It’s been a while since I wrote about my (and your) favourite or least favourite words. But at Glasgow’s State of the City Economy Conference last week (9 Nov), some of the buzzwords and -phrases used by the speakers set my teeth on edge. And then I read a Macmillan Dictionary blog post on nouning and verbing, so I thought it was time to revive the topic.
I reckon I’m a language conservative. It took me ages to start using “task” as a verb (as in, a committee tasked with drafting a new energy policy). And I still don’t use “impact” as a verb. Inconsistent and irrational, I know.
On Friday, the phrase that I most disliked was “going forward” (as in “Going forward, we’ll be adopting green energy policies”). Irrational again, but it really bugs me.
Then there was “the big ask”. That I don’t mind. But then one of the speakers said that if Glasgow’s business people are looking for specific skill sets in school-leavers or graduates, they should “present their ask” to the education community. They shouldn’t just sit around complaining that young people don’t have the qualities they need: they should “channel their ask”. That, for me, was an ask too far.
Any jargon gripes — or delights? Share them in the comments!
By Marian Dougan