Language peeve

What to do when I don’t feel much inspired to write? Why, go on a bit of a rant instead! LOL.

So, this may end up a very short post, because my rants typically dissipate quickly. Not being over-attached to the topic helps.

What got me into rant-mode just now was reading this sentence: “The question is more a case of whether you choose to utilise that power or not.” Blach!

He who does not love his own language is worse than an animal and smelly fish.

Jose Rizal (polymath and Philippine national hero)

How often do you see writers write “utilize” (or the British “utilise”) instead of the less pretentious-sounding word, “use”?

Most people may not even realize that the two words don’t even mean quite the same thing—they are not completely synonymous. We can always substitute “use” for “utilize,” but not the other way around.

The dictionaries I checked don’t make this very clear. But the most correct way to write or say “utilize” is when something is used unconventionally, in a new, practical, or profitable way. For instance, “I’d utilize scissors to defend myself, if I had to, but it’s better just to use them to cut paper.” Note that in the original sentence that offended me, there was no hint of using power in a new way.

Besides, not that I expect anyone to care, I don’t like the sound of utilize. Do you?

More to the point, though, is that I’m of the (old?) school of thought to use the simplest, shortest word that expresses what we intend to say (speaking of non-fiction). Another example of this sort is using the verb “assist” or the noun “assistance” instead of the single-syllable word, “help.”

None of this may amount to acyrologia, I admit. In fact, maybe I just suffer from acyrologiaphobia —read this and tell me what you think, LOL.

[Original source unknown]

LOL, that tickles my funny bone. And I relate.

The English language is crazy enough (follow that link for a few more language laughs). So, let’s all do our bit to make our communication follow the KISS (keep it simple and short) principle, okay?

In my snarky mood, I’d say writers who want to sound cleverer than they are utilize utilize. I just use use.

Rant over.

The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words.

George Eliot

Do you have any language peeves? Or do you think I’m bonkers? I’m expecting some good-natured push-back on this post. LOL (laughing out loud).

PS. What I wrote above has no relation to my anti-cancer treatments or self-exploration. This is a brief update: It’s been 25 weeks since my last chemotherapy session (Dec 28), 17 weeks since I completed radiation (Feb 21), and 8 weeks since my last herceptin infusion. I seem not to be reacting adversely to the daily hormonal therapy I started 16 weeks ago (Mar 3).

I now have fine levels of energy and feel mentally, emotionally, and physically strong. I am working on rebuilding muscle mass, and I’m not gaining weight (which I like). My appetite is less than a year ago, yet I am eating well and most food I eat tastes good, if not delicious. My hair is slowly returning—about one centimeter on my head; no curls yet.

However, I still feel the effects of those monstrous (and financially draining) treatments. My nose gets runny at every meal. I have minor pangs of pain in my affected breast I cannot identify and the skin on my chest is slightly discolored (from the radiation). And my fingers and feet are partially numb and tingling (peripheral neuropathy). I’ve started taking a low-dose B-complex (neurobion) to see if that will help regenerate the nerves. If you have questions related to this, let me know.


  • Hahahahaha! Thanks for making me smile, Cisca.

    (And glad to hear your body is beginning to recover, although some of the remaining symptoms sound nasty.)

  • I have a few family members who in both verbal and written forms do not use tenses with verbs AT ALL. It has quite convinced me to not worry about use of words relatively – like any spectrum of existence and life…we all have differences. They extend to virtually all we have awareness of. Sigh.

    • True, Joan, the differences are everywhere, and you know me well enough that my tolerance level for them is high. But it doesn’t mean buttons don’t get pushed, no matter how small (as in my case with this post) or large. AND… we can make room for raising awareness and hope for new understanding. Not that that will always result in how WE want to see change, but I submit that often causes are important enough to keep trying (and to be clear, my point in this post doesn’t qualify… that was just a mini-rant 😅). 🌸🙏🌸

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