Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Writing Wednesday: Utilize
I cannot say this enough: Avoid the word utilize like the plague. Every time I see this word in writing or hear someone say it in a meeting, I want to cut the entry out of a hundred dictionaries so it doesn't exist. Like the word verbiage (which I could write a separate post about), utilize is a hoity toity, unnecessary word that could be replaced with a much simpler one.
Unfortunately, utilize is perpetuated by high school students who use the thesaurus like it's Red Bull. Since the word use seems too plain and ordinary, it only makes sense to substitute it with utilize, right? Wrong. The best writers (Hemingway is one of my favorites) know that great writing and speaking is about conveying a story effectively, not about junking your sentences up with clunky, meaningless verbs.
Obviously I feel very strongly about utilize (I actually cross this word out whenever I'm editing things at work), but I'm curious: Do you have words that bother you whenever you hear them?