Monday, August 11, 2008

And while we're in England...

I think we can find a heads-up for a buzz-phrase that will be overused in speeches here as well.  I have noted it a few times, but we in the Pedant Police can't issue enough alarms.
For the last few months I've been on a mission to rid the world of the phrase "going forward". But now I see that the way forward is to admit defeat. This most horrid phrase is with us on a go-forward basis, like it or not.

I reached this sad conclusion early one morning a couple of weeks ago when listening to Farming Today. A man from the National Farmers' Union was talking about matters down on the farm and he uttered three "going forwards" in 28 seconds.

The previous radio record, by my reckoning, was held by Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor. He managed three going forwards in four minutes on the Today programme, but then maybe that wasn't such a huge achievement when you think that he spends his life rubbing shoulders with business people. And they say going forward every time they want to make any comment about the future, which is rather often. But for the farmer, who spends his life rubbing shoulders with cows, to say it so often represented a linguistic landmark. If the farms of England are now going forward, then there is no turning back for any of us.  [More from an upset language warchguard]
Ya notice how the last  straw was a farmer using the despised phrase. Apparently we are still the lowest common denominators for communications skills.

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