Sunday, December 6, 2009

Going Forward To Nowhere

For a long time the phrases "going forward" & "moving forward" have "gotten under my skin". Some cliches in our cultural speech are inevitable, but, please, "enough already."

Here are some postings from that give us "some food for thought".

Microspeak: Going forward

The jargon phrase going forward has largely replaced the more mundane equivalent from now on. It appears that I'm not the only person who is bothered by this phrase. Sample usages:

  • We discussed the membership and timeframe for support team meetings going forward.
  • There will be change to the status reports going forward.
  • Going forward we will be doing this for every milestone.

Notice that the phrase going forward usually adds little to the sentence. You can delete it from all of the sentences above and nobody would notice a difference.

Published Tuesday, September 25, 2007 7:00 AM by oldnewthing
Filed under: Other, Microspeak

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11:09 AM by skst

Seriously. This mindless filler has bothered me from the first time I heard it. Does the speaker think the listeners are so confused they need to be told we can't change the past? Do people have trouble understanding that the past is inviolable so the only place to make changes is "from here on out"?

Can anyone describe a situation where "going forward" disambiguates a statement?

John S.: I also agree about "at the end of the day." Ugh!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11:49 AM by Steve Nuchia

I believe the origin of this phrase can be traced to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules for "forward looking statements" in the communications of publicly traded corporations. They require that statements about the future be weasel-worded and the "going forward" construction seems to have migrated from CEO speaches into the general business vocabulary.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 11:51 AM by Qian

@Nickd, I'm with you, except for me it's the variation "at this point in time." I'm trying to work "at this point in space" into my own speech as much as possible just to achieve some kind of dimensional balance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 1:14 PM by Mikkin

This silly phrase is widely used, not just in Microspeak. The verb "to go" is usually not germane to the idea being expressed, even when the idea is not redundant. English already has a good word for this: "Henceforth."

I try not to laugh at people who think they sound sophisticated when they are actually using dumbed-down language. Heretofore I have not tried very hard, but henceforth I shall try harder.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:57 PM by Mikkin

At the risk of incurring Raymond's ire for commenting twice on the same post, I just realized why people say this. "Going forward" tries to imply that the change represents some kind of forward progress. It is probably a good indicator that one is going nowhere.

Line from Dilbert cartoon" "At the end of the day we'll be in a market place on a going forward basis".

No comments: