Saturday, March 12, 2011

More nit

I can't pretend not to be impacted by the leverage of the word "impact" as a verb. It fosters a climate of not being able to comprehend the writtenness of English and so readers are brought to a state of bewildered boredom and miswillingness to continue to exercise the reading function.


In the course of my work, I read a lot of business and management books. I'm usually left none the wiser about what they were trying to say because the "insights" (as they are wont to describe wiffling around the obvious) are buried in an avalanche of jargon and clumsy phrasing. I can only do so much about the phrasing, given that the authors rarely seem to be saying anything of real value, or if they are, they are so impenetrable that the diamonds are shrouded in dogshit.

I do apply some simple rules. If you say "impacted" about anything other than your teeth, I will make you say "affected"; "leverage" is banned, you "use" your resources, your "insights" and your staff; you may not "utilise" anything ever; you "foster" children, but "encourage" or even "build" growth, wellbeing and success; I "enhance" you by using "improve" or "increase" as appropriate, and I do it "timely", "regularly", "daily", "weekly" because you do not need a basis for "periods" (not "of time" because what else do your periods consist of); you may not "as" when you mean "because", or "hence" or "thus" when you mean to "so"; you may only have things "in order" when they line up, and often what you wanted was "so that" anyway; and, believe me, if you are tempted to "prior to" me, remember that I would cheerfully kill you as soon as look at you.

These are of course minor things and they do much worse. Choosing an infelicitous word would not harm most books, but to do it on every page, topping it off with a spew of useless buzzwords, does not confirm your being clued into the business zeitgeist: it makes you utterly unreadable. Which is possibly the point. After all, if no one is quite sure what you're saying, they can't be quite sure you're talking bollocks.


Blogger Paris Dreamer said...

LOL. Oh, dear. This hits very, very close to home. Ouch. I think you're going to have to kill me.

March 12, 2011 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

Please utilise the queue.

March 12, 2011 at 2:44 PM  

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