Thursday, March 24, 2011

Affectations (2) - “issues around”

Using the expression “issues around” is a quick way to undermine the credibility of your writing. It combines two silly affectations: (1) the abuse of the noun “issues,” which I have discussed here and here; and (2) the use of the preposition “around” in place of “about” or “concerning” or “on” or “having to do with.”

For some time, I had been planning to write a post on “issues around.” Then yesterday I spotted a trenchant piece on this affectation. It was written by Ian Peacock, a witty and insightful radio and television presenter and writer. I readily yield the floor to Mr. Peacock:

I Have Issues Around ‘Issues Around’

Someone phoned me earlier to ask me to do some media training ‘around issues around teenagers’.

I’m going to make myself unpopular among some of my clients, but what is this ‘around’ business about? And why is ‘around’ so preposterously prevalent among people in charities and in social care?

Why is it so un-PC to use the correct, precise preposition? Is using the correct preposition too strident, too controlling, too presumptuous, too macho?

I don’t have issues around the word ‘around’. I have problems with it and objections to it.

As far as I’m concerned, people who are comfortable around the preposition ‘around’ are clearly profoundly uncomfortable with making decisions and coming down off their fluffy, liberal fence.

I’m not some harrumphing Telegraph reader. I’m all for subtle language and avoiding offence. But I’m deeply unhappy around ‘around’ and hereby declare it a swear word.

The Takeaway: Do not abuse the noun “issues.” Do not abuse the preposition “around.” Especially do not abuse them together, as in the credibility-killing affectation “issues around.” Many intelligent readers will stop reading the moment they encounter “issues around.”

See disclaimer.

No comments:

Post a Comment