WHAT started as a light-hearted discussion of business buzzwords on CNBC television recently aroused such an outpouring of bile from our viewers I feel duty-bound to “on-pass the learnings.” <br /><br />Grammatical rules apply at all times, even to important businessmen. “Leverage” and “interface” are bad enough as nouns, but make intolerable verbs. Similarly, anyone paying attention in reception class will recall that verbs are doing words and therefore make ugly nouns – what’s “a disconnect?” <br />A tool of punctuation that is regularly violated is the hyphen. As a rule this should only be employed by the aristocracy (Lady Ponsonby-Smythe) and shouldn’t be used to jam together two unrelated words as in the case of “get-go,” nor in the case of “value-added,” a phrase for use only by the taxman, in which case it isn’t hyphenated anyway.<br /><br />While we’re on ‘riting and ‘rithmetic... It used to be enough to give 100 per cent. Now you need to lay your hands on at least 110 per cent to cut the mustard. I’ve heard Louis Walsh in the X-Factor this season say “two million per cent -- yes” to at least two contestants. That’s 20 thousand times more affirmation than is physically possible for one Irish music mogul.<br /><br />Another couple of areas of concern. “Thinking,” as in Blue sky thinking, out-of-the-box thinking (note forced use of hyphens, see above) and “solution”. Storage solution = box, out of which one must think. <br /><br />There are good reasons for the use of jargon. Usually to try and sound clever or cover up the fact that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Also to disguise the unpleasantness of what you are really saying. <br /><br />You’ve probably noticed the unemployment rate is rising, so you may assume there have been job cuts. In fact, it’s due almost entire to “restructuring” and “downsizing”. And the economy is being propped up by quantitative easing, and don’t you dare suggest it’s anything so vulgar as printing money.<br /><br />Sporting analogies used by well-fed, pin stripe besuited City gents don’t work either. “Ball park” figures, “game changers” and “touching base” are out, unless you happen to play baseball at the weekends. And please, no high five-ing, unless you’re an American. <br /><br />Americans do tend to be repeat offenders, despite many other national strengths. My favourite was uttered without a hint of irony by an anonymous US management consulting partner. “Let’s vocalise live off-line.” Does that mean talk?<br /><br />Rebecca Meehan co-anchors Capital Connection and is a presenter on Squawk Box Europe, each weekday on CNBC.