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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Words on Wednesday: a Bit of a Grumble

I hate corporatespeak. I know I'm not alone in this, and it's at least part of the reason I'm not a businesswoman but a public sector worker. However, it's been creeping into the world of education for a while now. Rather than share the Big Rant (especially since I'm pretty sure many of you feel the same...), here are my top three current annoyances (all heard this academic year):

  1. Calendarise. "We'll get that calendarised for next term." It's not even easy to say. Ideally that would mean that it won't last long but given its regular use in emails rather than speech, it's hard to be hopeful...
  2. Agenda (as a verb). "Let's agenda that for next time." Whilst easier to say than calendarise, it's still clumsy and ugly and oh yes, I wasn't going to rant, was I...
  3. Evidence (again, converted to verb). "How do you evidence learning in a snapshot of a lesson?"* Ugh. What, may I ask, is wrong with "provide evidence of". Sorry, yeah, imminent rant engaged again. 
Am I just a grumpy old so-and-so or do you agree?

* If anyone knows, leave me a comment with the answer. Or alternatively, email me and we'll get a book out of it.

PS to any Language students who've wandered over here: I apologise for the prescriptivist nature of this grumble, especially when I tell you all to avoid sounding judgemental about new or non-standard uses of language. But, as we've discussed, we all have our little prescriptivist bugbears. This is (one of) mine. 


  1. Beth,

    Let's leverage (!) the opportunities from this deal and diarise (!) a meeting.
    Hmm..... Yes, one of the reasons I left the consulting industry! Haha!

    Have a lovely day

  2. I totally agree with you. So your grumpy rant has been deemed valid!

  3. I have to agree with all of you, Elpi in particular. I've always felt that 'diarise' sounds a little bit like it should be referring to the effect of 'diarrhoea' (everyone's favourite word to spell - not smell). I find having 'agenda' as a verb troubling too. 'Let's put that in the agenda' never hurt anyone... Some words just shouldn't be. I have a personal distaste for 'Eatery' and 'Criminality'...but that's a whole different rant!

  4. I hate ( I don't usually use that word - it's far too strong) calendarise. It's ugly and doesn't sound good to the ear. I completely agree with your rant! :)

  5. Wow! These are all words that I have never heard of before. However, I do not feel my life has been lacking up until this point and if you don't mind, I shall continue not to use them, but rather will continue to use my rather long winded comments such as: I will just look at my calendar, to see if I can add that to my agenda. When we meet I will provide evidence of learning.

  6. Beth, I think I must be grumpy too because I could rant about this subject forever. When I last worked full-time in an office environment a few years ago, I had a boss who seemed to have lost the ability to communicate in 'normal' language. It was all, 'Let's touch base about this before close of play,' and so on. I'm not sure who it was meant to impress, but needless to say, it didn't gain him any kudos with me.

  7. Those all sound ridiculous! Despite being in the private sector, we're only a small company, so I don't hear any of these (yet), and I'm glad to avoid them.

  8. I gave you an award over at my blog. Go check it out if you want it.


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