Posted by: Jack Henry | December 8, 2017

Editor’s Corner: The Fifth Day of English (2017)

On the fifth day of English

You sent me different peeves.

Five good examples of what

Drives you cra-a-zy.

A few weeks ago, I got up on my soapbox and preached about not using the word “utilize” when “use” would work just fine. Several of you wrote back to mention some of your peeves, and I have to agree with you. In fact, I’d just run into some new jargon that was making me choke on my oatmeal, and one of you wrote to me about it. So let’s get into it! What’s on your peeve list? Below are some quotes and comments from your coworkers, along with my responses. Peeve away!

“Instead of saying, ‘programs can use this service’ for some reason the buzz phrase is ‘programs can consume this service.’ Drives me nuts.”

[KC] This is the word that make me choke! I saw it in an article online and thought it was a typo! Consume this service? Are you using it to do something or are you eating it? Smoking it? I don’t know, but I don’t like this use of the word. If someone thinks it is a typo, you probably should use vocabulary that is more straightforward.


“How silly is that? Can’t you just say ‘plan’?”

[KC] Exactly, mon ami! Why do we need to plan before making a plan? Go with Nike® and Just Do It!™

at this time

“I catch myself rolling my eyes every time I hear that one.”

[KC] This is one of those page-filling phrases that could be much shorter and more specific. Are you trying to meet a 500-word minimum for an article, or are you letting people know something? Does at this time mean now? Today? 10:00 a.m.? Cut this phrase out of your life. It’s non-specific and wishy-washy, and several of your co-workers may be rolling their eyes.

moot vs. mute

[KC] Mute means unable to speak, or to muffle or quiet sound, such as muting your phone so people can’t hear your dogs barking. Moot means subject to debate or dispute; arguable, unsettled, unresolved. The phrase is “moot point.”


“May we have an e-mail about absolutely, and why we shouldn’t use it so often?”

[KC] “Yes” is a fine response when someone asks a question. Here is an entire

CNN article on the overuse of the word absolutely in its many forms.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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