I sometimes tell my first-year undergraduate writers that I will order T-shirts or possibly hats emblazoned with the slogan “Death to the Word ‘Issue,’ ” perhaps in fiery red letters. Occasionally, I write this exhortation in the margins of their papers.

What’s wrong with this common word? Well, actually, that’s the problem: It is all too common. The word crawls kudzu-like over our sentences, invading our thoughts and speech.

Rosemary Haskell is a professor of English at Elon University.