Read any of my posts and you’ll see I’m no grammar Nazi; I’ve misused the word parameter more than once, I’m still confused about correct forms of data and phenomena and my punctuation makes up its rules as it goes along.
But I do bristle when words are used indiscriminately, because it allows true meanings to get lost or false ones, implied. Whenever someone uses paradox to mean contradiction or pressure to mean stress I react as if they had used literally to mean figuratively; anyone who ‘literally exploded’ literally didn’t.
Granted, these are minor irritations… but some words really matter.
Consider change, a word that seems to promise just about everything because it’s come to mean just about anything.
Say you vote for me because I promised you change and as soon as I take office I create pure havoc… surely I’ve kept my promise. You wanted change… and I delivered. Or did you mean something else?
Do you really want (or for that matter, fear)
Change (verb) the alteration of something?
Or did you mean
Innovation (noun) – change that makes something better?
Or do you want
Progress (noun) – change advancing towards a specific destination?
Or were you genuinely interested in
Chaos (noun) random change without innovation or progress?
And while we’re at it, let’s be clear about leader, a title given to whoever’s top of the org chart. Is every boss a leader? Should every manager above a certain level be rebadged as ‘leader’?
If not, we should choose our labels with a little more care… or god knows who might end up in charge.