If something isn’t a conversation these days, it’s a situation.

An extreme weather situation. Or, on public transport in Toronto, any number of the following in service announcements on an emergency situation, a power-off situation, a flooding situation, even a full-throttle situation.

All can be recast without the situation bit: extreme weather, an emergency, a power-outage, a flood – although admittedly a substitute for the full-throttle thing doesn’t come readily to mind.

I’d even avoid situation on its own, as there are less tired expressions: incident, circumstance, event, occurrence

Worse, though, than any of these situations is a win-win situation. This expression is done to death! In contract negotiations, NAFTA negotiations, M&A deals …

Why not just say a good outcome, a positive result for everyone involved, or a good compromise?

It’s unlikely everyone got everything they wanted without making any concessions, so win-win probably overstates the case in any event.

Neil Guthrie (@guthrieneil)

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