Thursday, January 16, 2014

Don't Utilize Words

As a writer and editor, words are important to me. Choosing the right word to convey a thought is essential to communication.

Sadly, the digital age has brought a steady decline to how words are presented.

Take, for example, the word utilize. Utilize means, "to put something to use." You can utilize the wind to power turbines. You can utilize the sun to create solar energy.

But it seems that utilize is a word that some take to replace the word use. For example, "you can adjust the tension on the mechanism by utilizing a screwdriver and tightening or loosening the screw."

No: you can use a screwdriver to adjust the tension.

Utilize can also be used when you are using something that is not typically used to perform an action. For example, if you don't have a screwdriver available when you want to adjust the tension, you can utilize a knife.

I know: first-world problem.

Just don't get me started on the over use of impact as a noun. Or that other—wrong—spelling of e-mail.

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