I use the word “random” all the time. So, too, does everyone else. It’s great in informal language, but it’s beginning to piss me off in a recent manuscript. Observe the following:
Thread random blue and purple beads onto the string
No. The beads themselves are not random. They are strung in a random pattern.
God, that was so random!
In this usage, random has become the new “ironic,” used to mean many things that it doesn’t actually mean. In writing, take a close look at the word “random” and see if you can’t describe an event using more precise words.
She asked a random question
Sometimes a question is random, but more often, it is connected to something in the asker’s mind and preoccupations. Telling the reader about them will make for a better characterization.
What words do you hate today?