Fortune 500 vs. The English Language

I first heard it in 1996. It was “strategize”. Maybe it didn’t help that it was uttered by a jerky manager. And he stated it proudly, like by pronouncing this nonsense word he had suddenly divulged the secret to success – “We must strategize!” (Insert eye roll here.)

Corporate-speak has always inflicted its gibberish upon employees. From beaten-to-death cliches to lazy bastardization of simple terms, I always wondered why my co-workers repeated these monstrosities. Peer pressure? Wanting to impress management? Weakness of character??

I steadfastly refuse to cave to the pressure. I will not use “ask” as a noun, a synonym for “request”. I wil not use “lift” as a synonym for “effort”. I’m sure my co-workers wonder “Why is he saying ‘request’ when he could go along with the program and say ‘ask’ like the rest of us? Does he have some kind of personality disorder? Plus it saves an entire syllable!”

So fine, call me a word snob. But I will not conform to the madness. I’ll continue to fight the good fight and refuse to bend to corporate linguistic malfeasance. And I’ll dream of the day when Fortune 500 leaders who make millons will actually use correct grammar. Is that too much to ask? (verb!)

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