12 July 2006

Dropping Twords #1

My concern around preposition abuse.

Over the last year or so, I've noticed a special brand of evil creeping into the business vernacular. It's so sinister that it's disguised itself as a single preposition. It is the word "around".

How can this word be evil, you ask? The same could be asked of gunpowder, plutonium and bagpipes - they're not inherently evil, but put them in the wrong hands and they have the potential to bring civilisation as we know it crumbling to a pile of smoking rubble.

But please, allow me to explain.

In my workplace, a large insurance company which represents a fairly typical corporate office environment, I hear sentences like the following every day:
"We have some concerns around the implementation of the program."
"If you could just prepare a summary around what worked well and what we could do differently..."
"The whole presentation is around the future direction for the department".

In my world, around means encircling, encapsulating, even avoiding. What on earth are these people on about? What happened to "about", "of" and "regarding"?


  1. I'll get around to answering your question as soon as I get my head around this abuse of "around". You could, of course, write a short statement around the correct use of "around" and go around slipping it into marketing people's pockets at the pub while they are shouting a round.

  2. Thanks for popping 'round.

  3. Anonymous2:25 pm

    It is annoying, but nowhere near as bad as 'space', as in 'he's just not in this space right now', or 'we are working in the marketing space'. I swear it is just more halfwittery from our good friends at landmark 'education' that has entered the vernacular.