Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don't Let Them Get Their Hands On Their Own Jargon

The week of June 8, 2008, word came of a new ultra-powerful computer. The kind of computer that will run the heavy numbers-crunching applications that the tech guys would call "compute intensive."

World's Fastest Computer
When I worked at the IT magazine, this phrase made me CRAZY!

"Compute" is a verb, not an adverb.

You can convert a noun into an adjective, simply by using it as an attributive noun. And I'm not agin verbing nouns. I don't even mind adjectives becoming adverbs.

But to adverb a verb just makes my head spin.

It should be "computation intensive."

That's what happens when you let tech geeks pretend to be word geeks. Some of them *might* be capable. But most specialists really shouldn't be allowed to create their own jargon--not unless they get it reviewed by me, the Great Queen Copyeditor.

(and I noticed that the stories I saw on this in the mainstream press did not use the term "compute intensive")

(Over on The Engine Room, jd spotted the totally nongrammatical phrase "lower developed countries"--which, it turns out, is not the ACTUAL jargon; the true jargon-creaters were more grammatically correct than that--check out my comment.

What jargon makes you nuts?


Editrix said...

At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to promote myself -- like a celebrity who goes on a talk show to heap praise on his or her newly released movie -- I just wrote a blog entry about how much I hate the word "disposition" when it's used as a verb. This happens all the time in government documents, which I edit. So, contractors don't get rid of outdated equipment or dispose of outdated equipment. They disposition outdated equipment.

Also: "status" used as a verb (e.g., "At a recent meeting, the project manager statused [read: reported the status of] the renovations").

TootsNYC said...

sounds like they need someone to be in charge of their jargon!

JD said...

Couldn't see a link to the 'lower developed countries' post, so here it is for anyone who wants it:

Anonymous said...

You have really great taste on catch article titles, even when you are not interested in this topic you push to read it