Originally this expression was used to explain precise quantifiable relationships: “We prefer to measure our football team’s success in terms of the number of fans attending rather than the number of games won.” But it has for a long time now been greatly overused in all kinds of vague ways, often clumsily.

Here are some awkward uses followed by recommended alternatives:

“We have to plan soon what to do in terms of Thanksgiving.” (for)
“What are we going to do in terms of paying these bills?” (about)
“A little chili powder goes a long way in terms of spicing up any dish.” (toward).
“What do you like in terms of movies?” (What kind of movies do you like?)

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