In reading and listening to news items, I find many people using the phrase ‘going forward’. It has become so overused that I find it grating to hear. It is often redundant but seems to be a more a rhetorical device, a filler, to end a sentence. For example, an analyst discussing financial news might say “It is not clear what the Fed will do going forward” when “It is not clear what the Fed will do” conveys the same sentiment. After all, ‘will do’ implies the future and besides, the Fed cannot go backwards anyway.
Other phrases that have become cliches are ‘perfect storm’ and ‘think outside the box’. Mercifully the latter seems to seems to be going out of vogue, probably because everyone is sick of hearing it so much and it is the kind of corporate jargon that managers like to inflict on their employees.
These are my personal pet peeves. My dislike of them is largely because of their overuse, not necessarily because there is something wrong with them. This article lists other ‘junk’ words and phrases that the author thinks people should try to avoid for various reasons.
I work with a lot of sales and management people on energy projects. They love, love, love to use that phrase…it does not improve my thinking of sales and management.
My personal favorite(?) is “very unique”. It seem like the usage of this has increased a lot in the last 10 years or so. I wonder if usages like this are just (relatively) temporary and will disappear as language continues to evolve?
This is the first time I have heard the term “going forward” since… the last time I heard it used.
I like the term “going forward” precisely three times less than anyone else.
John Morales says
There’s a perfectly good word for that: henceforth.
‘Going forward’ is bad, but ‘as of right now’ is far worse. Both of them can usually be left unwritten without any change of meaning, as each is usually implicit, but ‘as of right now’ seems especially perverse with how much empty clutter it adds to a sentence. And if the speaker needs make the present tense specific, they can just say ‘currently’ or similar.
Oh and ‘reached out to’ to mean ‘contacted’ can also die. Please.
John Morales says
On peeves: ‘impact’ instead of ‘affect’.
A previous workplace was very fond of “moving feast”. I still don’t know what they meant
dangerousbeans: I think “moving feast” is a term that some religions use to denote holy days that depend on phases of the moon since they “move” relative to the Gregorian calendar..
I think the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” has jumped the shark and should be thrown under the bus.
John Morales says
feralboy12, very droll. 🙂
@Billseymour Maybe? seems strange for Australia
Raging Bee says
Can we get rid of the word “utilize?” What’s the difference between “using” something and “utilizing” it? There isn’t any — they mean the same thing, so why bother with a three-syllable word when the older one-syllable word still works?
I also think we should avoid saying “[N] times [less/smaller] than…” It’s very unclear. One should be saying “1/[N] as [much/big] as…” If that’s what is meant, of course.
Oh, and “proactive?” What other kind of “active” is there? There’s “active” and “reactive.” “Proactive” is just redundant. “Aggressive” might be appropriate here.
chigau (違う) says
It annoys me to see “gift” used as a verb.
Proactive is the explicit opposite of reactive. I think that’s fair enough.
We should just pick one out of”flammable” and”inflammable” and delete the other from existence.
chigau (違う) says
Weather forecasters almost always talk about “the overnight period”. Why?
The one that’s really boiling my head at the moment is the word “compute”. In my mind, that’s a verb -- “does not compute”, “we can compute the orbit manually!”, and so on.
Just lately, though, it seems to have become a noun, as in “if we’re going to train this AI to replace the President’s press secretary, we’re going to need more compute.”
It seems like a (to me) appallingly lazy contraction of “computing power”, and I have no idea why it provokes the level of simmering rage in me every time I see it. Most other grammatical abominations common nowadays (e.g. people who use “affect” when they mean “effect” or vice versa, people who say “pacific” when they mean “specific”, and (although this one seems to be quite a noughties thing that is now dying away) people who use the word “so” at the beginning of EVERY FUCKING SENTENCE.
… I didn’t closet that bracket or finish the though before I clicked “Post Comment”. Bugger.
… ) don’t bother me that much, but “compute” in its modern context I find absolutely infuriating. It’s most odd.
I don’t think I use any of these phrases personally except for “thinking outside the box.” I only use that one in reference to litter boxes, generally with the fond hope that any given cat I’m near does not start thinking outside the box.
As George Carlin said, “Something either flams or it doesn’t.”
And the “So…” thing, I agree, especially when it is used to start a declarative sentence and the speaker raises their pitch at the end giving the impression of a question. For example, “So, I was going to the store the other day?” Are you telling me, or are you looking for confirmation because you’ve forgotten?
Related question: How much daily speech is created by simply combining stock phrases with a few items unique to the situation?
One Brow says
I agree with some of these, but see subtle differences in others. Adding “going forward”, to me, means that the plans will be long term, and not just immediate. “Very unique” is inaccurate by denotation, but has the connotation of being unique enough to standout from a group. “Utilize” is more narrow than “use”, implying that the use is for the intended purpose, at least to me.
I sometimes begin a sentence with “so” as a one-syllable version of “because” when it explains something in the previous sentence. I should probably connect the two with a semicolon, but I’m afraid of writing run-on sentences.
Oops, what I just posted is wrong. My “so” replaces “because of [what I said in the previous sentence]” which explains the behavior I’m about to mention.
“Going forward” is largely meaningless filler, but there are some contexts that cry out for meaningless filler. Sometimes bureaucratic impositions require you to fill space with verbiage, so these kinds of nothing-phrases are helpful in that regard.
As for the flammable / inflammable confusion, I rather like that one, because it can be used to teach people that there are actually two in- prefixes from Latin, one meaning “not” (e.g. inauditus = not heard) the other meaning “into” (e.g. ingressus = having stepped into), and care should be taken to identify which is being used. I can imagine that if you don’t teach Latin for a living it might seem superfluous though.
Obviously there are less/fewer and number/amount which so many people get wrong. But those are well documented already. As is who, whom and whose.
Probably my biggest peeve, though, is when Americans write “a couple…” without the entirely necessary and required “of” to follow. It’s not “a couple days”, it’s a couple OF days. “Couple” is not a adjective, it’s a noun. Please cease doing this immediately.
My current peeve is “lived experience”. I would think it would be difficult to do much with one’s “dead experience”.