On the bandwagon

First the Telegraph, now The Guardian.

Yup, The Guardian has now started a commentisfree blog entry (A road map for originality) about those annoying words and phrases in the English language. The specific question is “Which other current affairs cliches would you like to see curbed?”

antifrank has posted

“Progress” as a verb

which it is anyway, as well as being a noun. I’m scatching my head about the offence being caused by it.

“Impact” as a verb

I can’t honestly disagree (and it’s also become a cliché as people seem to avoid using “affect”; it’s possible that the unsurprising confusion of “effect” (n; occasionally a verb) and “affect” (vb) has pushed people into the arms of “impact”, which is grossly overused), but it’s OK in American English.

Some of the comments, as you can see, are not germane to the question, but most respondents seem to have kept their eye on the ball. We do have someone else hating “functionality” as we did in the Telegraph. Of course, it may depend on how it’s being used.

So far not that many comments. It may be worth keeping an eye on, but because of the thread’s narrow remit, it’s unlikely to attract the hordes of amateur linguists that the Telegraph pulled in.


2 thoughts on “On the bandwagon”

  1. I came across your blog, so I thought I would clarify my thoughts on this point, seeing as I seemed to confuse you. 
    To deal with the one where you seem to have sympathy with my view, the old-fashioned rule is that only teeth impact.  "Impact" as a verb used to mean "collapse in on itself", and it would have been useful to keep that special meaning (though I accept the tide of language is against me).  The problem is compounded by the frequent misuse of "impact" as a verb when the writer isn’t really sure what he or she is trying to say, but wants to say something with, well, impact.  Usually, he or she means "affect" or "alter" or "change".  All of which are better verbs in most circumstances.  "Impact" as a verb as it is commonly used is a cliche and shopworn.  Germane to the thread on commentisfree, I hope you’d agree.
    "Progress" as a verb should be used sparingly.  It is commonly used by people wanting to sound buzzy and active, and often by people, such as politicians, who don’t want specify what exactly they have done so far.  "I am progressing this" usually means "it’s in my in-tray".  This one is probably more germane to the thread on commentisfree than "impact".

  2. Now I understand what your cause for concern with "impact" and "progress" was. In my English, "impact" is solely a noun, but I’d probably use it most frequently in the phrase "have and impact" as a synonym for "affect". The use of "impact" as a verb grates on my ear as ungrammatical (though that’s for personal reasons). I agree with you that it’s a cliché which, I assume, is meant to make the user seem happening and with it because, well, that’s how they use it in the States.
    Again, I’d agree about the empty use of "progress" when politicians (big surprise) use it to feign that something is being achieved when, as you say, it’s in their in-tray.

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