I have to blog today about a beef I have with the modern use of the English language. People like to change the meaning of words to suit some new purpose. The beef I have is that appropriate words already exist for the new meaning. I have two specific examples from work that I have heard repeatedly over the last few days and weeks: metric and ask.
According to Dictionary.com: ‘metric: as a noun, “A standard of measurement”,’ not the measurement itself, but a standard of mesurement. And yet, in my day-to-day work routine, the word is used specifically as a reference to a measurement or a group of measurements. We have a word for it already. In fact, I’ve even used it already, measurement. Whatever we measure has a measurement, and thus we can compile a list of measurements. Not metrics, measurements. Why do we need to create a new meaning for a word when we have a word with the correct meaning already?
This brings me to the unfortunate word ask. According to Dictionary.com, there is no use of the word ask that is not a noun. And yet, in my day-to-day work routine, the word is used as a noun all the time. It is a little difficult to describe without sounding like a jackass, but here goes. If there is a discussion about doing something, the question arises, “What is the ask?” Or even more ridiculously, “My ask is for your resources ….” The words question, request, demand, desire, need, inquiry, expectation — need I go on? — are all valid word that express exactly the same meaning. Why was it necessary to second the word ask, when there are numerous other words that can be used?
What the hell is wrong with the world?
I invite you to let me know of any other words that are used incorrectly, or with new meanings, or generally in place other common words.