or scenes). People seem to just throw this one in to bolster their positive or negative statements about a movie. Of course, a review should mention acting if possible, but it should mention what is good/bad about it and why. For some reason people have no problem doing this with other aspects of a movie, but people writing about acting rarely back it up with examples … or even real judgements.

“For fans only.” I may be guilty of this one… but off the top of my head I’m not completely sure. The reason this one bugs me is it is completely condescending towards both specific fans and fans in general. It has that “Oh people with taste don’t enjoy this, but you’re a fan of the previous ones so your stupid mind will love it” feel to it. This one can work in a well explained review, but most of the time people just tack it on the end for some reason, perhaps to save themselves from fan responses.

ANY reference to The Emperor’s New Clothes. This one always pops up when a reviewer wants to go against the stream and point out that everyone is foolish and wrong. I’m really tired of this one. The story is a classic, sure… but you don’t need to invoke it every time there’s hype that you disagree with.

Hmm… looking back at these I realize that some of them are way more common than others. I also realized that I probably read way too many reviews… what can I say, it’s addictIVE.

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1 Response to “Reviewspeak”


  1. September 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    “Addicting” ALWAYS annoys me for exactly that reason.

    The line that irks me most, however, is “If you look up ______ in the dictionary, you’ll see…” Well, I’ll tell you what phrase you’ll find if you look up ‘uninspired, cliché hack writing”…


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