Since I started reading Zinsser, I've been paying a lot more attention to what and how people write.

Two words have progressed to the point of actually inciting rage in me when I see them.  One of those words is "arguably".

I'm going to pick on Guy Kawasaki here, since it was his post that most recently set me.  Plus, I'm sure he can take it, and he's far from alone.  I used to use that word myself too, but just because I'm a hypocrite doesn't mean I'm wrong.

Guy says of Brett Hedican "Arguably, one of the best skaters in the NHL . . ."  What Guy is really saying is "somebody else might say that Hedican's one of the best in the NHL, but I won't because I don't have the courage of conviction.  I'd simply say that he is one of the best skaters in the NHL, since that's probably defensible, but I won't even bother to do that because I don't want to get drawn into an argument myself."

In other words, "arguably" is a weasel word, and weasel words suck.  Don't use them.  Make your argument on its own merits, without asking somebody else to help you out.  If you're not willing to do that, why should anybody listen to what you have to say?

The rest of Guy's article is arguably laudable and otherwise well-written, so it's worth reading despite his poor choice of words in what was probably only meant to be a throwaway comment anyway.

(The other word, incidentally, is "however", but that's another rant.)