Argue this

Avril Dell vents accordingly

I just spent way too much billable time looking for ARGUABLY on your Banned for Life list — and it ain’t there! Kindly add ARGUABLY, for those who believe it means conclusively. It don’t. An issue only remains arguable when there are enough legitimate differences to prevent conclusion. That’s what makes something arguable, ya gomers! Where did the arguable blitherers get the idea they could point to one side of an argument as its conclusion?

I think what they mean to say is that they hope or believe their readers or
listeners agree with their conclusion; or that they’re asserting a fact in
a wussy way, so they can withdraw it if someone objects. Something like that.
but the “arguable” habit is just too goofy. Slippery and illogical.

    Runners up:

  • METEORIC RISE. Huh? As in “blaze briefly on the way down”?
  • NOT UN-whatever. I find this one not unstupid.
  • GOING FORWARD. Used by homo corporatus everywhere, to mean “next”
    or “in the future” or “from now on”. It can always be lopped off the statement,
    with no change in meaning. “This is what we’ll be doing, going forward” can
    become “This is what we’ll be doing”– as the statement has “future” built
    into it. When did anything ever occur “going backward”?
  • ADDRESS THE ISSUE .Ttell ya what: just deal with it, ok? Just
    do it, fix it, trash it, move it, buy it, sell it, fire it, change it, TAKE
    THE ACTION. don’t bother addressing the issue; say what you’re going to do
    and then do it. Period.
  • TOUCH BASE. Do NOT touch my base, EVER. I’m serious.

10 thoughts on “Argue this

  1. Forward has specific meaning in a battle plan, which is where a lot of corporate lingo comes from. In this context, “going forward” is used to refer implicitely to the fact that the action being taken is in accordance with a plan that has been made. Leaving the terms out of the statement gives rise to the question of whether the plan has been changed. It IS MOST SPECIFICALLY NOT a useless phrase. However, people who are not used to setting goals and making plans probably do find that it gets their hackles up because it is a reminder that OTHER PEOPLE DO.

  2. My journalism professor, the late William F. Johnston of U of Washington, always told us never use the 50-cent word when the nickel job will do. My pet peeve as an English teacher: utilize. Give me “use” anyday! I like to tell my students that English is predominantly (probably mis-spelled that) an Anglo-Saxon language, and that means words of few syllables–one, two, three or maybe four–close to grunts. Keeping it simple helps writers stay away from sounding stupid by falling into jargon, jingoism or just plain slop. Corporate speak falls into the just plain slop for me, even when I’m setting goals and achieving them.

  3. But there’s also a place for eloquent writing and personal style. The trick is to decide whether the writer is saying “elongated yellow fruit” instead of “banana” for emphasis or style or is just a bad writer. I wouldn’t reflexively change it.

  4. i agree, or at least sympathize, with most of the entries at this site. not this one though.

    i don’t recall ever hearing “arguably” used to mean conclusively. “arguably” is a good word for allowing that there may be worthy counter arguments to what’s posited by the speaker.

    “meteoric rise”? who says meteors go down — einstein? and who cares if they do? it’s the speed and brilliance that are borrowed. language isn’t math when used expressively. requiring 100% literal transfer for expressions is silly.

    “not un-[whatever]”, while often pompous, can indicate gradients. for example, if i say someone’s “not undisciplined”, it’s different from saying “he’s disciplined” — useful and correct as an intentional blah modifier.

    “going forward” is often stated to indicate change, implying, “i don’t care what was done previously; here is our new policy.” overused maybe, but that’s not necessarily grounds for striking.

    “address the issue” is not the same as any of the suggested replacements. it connotes assessment more than any following action.

    “touch base” is overdone as well, but it’s efficient and meaningful.

    a better subject is why these hack examples are at the top of anybody’s list. “billable time”? there’s a real contradiction.

  5. Ah, perhaps you out to check the definition of jingoism. From, jingoism is defined as: “extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy”. I don’t think that is what you meant.

  6. I must say I absolutely despise “touch base”. After working in retail and having a manager who constantly claimed that she would “touch base” with me at a later time, I can’t stand the phrase. Why isn’t “catch up with” or “speak to” good enough?

  7. To be precise “use” and “utilize” have different meanings.
    To utilize something, is to use it for something that it was not specifically designed to do.

    You may ‘use’ a hammer to knock in a nail, but you could ‘utilize’ a hammer as a crow bar.

    You may ‘use’ a keyboard to input data into a PC, or you could ‘utilze’ a keyboard to bash someone around the face and head for their unintentional ironic use of the word ‘jiingoism’

  8. Thank you for mentioning “going forward.” It emerged sometime within the last year and has spread like a disease. I hate this expression and cringe every time I hear it! Don’t people who make a living as public speakers ever listen to themselves? Another thing I can’t stand, more in the grammar mode, is the improper use of “lay” and “lie.” And, of course, the perennial “you knows.”

  9. hey–just found all these comments for the first time and now they’re 5 yrs old.
    guess i didn’t go back to this site ever after posting the original up top.

    hoo hah great feedback. all useful.

    or utilizable.

    aw, charley hardman.
    [were you having cramps?]
    going forward, you may address me as Your Hackness.

    arguably, one of us is right. michael tott, you speak the truth about “utilize”, but it’s still banned because of the urge of homo corporatus to graft suffixes for sport and a corner office.

    and i do now understand that ‘address the issue’ can waft like a spritz of aerosol abstraction and protect us all from anything descriptive or accountable.

    and if you lot can find the word “arguably” used without its sidekick “the best” in a sentence, i’m holding my breath. arguably is so goofy as it usually prefaces a superlative i.e. a conclusion. it’s either followed by “the best” or “the only” or some similar claim of unarguability. it’s irridiculous.

    aren’t werdz the bestest? just look all this touching base that’s happening not-unspontaneously.