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Jun
29
2013

Leverage My World -- by C. Stuart Hardwick

It never ceases to amaze me how willing people are, in this Internet age, to step right in and demonstrate their ignorance when they might just as easily (and with the same exact tool) address it.

I was called to task a little while ago for using “Leverage” as a verb. Now, I have an MBA, so I honestly never really thought about it–we used it that way all the time in finance. A quick visit to Google found many many posts making the same claim: “Leverage is not a verb you fool! It’s a neologism of the worst sort and a sure sign of a poor education!”

Well, no.

First, language evolves, and English as we know it would not exist without neologisms and other mechanisms of change, but more to the point, leverage is, in fact, a perfectly acceptable transitive verb. From Merriam Webster:

Leverage (verb):
1: to provide (as a corporation) or supplement (as money) with leverage; also : to enhance as if by supplying with financial leverage
2: to use for gain : exploit

The latter, of course, is what most of us generally mean, but even if this were not so, I would argue in favor of the verb form. I agree with Bill Brohaugh of everythingyouknowaboutenglishiswrong.com:

“And I hear some of you saying . . . you blast conversate when converse is available, yet you defend leverage when lever is available?” I do indeed. Conversate fills no need. It is duplicative, a bizarre “synonym” of converse. On the other hand, leverage is not a precise synonym of lever, neither in noun nor in verb form. It fills a need.”

So there you have it, and on we shall go, leveraging the technology at our fingertips to more clearly converse with our fellow miscreant.

Reblogged from cStuartHardwick.wordpress.com. More posts on writing available under /category/writing/

 

Posted by C. Stuart Hardwick 29 Jun 2013 at 09:37
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