Friday, December 05, 2003

When I Go Forwards, You Go Backwards and Somewhere We Will Meet

More word-picking:

Every time I hear "going forward" used in the sense of "from here on out" or "as the situation progresses", it's just a little bit more rage in my day. I heard it twice in one sentence on the radio news a few weeks ago.

I've been trying to stifle my proscriptivist tendencies. I was conviced reading Language Hat's site when I found, just below a listing of dictionaries he owns, his counterarguments to David Foster Wallace's review of Garner's Modern American Usage. I realize proscriptivism serves little purpose and is probably very annoying to others. Still, I can't be the only one driven nuts by "going forward". It's far worse than "action items".

Now that I think of it, I've only heard Americans use the term. Is it unique to American English business slang?

Aside: I can't hide in my writing that I'm U.S.-ian, I realize. A recent hoopla about changing books for British vs. Amrican audiences taught me that we don't even spell unravelling like the folks on the sceptered isle do. Before looking, I thought the double-L was correct.

1 comment:

Damien Lavizzo said...

Honestly, I don't see what's wrong with "going forward", and I like to think of myself as pretty verbose. However, there comes a time when you can get so cynical and bogged down in the trifles of semantics that nothing gets done. Eventually you just have to throw up your hands and - wait for it - go forward.